“Which tech platform?” should not be your first question when planning a virtual or hybrid event.Paul Cook, Hybrid Event Centre
Successful virtual events are not decided by the choice of tech platform that an event planner uses. But it is the number one question that is top of mind for planners and clients alike.
In my opinion, the issue of deciding which tech platform you will use for your virtual or hybrid event needs to come lot later in the decision-making process. However, it is usually the first and dominant question at planning meetings and I find it intriguing.
Let’s take a look at why that might be and how you should look at the decision instead.
Question first, choose next
The platform question is an important one, of that there is no doubt. But to ask it and even expect an answer at the start of your planning is too soon. It might be useful to have an idea but even that could get in the way of objective decision making.
Let’s look at this another way. You are planning an in-person meeting and need a venue to hold the event. What do you do? Do you choose a venue and then ask questions about the event? No, of course, you don’t.
You never decide on a venue first and then start thinking about the programme of activities. It is always the other way round. Typical questions before you choose a venue include; what activities are you going to be doing? Do you want to be close to transport links? How many delegates will be coming? The list of questions goes on and on. Armed with the answers, event planners then source suitable venues.
This idea of asking which venue will be used, before all the requirements have been dealt with makes no sense. And that is why asking what the technology platform(s) will be, before you understand what your client wants, is pointless.
Don’t forget hand-holding and data security
Tech providers are great people. They come up with new ideas for improving their technology and by default your user experience. They are constantly upgrading and making things better. But, as soon as one provider has discovered a new way of making an improvement, you will find them copied (more or less) by a competitor.
Tech companies can never stand still, especially in such a competitive market. They know that the latest bells and whistles of their tech products will appeal to planners. It’s completely natural. People devour tech, just look at the lines of people that wait for the latest release of the newest smartphone.
But what is more important to event planners than the latest tech, is knowing that there is service support for when they have a problem. The best tech in the world is of no use if it’s not clear how it should be used and there is no one to call. Hand holding is prized by event planners.
And data security is also important. Given that there are now all sorts of different laws regarding data protection, this issue will never go away and, in a society that is becoming more litigious, this will become a higher priority for planners in making their tech decisions.
Conclusion – Trust your carrier
Producing a great virtual event takes time, people and resources. Tech is a key component in this, but it is only one element. You have to understand the objectives and consider design and user experience before getting to the issue of which platform to use.
Virtual events go way beyond a meeting held on Zoom or in Teams. If you give the name of the tech platform you will use and it isn’t known by your client, how does that help them? They may research it and find niggles with it. It is far better to give your clients the confidence that you will provide the perfect solution for them, which may be a combination of different platforms, and ensure that they will get a great ROI from working with you.
When I book a flight, I never quiz the airline on what type of aircraft I will be flying in. I trust them to get me to my destination safely and it is the same with you and your tech choices. Fly your delegates to a great user experience using the right tech and you will be sure that your client will not worry what tech you used, or even what the name of the platform was.