How to Create a Virtual Safe Space for Attendees
Since hybrid and virtual events are here to stay amidst the COVID pandemic, event hosts and managers are looking for virtual event solutions that will make the events more inclusive and safer for attendees. In fact, considering how beneficial these events are, it is estimated that 71% of event organizers will continue arranging such events post-pandemic.
However, attendees’ virtual spaces bring a myriad of challenges for event production companies that create a digital divide amongst attendees. To help ensure that such a divide does not arise at your virtual event and instead fosters safety, continue reading.
We will walk you through helpful tips that will encourage everyone attending your virtual event to feel included and enjoy themselves regardless of their background and needs.
Tips to Create a Virtual Safe Space
With these helpful tips, virtual event companies can help foster safety and inclusivity for all members attending virtual or hybrid events.
Remove Geographical Boundaries
Geographical boundaries can be a significant barrier when hosting events. However, in the case of online and virtual events, this barrier can easily be removed. You can make it open for anyone from anywhere to join. This accessibility is greatly beneficial for individuals who would otherwise be unable to travel to another city or venue for an event, such as those with chronic illnesses or a disability.
With the help of online events, you can reach more people and have a more diverse and wider audience. Moreover, online healing events will already be much safer for people to attend because they are already in their safe space since they are attending from the comfort of their homes.
Have Open Communication
Having open communication is a significant technique to make attendees feel more comfortable at virtual events. You should be completely transparent about the event right at the beginning. Pre-event communication can also go a long way in preparing the attendees and knowing what they are getting themselves into.
Some of the ways you can have open communication at events are by telling all the people about the purpose of the event, goals you want to achieve via the event, and the main discussion points.
Provide Extra Support to Marginalized Communities
Another excellent way to provide extra support to all communities is by making your virtual space accessible to everyone. As a virtual event company, you can do this by keeping it open and free for everyone or having discounted prices for individuals with low income. You can also make your virtual space safer by encouraging members of all types of diverse communities to participate.
There are a few ways virtual events can pose obstacles for attendees that event production companies and organizers should take care of in advance. For example, to make their virtual spaces safer, they should include closed captioning so individuals with hearing disabilities and who don’t know the language fluently can understand it.
Moreover, the virtual event should also take place on a platform that the attendees are familiar with. It should not be on complicated software or platform that the attendees will need to download or install. And if they do have to, make sure you incorporate as many instructions to make it easier as you can.
Avoid Making Participation Compulsory
Many people think that they should make their virtual events compulsory, especially if it is of the corporate kind. However, this will not make your attendees feel safe or comfortable. Additionally, having them keep their mics and cameras open may also be problematic for people since some might have social anxiety, speech difficulties, or are not able to afford high-speed internet or cameras.
Other than that, you can also ask attendees to update their digital names and profiles so that you are using the right pronouns for them. All in all, you should make participation optional for attendees. You can keep the chat box open to type instead of talk. Once a few people come forward and share, the others are encouraged to do so as well.
Dedicate Time for Self Reflection
This is especially true for corporate events or business meetings. You should understand that these are completely new forms of communication and doing business for people. Most people might not even know each other, hence, they might not feel comfortable or safe in the virtual space.
One way you can do that is to allow breakout room features where people can converse in small groups. Consider ways to indulge in self-reflection so that everyone’s voice can be heard. Look up ways to build trust in virtual events by asking people how they are feeling and then following up with those who may not be feeling as good.
Design Content for Different Learning and Processing Styles
Besides having captioning available for attendees, you should also facilitate visual learners with the help of slideshows and pictures. For people who spend extra time learning, you can also send them the slideshow or content plan ahead of the meeting or event. You must also ensure that you spend ample time brainstorming and encouraging attendees to take notes at virtual meetings.
Diversify Your Speakers
Lastly, if you are holding a webinar or a panel discussion, make sure the people you invite to talk are from a diverse group of communities. They should not all be from the same race or gender. Ensure that they also use the correct pronouns and language that does not offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable.
These were just a few of the virtual event solutions that can help make your meeting, event, or any kind of virtual space safer for all attendees. If you want to explore more options, get in touch with Seven Events. We can help you create a safe, accessible, and inclusive virtual space every step of the way. For more information, call us at +44 (0) 207 659 4430 or drop us an email at email@example.com.
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