As almost everyone is trapped indoors, corporate brands still need a way to reach their consumers and prospects. If you’re providing a service, you would most probably be trying to relate your business to how business consumers stuck at home can use still your service. No doubt legal and HR advisors, financial and business consultants are using this time to educate business owners to work on their strategies and operations to continue sustaining their businesses.

If you’re selling a product eg office furniture or printers or IT hardware, but it’s still possible if you get on ecommerce sites and go all out with ads.

As consumers, we’re suddenly flooded with so much content AND distractions at home. How do you make sure you get most out of it?

1.Choose the webinar wisely. This applies to physical events too. If you’re a HR manager, you don’t go to marketing events to learn how to engage your staff better. However, the challenge now is there are 10x more events to choose from so it’s important  to know what exactly you want to achieve by attending, and if the event you choose fits your goals.

2. Value your time.  We at Best Events Productions find that our days are filled to the brim because of the upcoming projects that we are planning. However, you might find that without travel time, you have more time on your hands. So think about what you would like to do with it? Attend an online event? (Studies find that online events can be exhausting as you give 100% focus to the content so it would be a good idea to space them out) Family time? Other options for professional or personal development?

3. Get to know some basics: familiarize yourself with tech platforms that are popular and most likely to be used (e.g. Zoom or Google Hangouts). A newspaper recently reported that offices in Japan still often rely on faxes instead of email. Many homes lack high-speed Internet connections, and documents often must be stamped in-person with carved seals called “hanko”, which serve as signatures. So many Japanese really cannot work remotely, at least not all the time.

In Kuala Lumpur and bigger cities within Malaysia, the urbanites are pretty familiar with online tools but it will take some time for people who are used to manual labour to learn online. It does not need to be too deep or complicated; but when you get to know it better you’d feel more confident when using it (and less nervous if something goes wrong). Same with online “etiquette” – update yourself on rules of video conferencing, virtual gatherings and events. It may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s these little details that make you feel different when time comes.

4. Commit to the time of the online event you chose to attend. Event organisers put a lot of effort into engaging participants. It isn’t always easy to engage customers offline but it’s definitely challenging online as we cannot influence as many things and remove distractions which vary from the many tabs on your laptop to your smartphone to kids and spouses wanting your attention. So you can help event organisers make your online experience better if you commit to be as much present as possible and structure your time (which is a good thing to do anyway, from behavioral science perspective). What can help is blocking off  time in your calendar when you register for event, no multitasking during the event (smartphone is probably the biggest distraction – scientists claim the mere presence of a phone is distracting! ), reserving some time to follow-up and try to connect with other participants during the Live chat, and reflect on the event outcomes just like with a traditional event.

5. Do the set up and tune-in emotionally. It’s tempting to attend online event in your pajamas, and although there is nothing wrong with it, putting on a business look (or part of it) or setting up your desk in a specific way will psychologically prepare you to be fully present. By doing so you tell your brains it’s time to concentrate and learn, and activate yourself to get max out of participation, just like at an off-line event.

6. Make global connections. You’ve got an outstanding opportunity to meet people you would not meet at a phys. Don’t miss out on such opportunity.

7. Try things out. Don’t be shy! Event or webinar organisers will offer you different ways to engage, from traditional chat rooms and Q&As to less traditional and new options like polls, 1:1 video conversations, braindates, virtual break out sessions and so on. You can only know what works for you if you really test it out for yourself.

Please share this post with your fellows who frequently attend business events. Knowledge is power, and I hope the above will help you attend meaningfully online as well.

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