Can Virtual Events Replace
Traditional Events?

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With the world teetering on global events that have been the source of overwhelming challenges that continue to affect people’s lives today, and nations’ healthcare systems, social norms have begun to see drastic changes. Are these changes for the better? Until when will you need to conform to them? When will it be acceptable to return to the norm you and I grew up with. That is if there’s even a hint of a chance for them to do a double-take and be restored.

We have yet to observe their far-reaching effects. And analysts speculate that said changes could, later on, reveal themselves less temporary than expected.

But humanity survives and flourishes despite all odds. We still love to celebrate life and everything that falls in between. It’s the reason why events hosting is such a lucrative profession. Because you and I will always find a way to celebrate what and who we love most. You will always find a way to have a reason to have fun with your friends, family, or colleagues and just have a blast of a good time.

And according to psychologists (yes, there’s some science in here), events lead to positive benefits, too. Commendation and recognition are among the factors that motivate human beings. They inspire us to continue pushing forward and doing what we do best, as best as we can. When these commendations, recognitions, and celebrations are done in person, they’re morality uplifting, encouraging, and are motivations that drive confidence and excellence.

Even so, there’s a stark increase on the dependence of all things virtual and conferencing through online channels have been taking precedence as of recent.

So then, what do these mean for Events and Event Hosting?

The New Reality

Be that as it may, has a rise in virtual events mean the end of their traditional, face-to-face counterpart? As the world continues to evolve into one that’s dependent on technology whether for work or for entertainment, meetings and celebrations hosted online continue to increase in number and frequency.

It’s something inevitable. This paradigm shift. Because there’s no stopping technology and its continuous advancement. The world’s technology exists due to the matter that convenience is a safety net that human beings find comfort in.

Faster work in a shorter amount of time, with less effort. Quicker conduits of communication that rarely, if at all, have boundaries. Everything in a click of a button or on spoken command at Alexa, Siri, or Google (did we miss “anyone” else?).

Plus, it’s happening without delays. Have you noticed that the technology of yesterday is already behind and considered passe when paid side by side with the technology of tomorrow? It’s quite fascinating, yet at the same time, daunting. That there is an urgency in keeping up to speed with these constant shifts and modifications society is leaning towards.

By the same token, events and event hosting are directly affected by this. Yet soon, we will find ourselves adjusted to these worldwide social transformations, and we’ll have the capacity to calmly sail on the new norms that have swept through the globe in a tumultuous storm.

It may be new at present. It may be something that people are struggling to cope with. Businesses are opening their doors to what was deemed as unconventional transactions. Consumers are teaching themselves to be comfortable making their purchases online. To further this, social occasions are transcending from friends chatting together, having a drink on a Friday night, to congresses involving hundreds of employees logged on to whatever online podium companies have chosen to trust.

As we turn our eyes towards virtual business dealings and gatherings, there are some key factors that require answers. While more and more of the masses patronize this not-so-new form of conversation and convention, two questions hang adrift— what are the advantages of Virtual Gatherings. What of their disadvantages? Can one replace the other?

We intend to give insight into these as much as we can in this post.

The Pros And Cons Of Virtual Events

Let’s Start With The Pros

1. Hosting a virtual event is easy

Almost effortless, if we may say it that way. All you need to do is set the schedule, gather responses from possible attendees, prepare the program, and… well, that’s it. It’s a hassle-free, no-frills manner of talking to a huge number of people in a single go, while connected to the internet.

Because that’s all everybody will need. A good connection online. With that alone, any virtual event can be hosted no-sweat.

Plus, getting in touch with caterers, printing presses, security agencies, and a slew of other third-party companies that usually have their feet dipped in your event preparations— you can kiss these “goodbye.”

2. It’s cost-effective

Instead of having to carefully sift through a selection of venues and closely check on their prices per hour, you can forgo this stage and conduct an assembly online for free. Granted you’ll still be paying for your electricity and internet bills, but that’s nothing compared to the grand scale that renting a venue warrants.

Not only that, but it’s going to be cost-effective on participants, too. Individuals won’t feel the need to go shopping for a good outfit to wear to the event. They won’t have to spend on gas. They won’t even have to pay for some sort of conference fee or hand-out charges (Because even the latter can be downloaded via soft copy. Unless they’re copyrighted, then that’s a whole other story).

3. It’s convenient for the attendees themselves.

Thirdly, attendees can be in the comfort of their homes and still be present at the conference, or whichever name you’d like to call it.

Aside from that, even they won’t have to worry about transportation, or even being late (at least, we hope this is the case)! They simply need to be ready and online when they need to be.

4. It’s time-saving.

Finally, more time can be saved in the preparation and the “clean-up” of a virtual event in comparison to that of a traditional event. There’s no actual preparation involved, to be straightforward, nor will there be a need for cleaning up after.

Organizers won’t have that much work to do, to be honest. At least, other than making sure attendees have ticked “yes” on the “Will you be available at…” through Calendly or other similar scheduling platforms.

Invitations? They can be crafted through various software (most, with built-in templates to choose from) and sent via email, too. And once the online meeting is concluded, well, that’s it. There’s nothing else to do. A few follow-ups and surveys yet, to be frank, that’s the end of the line. So, hosts and organizers can breathe easier and have time in their hands.

