Yeoh Siew Hoon, Founder of WiT, an events and media platform, set the ball rolling at the start of the episode with the above quote when talking about virtual event experiences.
Virtual events are the new norm. GEVME stands at the forefront of virtual event providers yet once again, delivering incredible experiences online to event organizers around the world. Get started to know what GEVME offers for futuristic event organizers on here.
Through the Virtual Experience Makers Series, we have conversations with entrepreneurs, business owners, and online event organizers to understand how they embraced virtual events, especially during the pandemic.
Switching to virtual events if you have been a conventional event organizer can be hard. This is where we need to listen and talk about successful virtual event organizers who provide key insights on how this journey is like, them being one of the firsts in the world to undertake it. These insights can help you be inspired and put down a plan on paper for digital transformation.
In the previous episode, we spoke to DJ Aldrin, who innovatively used virtual events to continue his dancing through the pandemic. In episode 2, we meet Karni Tomer, an entrepreneur, chef, and Israeli foodie who used her business intellect and creativity to keep her cooking business running in the pandemic. She runs the website Wok‘n’Stroll that has been creating fascinating food tours in Singapore for people all around the world.
This is yet another story of successfully adopting the virtual events route to spread the business far and wide digitally. Karni Tomer is now hosting various shows on AirBnB and Viator and is keeping her fans cooking and eating mind-blowing food.
Key learnings shared by Karni:
Step up the Learning
Virtual events are a new domain for many event organizers. No matter how experienced one is, there is always learning, and the need for it is even higher now. The more you advance your learning about the event in general, the persona of your attendees, etc., the more personalized experience you can provide to them through events.
Tell A Story
The right way to engage an audience in a virtual event experience is to tell a story. Stories give context to things, locations or even experiences. Telling a good story through the videos provides a great way to effectively connect with your audience, make them feel the emotions you are going through, and make them experience things just as it is happening around them.
Ingredients of a Great Story
A bit difficult – the most important is a passion for the things we love – can recognize a good storyteller, if they know how to tell a story, passion, the sparkle in the eyes.
Keep learning – start with a storyboard along with a clear structure and purpose – understand the video – they cannot hear you well or see you well, there could be a problem with the wifi.
A great story starts with a neatly created storyboard – This storyboard has a clear structure and a purpose. For this, understanding how conversations and experiences over video works factor in all potential problems the attendees might face (such as poor internet connection, bad camera quality, etc).
Think and prepare beforehand for what you want to say – You add content to this by learning about your clients, their emotions, and their expectations. Depending on where they are located or what they do, their takeaways from your event could be different, so your end product has to cater to this diversity.
Mix your story with passion – Your audience sees your passion through body language, like the sparkle in your eyes or the expressions you use while telling a story. Do not forget to add humour as well, as there is nothing better to engage people than making them laugh.
Last but definitely not least,
Develop empathy with your audience – Understand what mood they could be in, the resources they have, and everything about their life that could alter their expectations from your event. Focus on creating an impactful and touching experience for them.
Importance of Looking Professional
Contrary to what many creators think – trying to save as many expenses on production. That’s an entirely wrong strategy. The higher the quality of production, the more engaged the audience will feel with your event. For this, you need to leave certain technical functions to the experts like camera management, recording, editing, etc. You don’t have to do everything by yourself. Instead, focus on the experience you want to create and better it with every event.
It’s Not About Customization (Always)
While talking about her food tours in Singapore, Karni Tomer reiterated that it is not a competition with the locals on who knows the cuisine or the local culture better.
It is about creating a new experience for the local market and foreigners by telling them an exciting story and providing a different perspective to the same things we see every day.
Handling Difficult Customers: A Hack
In events like cooking classes which Karni organizes, the audience has to come prepared. There could be times when they are not, and that could potentially disturb their event experience.
In such situations, it makes sense to offer them some incentive or compensation so that they stay connected to your event. In Karni’s case, she offered unprepared customers a free rescheduling of their class so that they get more time to do all the prerequisite work.
Fitting Virtual Events to Conventional Event Styles
The pandemic has to end one day. But virtual elements of the event may never come to a stop. Karni believes that even after the world opens up to organize events freely without the fear of the virus, her events are going to have virtual elements that will bring in more potential audiences from around the world.
The advantages of virtual events are just too much and they can even complement your on-ground event organization through data, learning, and an increased scope of audience. So, embrace it as soon as you can and scale up your event organization range.
The Only Thing You Need to Know About Creativity
Creativity can be hard sometimes, but it all begins with dreaming big. As Karni puts it, ‘If the door is closed, jump out from the window’. Consistency is the key. Even if you are not feeling creative, just smile and do your work. The flow will restart again.
The Future of Virtual Experiences
Although it might sound far-fetched, it is not. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could further level up the virtual event experience for audiences around the world. They engage the senses more intensely creating a much more immersive experience which makes a big difference in event types such as Karni’s – food tours and cooking classes.
Karni is looking for a partnership in the tech industry for integrating AR and VR in her food tours and cooking classes.
Virtual events are creating a positive impact for millions of artists, event organizers, business professionals, and hobbyists around the world. It is the right time to embrace this form of bringing experiences to people and align it with your conventional style once the pandemic ends. This sure should be the to-do for event organizers who want to nail it in the future.