Cisco Canada Blog

How to take your corporate event to the virtual world

January 24, 2012

A great corporate event is only as good as the planning that goes into it. If your company has decided to transition from an in-person event to a virtual-hybrid model, where attendees participate through collaborative technologies (such as WebEx or TelePresence) as well as in-person, there are many factors to consider before choosing the right solution for your audience.

In part one of our series on how technology is integral in creating a successful virtual-hybrid event, I will explore the best practices every company should consider in the pre-, during and post-event planning stages.

Think about the Pre-, During, and Post- Stages

The ‘Pre-‘ Stage

All too often, pre-event planning is overshadowed by planning for the event itself, and understandably so. Your event is the result of weeks, or even months, of hard work. However, when coordinating a virtual-hybrid event, it’s also critically important to make sure that:

1) Your employees are aware of the event;
2) Are compelled to attend the event; and
3) Know how to access the virtual component ahead of time

Once you have decided which collaborative tools are best suited to your event, be they a recorded Video-On-Demand (VOD) which can shared with remote employees post-event; a live TelePresence and WebEx session for interaction between colleagues; or a live streamed broadcast with chat capabilities, it’s time to get the word out.

Engaging with employees should begin right away, and I encourage you to leverage video and web-based technology in this process as much as possible. A personal video from your CEO stored on your network is much more enticing than a generic Outlook invite, and can be recorded using your existing WebEx or TelePresence solution.

The ‘During’ Stage (lights, camera, action!)

This is it – the moment when your virtual-hybrid event comes together. It’s time to record the action on stage and share the experience virtually by HD video.

During the presentation, be as engaging as possible with your virtual audience. Assign individuals to answer questions via a real-time chat. Address questions from both in-person and virtual participants equally, and post the responses internally for future discussions.

Also, make sure to capture attendee feedback via a portable video device. You need to be thinking about future events, and use that video for future business cases.

The ‘Post-‘ Stage (continue to scale the engagement)

Congratulations! Your event is complete. Now you need to utilize the video to keep employees engaged.

1. How to prepare
The first step is to edit your event video(s) for speaker titles, lighting and length.  I use Cisco’s Show and Share, which is part of our collaboration suite and accessed through Cisco Quad, a social enterprise platform, to edit and post my videos.

2. Where to store the video
To get the most out of your video, store it on the corporate network using a platform like Show and Share where your employees can search, review, rate, comment and subscribe to your content, or insert the video with a simple embedded link into Cisco Quad.

3. Transcribe the video to text
Converting your video speech to text has two significant benefits: it gives you the ability to share your organization’s vision with extended team members, and it helps employees navigating your company’s network locate relevant content. Cisco’s Show and Share integrated with Cisco’s Media Experience Engine provides the additional benefit of time-stamped text, so employees can click on any sentence and be sent that point in the video – an effective, and powerful, way for a user to get the information they need.

4. Make it accessible on any device
In today’s workplace, tablets and mobile devices are being used by employees to create and consume content. The simplicity of devices and their elegant interfaces make them the perfect solution for the post-PC era, enabling employees to view your company’s content anytime, anywhere with high speed access. Provide employees with secure access to your company network from their devices, and watch your video’s views grow.

How technology can help connect your employees during a virtual-hybrid event

In part two of this series I will provide tips on how to ensure your transition to a virtual-hybrid event is a success.

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