Now, The Cons

1. Distractions A-Plenty

Being at home means being susceptible to distractions, whether they come in the form of your kids, the casserole you’re heating on the stove, or noise coming from the street right outside your place of residence.

You can name a whole other list of things that may lead to diverting your attention from the virtual event. All the same, that’s the truth of the matter. A simple click of the mute button and of the turn-your-camera-off icon, and you can easily slip away from the chat/conference room to attend to anything else besides it.

At the same time, internet connectivity itself is a culprit here. Your connectivity via a good or a bad service provider has a role in this. Additionally, having tens of people, or hundreds, will render a virtual event not-so-seamless. Expect a bit of lagging, the audio not matching up with the video, or the video feed itself becoming fuzzy from time to time.

Organizers won’t have that much work to do, to be honest. At least, other than making sure attendees have ticked “yes” on the “Will you be available at…” through Calendly or other similar scheduling platforms.

Invitations? They can be crafted through various software (most, with built-in templates to choose from) and sent via email, too. And once the online meeting is concluded, well, that’s it. There’s nothing else to do. A few follow-ups and surveys yet, to be frank, that’s the end of the line. So, hosts and organizers can breathe easier and have time in their hands.

2. Little To No Opportunities For Networking

One of the reasons why people go the distance to be present at conventions is that they view it as a pool of future networking connections. You get to meet people from different businesses, different industries who could be potential partners in the near future.

Hence, not being able to do so is a disadvantage during virtual events. You MIGHT have chances to make introductions of yourself and of your company via an online portal but it will require a lot of patience on your end. As well as a whole lot of tolerance from your counterpart.

Remember, they too, are in the same situation as you are. At home, and surrounded by distractions that plague them just as often as yours badger you moment after moment.

We’ll talk about this a little more further in the post. For now, here’s the third con.

3. Less Active Participation And Excitement

This may vary from person to person but we’ll stand by how true this is. Because of the scaled-down convenience of meeting online, there’s little to almost no effort in being a part of the meeting itself.

Yes, individuals can properly wear half a business suit (the upper half, please!), some will wear makeup and whip their hair up formal-style, but you have to admit, it doesn’t compare to a face-to-face encounter.

For this reason, most won’t be as participative and engaged as they would be in a traditional setup. They’ll be there. You’ll see their videos on your screen. They’ll be nodding their heads in agreement or shaking them if they disagree. Still, there won’t be enough occasions that will merit their undivided attention and thoughtful involvement. There won’t be avenues for contributions on the level of traditional gatherings.

Following this, here’s why face-to-face events are still essential.

Face-To-Face Events: Irreplaceable By Virtual Events

Though there are advantages to virtual events, and they act as an amazing alternative to traditional assemblies, they will not be effective as a complete replacement of the other. Note the word “complete.”

There’s magic about interacting with others in person. And yes, we said “magic.” The connections you make, the conversation you have when in front of the other and you’re seeing each other eye to eye… they become much more relevant.

This is where networking makes sense. This is where networking thrives. Discussions that are open, where a back and forth can be done without the trouble of a delay in communicating your point because of internet speed.

Furthermore, sponsorships and branding equally flourish in this environment. It’s tough to leave a good impression, and even tougher, a lasting impact on an audience who merely sees you as another face on their computer display.

When Will It Be The Opportune Time To Return To Traditional Events?

Although much of what society does is dictated by the laws of the government of the land, the undeniable and unquestionable truth is that for events and events hosting, you and I have much freedom to make decisions about them.

Whether you’ve already had a taste of a virtual event and have experienced its conveniences or not, consider its counterpart. Consider how there is a need for real and personal meetings, of talks with gestures and facial expressions, and business dealings that are more effective in person than they are online.

A need. We emphasize that word. Not merely a want. You see, people have personalities that differ from one another and these are what allow us all to be unique. Introverts and extroverts. People who like being outside and those who prefer to stay in their homes whenever they can.

Nonetheless, anybody regardless of background and personality will come to agree that celebrations have another phase of “meaningful” when done in front of and with the ones who matter to the celebrants, guests, members, call it what you will, who are a part of the gathering.

In simpler words, it’s completely up to you and the participants of an event. If everybody has the confidence to step out and be in a crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, then traditional assemblies will begin to see the light of day.

Will the transition be quick? Will it take a year? Such questions have no direct answer as of the moment. At any rate, it WILL happen. Soon or not-so-soon, it will.

But really, the answer is in your hands. If you believe that at this moment, a traditional event is what’s needed to bring life to the occasion you’ll be celebrating and/ or hosting, by all means, go ahead. Get your creative juices running and host it amazingly!

And yes, even with precautions regarding social distancing by a certain number of feet, seating arrangements that aren’t so close together, monitored food serving, strict head-counting against room capacity, and the like, you’ll still be able to create a spectacular experience unlike any other.

By following through with said precautions, we can, a step at a time, cruise ourselves more and more towards face-to-face events. “Slow and steady” is the key. And as we work together to maintain safety in social gatherings, we’ll get there with flying colors sooner than expected.

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