Conferences & Trade Shows In The Time Of Covid

Jonathan Pritchard

Now What?

Right now the world is going through something that nobody alive today has ever experienced. The effects of covid itself, and the measures we're taking to address it, are rippling out into every life, business, and industry.

Live events have been hit especially hard.

Concerts, theater, comedy clubs, movie theaters, restaurants, and us here in the trade show / conference world have been hit especially hard.

What do we do when the very heart of what makes us social creatures threatens our lives?

Get creative!

Innovative Solutions

It can be easy to focus on the "doom and gloom" nature of what we're going through, but you'd be missing the interesting solutions that people are coming up with in the virtual conference space.

One of the conferences we've attended for nearly a decade (NACA) has gone entirely virtual!

It seems like the impact of covid has accelerated the adoption of video & virtual conferencing technologies by at least a decade, and there are a lot of people who are caught flatfooted.

Most of us are old pros at being approachable, having a good handshake, making good eye-contact, and reading the body language of a prospective client on the trade show floor.

But what do you do when you're trying to do all that over Zoom?!

Pointers

If you're new to the video conferencing dynamic, it can be a difficult adjustment! There's a lot to think about in terms of technology, equipment, scheduling, and all that's before you've ever even started!

We here at ROI Trade Shows are no strangers to the unique challenges of the broadcast medium, and have a lot of experience working in front of the camera (as well as behind it, too).

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Have good lighting.
Without dedicated light sources, you're going to be relying on the light coming in the window. That means that every cloud that passes by will change the quality of your image, and that will scream "amateur." There are relatively inexpensive solutions available on Amazon, so I'd suggest you start there.

Use a good camera.
High quality webcams are around $100, and worth every penny. Relying on the built-in camera on a laptop often results in a smudged image, and it's placed at a low angle which is *not* flattering. If you use an external HD webcam, you can use a tripod to place it at eye level which will be the right height for you.

Use a good microphone.
If your audio is clear, then you can get away having a low quality image. But, if you have a high quality image and awful sound, nobody is sticking around! What kind of microphone you should use (hand held, boom mic, lapel/clip-on) depends on your situation (do you need to use your hands? Will you be interviewing someone else? Is there more than one person talking at a time?), so it's important to plan for the occassion!

Test run your platform.
Whether you're going to be using Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or whatever, you're going to need to get familiar with it. Every service has their own layout for buttons and if you're used to Skype's layout but are using Zoom, then it's going to add an extra layer of difficulty, and you should get familiar with it before it's time for that important call.

Be interesting!
Even though there are different elements to worry about (like lighting and webcams), there are still bedrock things to consider like grabbing (and keeping) someone's attention! Since we're moving into the virtual space it's easier than ever for an attendee to digitally "walk away" by clicking that little X button. We've been helping our clients by developing interesting presentations that combine visual appeal with humorous narratives that grab the attention of the lead long enough to communicate their core value propositions.

Takeaway

Unique challenges present interesting opportunities for the people who take the time to think about the situation properly.

If you're wondering how you're going to face these challenges, and would like to make the most out of the new virtual world, we'd love to talk with you! Schedule a call, and we can get you focused on success!

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ROI Trade Shows is proudly owned and operated by the Hellstrom Group; a project dedicated to helping people connect to opportunity.
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