Check out the rest of our Microsoft Ignite 2021 coverage below:
- Satya Nadella on Microsoft Mesh & The Next Decade of Cloud Innovation
- The Most Exciting Microsoft Teams Features Announced at Ignite 2021
- The Azure Active Directory Roadmap for Strong Security in Hybrid Work
- 3 New Power BI Features Empower a Data-Driven Workplace
We’re all aware of the challenges brought about by the pandemic, but for Bob Bejan, the very person behind Microsoft Ignite and other flagship events at Microsoft, the change was a bit more nuanced. With all the challenges over the past year, Bob was tasked with transforming the way Microsoft did events—from going hybrid to then deciding to focus on digital.
In his Microsoft Ignite 2021 session, Bob shared what he learned about making virtual events a success in this age of remote work. Here are his four critical tips:
1. Acknowledge that it’s a bigger job than you think it is.
Sometimes because of how simple digital events may seem, we just think, “Oh, that’s it.” But it’s so much more than that. There’s so much to prepare and learn about if you want to make your live event a success. For Bob, it’s important to internalize the mantra, “You cannot translate, you have to remake,” and to always remind yourself of that.
2. Realize that you’re working with live events in a new way.
As an event organizer, Bob has worked with crew personnel and creative people in agencies, and he sees how everyone wants to put this new “live event from home” experience in a box. Is it a broadcast? Is it live theater in front of a camera?
Bob believes it’s both of these things. It’s part broadcast, part interactive movie-making, part theater—but really, it’s a new process and way of thinking. He emphasized the importance of getting all the experience we can get from the platform and integrating it to create a new way of presenting to and interacting with the audience.
Microsoft Teams brings this whole new dynamic of presenting and using a wide range of social features—sharing links, creating polls, chatting with the audience—to keep viewers involved in the presentation.
3. Try something new.
Bob encourages users to experiment with different features to make your presentation more engaging. What more can you do with chats? If typical polls don’t work, how can you use them in a way where you’re making your audience engage with your content? Ultimately, trying new things is what’s going to make your virtual event as engaging as possible.
4. Have fun!
Naturally, the last of Bob’s advice is to have fun and enjoy the process as much as possible.
The Future of Hybrid Events
With all the success we have seen with digital events, what will happen then when we get back to doing live events?
Bob insists that the digital focus we have going right now is never going to change. It’s not just going to be an addition to our live events; it’s going to become a standard part of them. In fact, he believes it’s going to change the way we do destination-based live events in general—the digital core is going to be at the center of it all. Hybrid events will continue to evolve and be more articulate and better produced over time.
His final piece of advice? Take this time to learn and explore both creatively and strategically.
What’s New With Microsoft Teams Virtual Events?
Bob Bejan’s tips weren’t the only gems in the featured session. Senior Director of Microsoft Teams Marketing Lars Johnson delivered an engaging webinar while talking about webinars! Together with Sr Product Marketing Manager Christina Torok, he introduced new capabilities in Microsoft Teams that should deliver better virtual events and webinars with an easy setup.
Here’s a quick rundown of the features they went over:
- With a new scheduling option, hosts can now schedule setting up a registration page, put up custom questions for polls, or simply add some details. This feature was aimed at empowering hosts and presenters to get to know their audience better and make their content more relevant.
- The capability to mute your audience to avoid interruptions during presentations was mentioned.
- You can now link and share your webinar to your social network (like LinkedIn) to grow your user base via your audience.
- With polls, chats, and reactions, your viewers can now better engage with and share their feedback with you in the Presenter Mode.
- Reporting dashboards will be available after the webinar to let hosts track event participation. It shows a snapshot of attendance and how your audience engaged with the presentation.
- You can also now link your event to Dynamics 365 Marketing, where you can build your relationships with your attendees by sending email campaigns.
Microsoft also highlighted the fact that you can include up to 1,000 interactive members, while a maximum of 20,000 viewer attendees is being scaled up to roll out this month.
On top of all these new capabilities, Microsoft assures users that there’s no need for a separate webinar subscription, as this will all be available in E3 and business premium subscriptions.