Virtual Events

Most Virtual Events Lack the Real “Magic”​ of In-Person Events

Virtual Event2
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I saw this question posed on LinkedIn:

“If a virtual event is innovative & transformative yet the audience isn’t watching live or planning to actively participate can it ever be successful?”

It got me thinking, then writing a comment, and my comment eventually hit the LI character limit, so I decided to turn that too-long comment into this article instead. (Full transparency: it’s not meant to be a pitch for our product, but rather an examination of the problem we’re trying to solve, which obviously necessitates a conclusion that, in a sense, naturally equals our solution.)

With most events, online or offline, the audience is accustomed to a mostly 1-way broadcast of information. We expect to attend the event and be talked at e.g. speaker presenting on stage while I listen in my chair, or webinar host going through slides while I follow along on my computer. The real “magic” occurs in the small group discussions that take place during or around the main event- the reason most people fly across the country or world (or did, at least- no one knows what conference attendance will look like post-COVID) was for the networking during lunch, the drinks at the hotel lobby bar, the workshops, etc.

With in-person events, those small group discussions can happen organically- I walk out of the exhibit hall and run into someone at the high top tables, we start chatting, exchange business cards, stay connected after the event, for example.

With virtual events, the opportunities for small group discussions are much more limited and most of them need to be deliberate and intentional- I’m not going to “run into” other webinar or video conference attendees after the main event is over without going out of my way to do so.

Hence that “magic” of small groups is much harder to facilitate with virtual events.

Virtual Event

My team has been working to address this problem (before the Coronavirus turned it into an essential one to solve) with our new video platform, VoiceVoice (voicevoice.com), which allows hosts to generate unlimited numbers of guided small group video conversations, without the host actually needing to attend. The host records (once) the facilitation elements for a purposeful conversation (such as agenda, video guidance, and activities). The “app” facilitates up to millions of live small groups with the recorded guidance and allows those groups to discuss, navigate together, connect with each other, network, brainstorm, and move into action.

VoiceVoice

How we see this working with online or eventually even offline conferences and events- the host designs an ongoing series of live video, guided, small group conversations and uses that conversation series to get their community networking and engaging, building rapport before, during or after the conference with guided, small group conversations (no-host needed) for registrants, and post-conference, an ongoing series of conversations for attendees to discuss key takeaways from the conference and how they are applying those learnings to their roles as a way to stay connected with each other and the host company’s brand (and again, the host team doesn’t have to be in attendance, the app is “facilitating” these deep, small group, live video conversations so these small group conversations can scale).

And yet, the challenge still remains one of expectations- people jump in thinking it’s gonna be a webinar or live speaker broadcast, expecting to be passive consumers of content rather than active participants contributing their voice to the event. With a VoiceVoice conversation, the live group participants are the main characters in the story – and people aren’t used to this concept with a virtual event because it’s not previously been possible (that is, until now, as our platform enables).

We’re currently bringing the Event Professional community together to discuss this topic in more depth. Happy to have my LinkedIn connections participate in this round table discussion for Event Hosts, Producers, Sponsors, and Media, to discuss how people are addressing the immediate (and upcoming) challenges this COVID-19 pandemic is presenting on the VoiceVoice platform here https://beta.voicevoice.com/register/eventleaders2020.

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Awesome News: the New VoiceVoice Platform is Ready!

Coming soon: the VoiceVoice Platform launch
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News from our product, engineering and QA teams is that we now have a demo-able VoiceVoice platform!

So we gave our very first live demo of the brand-new platform yesterday (first time ever showing it to a prospect, who said the “organic, exponential power is amazing!”), and hoping to be selling it based on those demos ASAP.

I can’t express how excited I am to start getting feedback on the real product!

For the time being, we are only demoing to a limited number of our current customers who’ve previously asked to join our very private beta. We hope to be able to offer more demos – live, recorded or self-hosted – in early 2018.

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Announcing the VoiceVoice Platform, Technology for Conversations

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[Editor’s note: the original version of this posted can be found on the MaestroConference company blog. This version below has been lightly edited.]

Since inception, the company behind MaestroConference has stood for something bigger than just the technology. As I’ve always told potential investors, and team, and anyone who would listen- we exist to support those purposeful conversations our customers want to have with their global stakeholders. In particular, we specialize in conversations where everyone can participate fully and feel involved and included, with lots of small groups that are coordinated and doing something “together.”

And, we’re about to launch our biggest innovation since our founding. But it’s not MaestroConference, and it’s not really even conferencing per se.

So here it is- arguably our biggest, most important announcement since founding this company.

 

I am proud & excited to officially announce the

VoiceVoice Platform, Technology for Conversations.

Announcing the VoiceVoice platform, technology for conversations

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purposeful conversations

What Are “Purposeful Conversations”?

Purposeful Conversations: People Actually Talking
Reading Time: 2 minutes

[Editor’s note: the original version of this posted can be found on the MaestroConference company blog. This version below has been lightly edited.]

 

Numerous research studies suggest that people learn more and retain more information when they feel involved and included in the discussion i.e. when they’re talking with someone as opposed to when they simply sit back and listen to someone speak at them.

There’s just something uniquely powerful about people actually talking.

Our company, VoiceVoice, exists to light up the world with the power of those special, amazing conversations where everyone can participate fully and feel involved and included. That often means people talking in many parallel small groups, guided or facilitated by a central host. Everyone can contribute, meet others, vote, take notes and otherwise apply themselves. And that makes these conversations better for learning, fostering relationships and inspiring real-world actions

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Why We Exist: A History of VoiceVoice, Technology for Conversations

Purposeful Conversations - a history of VoiceVoice
Reading Time: 3 minutes

[Editor’s note: The original version of this post can be found on our MaestroConference blog. The version below has been lightly edited.]

VoiceVoice, the company, was created specifically to bring to life a particular format of conversation.

Back when I was a student attending a workshop, a training, or a class, the teacher or facilitator would say, “okay, turn to your partner and tell them why you are here, what you want out of this lesson, what you’ve learned.”

I could feel my excitement, the excitement of the room, when the questions were on topic. Rather than just listening to someone speak or teach, we were connecting to other people by actively, deliberately participating and talking live with others in the room.

Some people refer to this format of conversation as “facilitated, guided or hosted.” Those in a teaching context call it “active learning.” These terms are all related, but to me, none of them truly encapsulate the essence of these purposeful conversations, so I struggle with the wording.

And yet the purpose of our technology has always been crystal clear- to create these very lively conversations and invite very large groups of people to participate in them.

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