The golden age of webinars

Whether we like it or not, we are currently in the golden age of online events. There are many tools that help with producing things online, but there is also a lot of competition for audience and people are getting tired of sitting at their computers. Latest of FinnAgora’s online productions was a webinar about the digitalization in the food service industry that we organized  at the end of February.

What we’ve learned from the webinars that we’ve had so far is that you really benefit from having collaborators. It is possible to create one with a small team, but with so many online events, finding your audience is not easy. Having collaborators means you can borrow their expertise, but also their networks. This time our moderator Attila Debreczeni and László Bacsa, a consultant from Demola Hungary, really helped us with the promotion of the event. Still, we didn’t get a huge turn-out, and we are hoping we will reach more people by releasing the webinar recording with Hungarian subtitles. Recording a webinar is nice also because you can edit out any technical difficulties, and the result is more smooth-running and concise than an online event could ever be in real-time.

Based on my limited experience of throwing live seminars with my student organization back at my university (our greatest hit was about Harry Potter), webinars and seminars have surprisingly many little things that you have to approach differently, and they are pretty much all IT-related, so the pandemic has been a steep learning curve in this way as well. You have to take into consideration your speakers’, moderator’s and audience’s level of IT skills, decide how to facilitate a Q&A on a video call and how to run the signing up process so that it’s as approachable as possible, pick the right platform for your needs, and so on.

That being said, online events can be quite straight-forward to produce and they are truly a saviour for event producers during these times. They also provide some perks compared to live events, mainly the fact that you can easily attend from different cities and even countries. This is a great equalizing factor between big cities and rural areas, and something to think about also when the day comes that we can gather in the same room again. But I do eagerly wait for that day – the level of commitment and participation in a live event is something that is very difficult to duplicate online.

Written by Salla Hiltunen