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6 Shocking & Powerful Lessons from Major Virtual Event

Jim Cermak

Ep 071 – 6 Shocking & Powerful Lessons from Expo! Expo!

[00:00:00] So I attended a very, very large virtual event this past week. And I have to share with you six shocking and powerful lessons that I learned from attending this event. It was fantastic. It was eye-opening, and you’re going to love it. So stay tuned.

Let’s talk about Expo! Expo! It was just a phenomenal virtual event. It was supposed to be held live down in Louisville, Kentucky. And, it was, they were pushing and pushing and doing everything they could to have a live event. And just at the, really the last minute it was within about four weeks or so that they finally shifted and said, you know, we can’t do it.

[00:03:27] there’s too much going on. Too much risk, eh, going on in the country to have people coming in for a live event at this point. So they switched over to virtual and I have got to tell you, I was so incredibly impressed, especially knowing how quickly they shifted from life to virtual. But let me tell you about this event. So this event had over a hundred sessions, keynotes, and workshops covering multiple tracks. So no matter where you were in the industry, what kind of a [00:04:00] focus you wanted, you were able to attend some really amazing. Amazing workshops.

They had over a hundred exhibitors in their exhibit hall, which was fantastic.

[00:04:11] And they had over 1200 attendees at this event. So it was a great event. , and it was a trade show. It was the trade show for trade shows. And really, as I said, one of the best virtual events I’ve ever attended, they had. So much going on and gave so many opportunities to interact and engage with the speakers with other attendees and with the exhibitors, of course.

[00:04:38] And it was just, it was fantastic. Learned so much from the different sessions. And made a ton of great connections. So, in fact, I’m going to be featuring several of the exhibitors in their own episode coming up and they share each of them shares a tip that they’ve got, to help you with your results and your success in the industry.

So you will want to be on the lookout for that episode coming up very, very soon. And the whole thing went off very smoothly. They have a fantastic team there. Everyone was, well-prepared and used a great platform from swap card that made everything very, very smooth. And I mean, it had to take-ups and I’ll talk about that in a little bit, but it was a really, really fantastic event.

[00:05:23]So during this event, I took away six lessons. Like I said, some are shocking, all of them, very, very powerful. And here’s what I learned. And I want you to take away for future events, especially if you are hosting events, whether that’s something as simple as a, is the one-hour webinar all the way up to a multi-day summit or trade show.

[00:05:45] That you’re doing online virtually here are six lessons. I want you to learn.

[00:05:50]Number one, hold an intro session and take everybody through your platform. You may want to do multiple. If you’re, if you’re doing an event that’s like a trade [00:06:00] show or a multi-day summit, you may want to have one session just for all those who are, are involved in putting it on your exhibitors, your sponsors, your speakers.

[00:06:09] So they have an understanding of how to work the platform from their standpoint. And then when the event starts have an intro session for all of your attendees, so they understand how to navigate through the platform, how to attend sessions, how to get into the exhibit hall, how to interact with people, and what to look for.

[00:06:29] This was something they did very, very well. And they took the time to go through every feature and what to look for and when to check-in and certain spots. So it was very, very well done. And this is something everyone needs to do because there are so many amazing platforms out there. And it seems like new ones are coming out all the time.

[00:06:48] New virtual event platforms are coming out. All of the time. And so next time you go to an event, it might look like a platform you’ve been on before, and you might think, Oh, I don’t need to go to that [00:07:00] intro session. Or I know how to, how to navigate all of them are a little different, even though, even though some of them might look similar.

[00:07:07] You want to make sure you understand, or else you’re going to lose some of the effectiveness of the platform from your standpoint, wherever you’re at on this, whether you’re an attendee or you’re an exhibitor, or you were the show producer, you want to make sure everyone is all dialed in and on the same page with your, with your platform.

[00:07:25] So that’s number one, hold that intro session and take everybody through your platform.

Lesson number two, and this is no surprise. I’ve been talking about this for a long time. Engage with others, engage, engage, you know, think about when you’re at a live event. One of the best parts of live events is the connections that we make, whether that’s on the show floor, or just walking through a hallway, going from one workshop to another workshop and you, you bump into somebody or you’re sitting next to someone at a table waiting for that event to start that workshop or that seminar to start. And you start up that conversation. You exchange business cards, [00:08:00] you find out about their business and why they’re there.

[00:08:03] This is a lot harder to do. At a virtual event, but it’s not impossible there. And this platform that they use was fantastic in allowing you to engage with other people, you were able to engage with speakers, and you were able to engage with exhibitors. You were able to engage with other attendees and you had multiple different ways of doing it.

[00:08:24] Verse, through chat, live chat, and also even with the exhibitors, they had opportunities for you to book a, almost like a zoom call right there on the platform. So you booked a time and then right on the platform without having to log in somewhere else or click on a different link, your event or your, your live face-to-face meeting.

[00:08:47] Happened right there on the platform, which was really fantastic. And so make sure you are understanding the ways you can engage with others and then do it engage, engage, engage, no matter who you are, [00:09:00] engage with everybody else that is in there so that you can get more out of these events. So that’s tip number two, engage with others.

[00:09:07]Tip number three. If you are a show producer, you’re putting on one of these events. Use prerecorded sections, as much as you can. So prerecorded video, if you’re doing a life, if you’re doing a live webinar or something like that, use some prerecorded video in there to minimize your possible glitches cause glitches do happen.

[00:09:30] So, please use, those prerecorded sections that they did this very well in each of their sessions, in each of the workshops, the seminars, they had first a prerecorded session, which was the presentation itself. And they followed that along with live Q and A.

