Keep Scary Surprises Out of Your Virtual Event


Bugs and ghostly echoes are fun on Halloween. But don’t let unanticipated hauntings turn your virtual conference into a scare-fest instead of a success. On October 28, my business partner, Kevin Ordonez, and I will host a webinar to tell you how to stop the vampires and ghouls from invading your online event space.

Our panel which includes, Joanna Pineda, Founder, CEO and Chief Trouble Maker, Matrix Group International, Inc.,  Arianna Rehak, CEO, Matchbox Virtual Media, and Dan Stevens, President, Workerbee.TV, are experts at virtual communications, marketing, and events.

The program comes on the heels of Solutions Day, .orgCommunity’s first virtual conference. Everyone is new at this game. But Kevin and I pride ourselves on deep technology roots as well as having planned more than our share of meetings; we thought taking Solutions Day online would be a cakewalk. We imagined we would be producing a glorified webinar.

The event was a success, but it left me humbled, minus a manicure, and with a new appreciation for our colleagues who are the veterans at making online meeting magic happen. It also got me thinking about expectations. It’s important to acknowledge that because much of the work for an online event may not be highly visible, that doesn’t make it less complex than a live conference. Solutions Day required as much effort as any meeting we have produced—more when you account for dealing with the unknown.

We organized the webinar to give you a Backstage Pass to Producing Your Virtual Conference. We want to present a realistic picture of the skills and resources you’ll need to launch with special emphasis on uncovering hazards that you might not be aware of until they trip you up in real-time. Here’s a sample of topics we’ll cover.

Vision and Strategy

When you select a physical space, it’s easy to see whether the footprint, decor, and ambiance deliver the right impact.

Virtual events can’t replicate in-person conferences, and it isn’t wise to try and impose a format that’s a bad fit. That doesn’t mean you can’t engage, amaze, and surprise. But it’s important to have a clear vision for how you will maximize the online experience and a strategy that brings that concept to life. When you select a physical space it’s easy to see whether the footprint, décor, and ambiance deliver the right impact. Envisioning online interaction is more difficult. We’ll describe the advantages of meeting in cyberspace and how to develop realistic expectations for a virtual site.

Platform Selection

There are now hundreds of platforms to choose from. How do you know which one is right for your group, and most importantly how much support you’ll need? Kevin and I chose Swapcard because it offers many opportunities for participants to network and interact. We also opted for additional online assistance. This was a service we added at the last minute. It helped us to relax and enjoy the program knowing that we had experts at the ready to address unexpected challenges. We’ll discuss pitfalls we avoided by having this extra help.

Live or Recorded?

Should you go live or play it safe and record? Most of Solutions Day was recorded because we wanted that extra level of control over the program. However, we were impressed by the energy of the live sessions. Now that we have one event under our belts, we’ll probably plan for more real-time presentations at our next conference. Our panel will describe the pros and cons of each approach.

Speakers and Sponsors

What do you do when your program is timed down to the second and a speaker decides to add additional time to their presentation? You can safely predict how the venue or platform will perform, but people are the wildcard in any conference. We’ll discuss how to soothe your speakers’ technology jitters and give you strategies to avoid having last-minute meltdowns.

Our Experts

Our panel of innovators will share as much expertise as time allows.

Arianna Rehak

Arianna Rehak

Beating Zoom fatigue and developing meaningful engagement in the virtual space is one of today’s big challenges. Arianna has built a career on creating online connections.  As the CEO and Co-Founder of Matchbox Virtual Media, Arianna knows more than a thing or two about making fertile ground for information and knowledge sharing. Matchbox is a company that partners with purpose-driven organizations to produce virtual events that build knowledge communities around topics that matter. The company has built a methodology for virtual co-creation that brings together groups of professionals and harnesses their collective knowledge.

“My work is very much an extension of my personality,” Arianna notes. “I have always been excited by learning,” she says. “SURGE, the first virtual conference I co-created, was a result of my intellectual curiosity, and as the Matchbox team grows, that inquisitive spirit keeps expanding.”

Arianna is looking forward to sharing how to make your virtual events more collaborative and focused on the important questions that matter both to members and society.

Joanna Pineda

Joanna Pineda

Solving a problem can be like eating an artichoke. Sometimes you must peel away lots of prickly leaves before you reach the heart of the matter. Joanna Pineda and her team at Matrix Group International, Inc. are experts at finding the sweet spot.

Matrix Group is an award-winning digital marketing development agency that helps associations and nonprofits change the world. The company prides itself on going deep to discover where a client’s real problems lie and fixing them. BeSpeake is Matrix Group’s powerful virtual meeting platform. The cloud-based, flexible software is designed to encourage genuine social connection.

Joanna believes that the old association model of yearly dues and big annual conferences is not sustainable. “Younger members don’t want an organization that was designed for their parents,” she says. She sees going deep, the Matrix philosophy of problem-solving, as a strategy that can help associations reenvision the future. “Change may mean adopting a gaming model, an entertainment model, or a nano model. All these avenues must be explored so that the core of what associations do, promoting professional excellence through community and learning, can continue.” 

Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens has been refreshing his vision and his business models for most of his life. He values the freedom that being an entrepreneur gives him to be a creative, problem-solver.

“There are so many niches in the market where there is room to invent something new.” Association TV® (WorkerBee.TV’s flagship video and multimedia platform and video-centric services for Associations) is Stevens’s second business which he founded in 2007. The challenge he sought to overcome was—video is complex and expensive to do well. But everyone wants access to this powerful storytelling medium. Our company has a simple value proposition,” he says. “Association TV makes video profitable, purposeful, and predictable. We use video strategically to tackle issues associations face and help them improve the 3 big R’s: retention, recruitment, and revenue.”

Save the Willies and Chills for Halloween

Join our panel for an insightful and lively conversation on October 28. Register today!

Read more about Joanna, Arianna, and Dan’s professional journeys in our book, Association 4.0: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Risk, Courage, and Transformation.

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