Attendees have logged in but are confused about what to do next. Exhibitors don’t know if anyone is looking through their booth. People are expecting big things from the event, but don’t know how to navigate, find the right sessions, explore the exhibitors they care about and find all the ways to connect with each other. If there is a gap in what people expect and what you’re delivering, attendees and exhibitors will walk away dissatisfied.
As an event specialist for Cloud Conventions, I’ve watched my customers meet or exceed expectations and also felt the disappointment when there is an expectation to delivery gap. Here are some mistakes to avoid in setting the right expectations with both attendees and exhibitors.
Mistake #1: Creating anxiety comes from unmet expectations
Before the event launches, let your attendees and exhibitors know the basics like show hours, when sessions are held and the time to visit with exhibitors. Let everyone know what the event will deliver and how you plan to do so.
Mistake #2: Not teaching people how to navigate
Because everything is now virtual these days, that means attendees and exhibitors have been on a variety of platforms. Make sure people know how to navigate through yours and where to find the things that they need to participate.
Mistake #3: Lack of focus on what’s important
If your event has a lot going on, help people focus on the top few things to remember for that day. Communicate the most important sessions, experiences and opportunities.
Mistake #4: Unclear expectations for exhibitors
Virtual events have attendees jumping in and out of exhibitor booths, but maybe not when exhibitors think they are. Prepare your exhibitors about what to expect for in booth traffic and give them a strategy to attract attendees to them with in-booth sessions, demos, giveaways and show specials.
Mistake #5: Not staying in touch daily
Your event has different ways to get involved each day so constant communication helps people know what to expect. Reach out several times a day during the event to let people know what’s coming up and add a site-wide announcement to focus on the important happenings.
Mistake #6: Failing to communicate issues
Technology is not perfect, and speakers may not be ready when you expect them to be. If there is a change in plans, a disruption in service, or a setback, make sure to reach out quickly to let people know you’re on top of it and have a plan to adjust.
As I’ve learned, if there is a disconnect between what attendees or exhibitors expect and what the event intends to deliver, you’ll create anxiety in your audience. People need to know how to navigate the platform, find what they need, understand the schedule and logistics and know what they should focus on. Exhibitors should be coached into what is realistic to expect inside their booth during show hours. You should communicate with your audiences daily while the event is live and if you run into any issues be proactive and let your audience know.
Make sure that you leave no gaps in what to expect and what you can deliver in your virtual event.