7 Lessons Learned for Virtual Events Under Pandemic

In the two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all become familiar with the world of virtual meetings. We’ve learned that we cannot just take what we did in person and copy and paste it into the virtual world. Inclusive, engaging virtual events must be designed differently from the start.

When we do it with an open mind, a collaborative spirit, and an eye for conversational equity, we can create authentic spaces for mutual learning and exciting discussion.


1. Collaboration takes time, flexibility, and understanding

There are many advantages to take a partnership approach, such as bringing in diverse perspectives and varied experiences to expand the network of participants who are invited to join the online event. Although it takes time, work and mutual respect, it is worths for it.

2. Recognize participants’ time, contributions, and effort

It is crucial to recognize attendees’ contributions and the time commitment to participation in the virtual event. Certificates and other forms of recognition are good methods to recognise the acknowledgment of participants’ choice to engage.  



3. A truly bilingual event requires more than just interpretation

It is crucial to hold online discussions in multiple languages. To enable all participants can listen to the interpretation in their language. Also, sharing learning materials and presentation slides in all languages so they can follow along during the event in their preferred language.

4. Interesting content is the best way to provoke good engagement

It is important for the audience to interact with others, otherwise bad impressions might be made. Therefore, always ensure there is sufficient time for participants to share their thoughts, questions, and experiences. The best discussions are related to thought-provoking questions or detailed sharing of experiences.


5. Breakout rooms are a double-edged sword

Dividing participants into smaller groups can provide opportunities for active engagement during a large virtual event. This also can enable organizers to group attendees by topics of interest or shared language. It is good to plan adequate transition time for moving to and from breakout rooms in the agenda and to include clear written and verbal instructions for participants in multiple languages.

6. Learning is a two-way journey

Framing the virtual events as a mutual learning experience can help ensure a collaborative dynamic. The online events should not only be learning experiences for the participants but also for the partners and presenters. This learning approach can also help provide the space to make corrections when challenges arise during the virtual event. At the same time, event planners should solicit feedback from the participants with post-event services after the events, to improve and have a better event next time.

7. Keep it simple; keep it inclusive

When having virtual meetings across geographies, time zones, and languages, it is important to think about how to keep everyone can engage in the meeting and keep the online events in a simple format. For example, by using breakout rooms, polls, chat boxes and whiteboards.

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