[00:09:50] So then the speaker was on live and you were able to, you were able to chat, you’re able to. Put questions in during the presentation, but the presentation was prerecorded. And so [00:10:00] that minimized any possible glitches and it also, it allowed the speaker to just go through the presentation without having to worry about watching the chat.

[00:10:09] They could actually watch the chat, while the presentation is going on. That was prerecorded. So that’s tip number three, use prerecorded sections of video lesson number four, lesson number four, you have to be patient, glitches are going to happen. And then that goes for live events, also for virtual events.

[00:10:29] And think about when you’re at a live event, every time, if you’re at a big trade show multi-day event, or even a single day event, things happen where all of a sudden the video’s not working. The person’s speakers and microphone are not working. The PowerPoint isn’t going from one slide to the next glitches just happened.

[00:10:45] But when we’re in a live event, we are so much more patient and we’re forgiving because we’re there and you see the speaker they’re working on it, they’re working on it. But when you’re in a virtual setting and the video [00:11:00] freezes, and you just see that there’s frustration level and all of a sudden, we want to just go to the next thing.

[00:11:07] We cause we can, we can just, we can just leave that. I was in one session where the video, wasn’t coming up and you saw, you saw in the chat, the speaker saying, Hey, we’re, we’re trying to work this out. We’re trying to fix this. And there was a CA Number count of how many people were in the session and you saw it going down.

[00:11:27] So people were clicking out fairly quickly and I’m like, wow, wow. Be a little patient, with this process. so be patient and cut everybody a little bit of Slack.

[00:11:38] So that’s lesson number four, please be patient on all sides, no matter where you’re at in this, whether you’re a show producer, whether you’re an exhibitor sponsor or whether you’re an attendee. So please be patient.

[00:11:52]lesson number five, lesson number five. Who’s another one. This is probably going to be a no-brainer, but communication is critical. [00:12:00] You know, they had a feed at the Expo! Expo! virtual event. Feed, which was constantly letting everybody know about upcoming sessions about they had some giveaways door prizes, you know, reminding people to sign up for that.

[00:12:15] They had announcements of after-hours events that were scheduled. Some awards events that were, were separate from the actual show. So. That was all in the feed, but they were constantly and consistently communicating with that. The thing was that as an attendee, I had to go in and check my feed now on that, to make sure that I was up to date on everything, but they were consistently communicating, which was fantastic.

[00:12:42] So that’s lesson number five is that communication is critical. And the last lesson and this was, this one is really in the shocking category. This is the last lesson number six is to be there, be present. Yeah, [00:13:00] here’s what was my experience was I was going into a lot of the exhibitors on the show floor and I was asking questions and, and there was a place on the site that,

[00:13:12] kept track of all of the communications I was having with anybody, whether that was an attendee or whether it was with an exhibitor. And so I knew all of the questions I had asked different exhibitors, this was a three-day event. And by the end of the third day, I would say about half of all the questions that I had asked exhibitors never got answered.

[00:13:36] So this meant that exhibitors had paid to be there. They had paid for their spot, but they weren’t there. If they were there, they were not answering questions. So maybe they didn’t know what the platform was. So I’ll cut them a little Slack there, but they weren’t there. They’ve there’s so much time, money, resources.

[00:13:55] Even in a virtual setting you invest as an exhibitor. So [00:14:00] make sure you are there. And I don’t care if you’re there as an attendee and you maybe even got a free ticket. It doesn’t matter. But if you paid, especially. Be there, go to everything you possibly can. You’ve invested it. If you’re there at a live event, you’re there and you’re going to go to everything that you can.

[00:14:18] We have so many distractions we’re working from home right now. Now it’s easier to just kind of tune out and does other things. Oh, this came up. Oh, Christmas is coming. Oh, shoot. You know what? Got it. I’ve got to go get to the store. I’ve got to do this. And so we forget. We tend to not follow through on some of these things that are so easy to get out of, but don’t do that.

[00:14:40] Please don’t make that mistake. These are huge for everybody on every side of this. So please be there. Be present, get the most out of these events. So as an exhibitor, make sure you set aside time to be present for those few hours each day and follow up with every single inquiry.

[00:15:00] you know, and this, this experience was not just mine. I had some online chats with other exhibitors. I had some chats with other attendees and they had the exact same experience that people were just not getting back to them.

[00:15:16] So please be there. Be present there’s lesson number six, be there and be present.

[00:15:23]so there you go. There are the six more powerful, but a couple of shocking lessons that I learned from the Expo! Expo! event. And I’m going to go through those real quick again. Number one, hold an intro session that takes people through the virtual platform. So everyone’s on the same page. Number two, engage with others.

[00:15:43] Please engage with others. Number three. Three use prerecorded sections of video, as much as you can. Lesson number four, be patient and cut everyone a little bit of Slack because glitches are going to happen. Right? Number five. Communication is so critical and lesson number [00:16:00] six, please be there and be present.

[00:16:02] So there you go. There are the six lessons and, please be on the lookout for future episodes coming up soon. I’m going to have, exhibitors from. Expo! Expo! sharing some tips, sharing some stories. So it’s good. You’re going to love that. And there’s going to be a lot of other great episodes coming up and wow.

[00:16:28] so again, get over to the website, sign up for the email newsletter, and because there’s so much great stuff coming out in 2021, I’m sure we’re all excited to get to 2020 in the books and turn the page here.

[00:16:40] Let’s get better and get better results with every event, every virtual event. And as we get back to them, every live event, make that commitment. We’ll see you back here on campus at Trade Show U.

About the author, Jim Jim Cermak has over 25 years of marketing, consulting, and training experience, and has planned and worked hundreds of Trade Shows. He gets a little overly excited about Trade Shows, and puts that passion into helping companies get better results!

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