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As part of our “Volunteering in the home office” series of topics in cooperation with the Haus des Stiftens, we present four blog posts on the topics of communication , digital cooperation, digital events and digital team building. Are you wondering how to work together successfully online with the right theory, technique and experience? Then you’ve come to the right place with this series of topics.
This blog post deals with the topic of digital events. Are you wondering how you can increase interaction online and create space for exchange? How to plan a digital event together as a team? Or how to best deal with technical challenges? Then this post is just right for you.
Team building, organizational management or fundraising?
There are different digital events, which we describe in more detail in this blog post. In addition to networking, information events and activating events, there are the areas of team building and organizational management.
Digital events, in which team building is to be promoted, give you the opportunity to network, get to know and exchange ideas. Please have a look at our article on team building. Digital events for organizational management serve to manage and organize the organization. This can be, for example, club meetings, annual general meetings or small team meetings.
Note: Fundraising is not necessarily a separate type of event. It should be seen more as an add-on that can be included in all events.
Networking – conferences and networking meetings
Networking is about presenting your organization, exchanging ideas and creating connections. A classic example of this is conferences. However, it is important to realize that these meetings are more than a video conference. Because when you go to a conference, you don’t just have the podium, but much more, what you experience. In addition to workshops, you get to know other people, exchange ideas and present your organizations. Keep this in mind for your offline events too!
Our tool tip: Gather.Town, Wonder.me
The information events
As the name suggests, information events impart information and knowledge. This can happen within an organization or with external partners.
Panel discussions are the classic among information events. If this is your first time running this type of digital event, this is the safest and easiest way. This is also a good way of exchanging information online. Only the speakers of the discussion have their camera and microphone on. All others are automatically or on request muted and switched on without a camera. Participants can ask questions via chat or other tools. This allows you as a moderator to filter in advance which questions are relevant and which questions do not fit into the discussion at the moment.
The discussion is led by a moderator and is divided into the following steps:
- Opening statement
- Discussion Questions
- Audience questions
- Closing statement
Online panel discussions should have a maximum length of 60-90 minutes. It is a good idea to record this event and then publish it. For ideas for video conferencing systems, please have a look at our article on communication!
Our tool tip: Mentimeter
Confidently in the limelight
As a moderator you can be brave! At the same time, a friendly demeanor is important. You shouldn’t introduce anyone. Critical questions can be discussed well in advance to find out whether they are okay for everyone involved. As a moderator, speak slowly and clearly so that everyone can understand you (even with a poor internet connection).
Icebreaker questions are particularly good for activating the team online. You can also approach individual participants before the digital event and ask them to actively participate in the icebreaker questions. This motivates others to get involved as well.
In case of technical difficulties you have to keep calm! These can happen despite intensive preparation, even if tests and trials have been carried out beforehand. The most professional behavior in these moments is to name the technical difficulties and to fix them calmly.
Our tips: Meet with your guests before the digital event to get to know them and build a connection. Prepare the content of the first 3-5 minutes to get an easy introduction to the event.
The Fishbowl Discussion
The fishbowl discussion also originally comes from the offline world. But it can also be easily transferred to the online world. In this form of discussion there is the possibility that people from the audience can actively participate. You need a strong team to implement this method. In addition to the moderator, technical support is also required.
The experts explain their point of view on a topic and there are 1-2 open seats in the panel for listeners. You can apply to be included in this panel. Only the people in the panel have their cameras and microphones on. Technical support can connect the people who report and the participants are usually given 5-6 minutes to submit their request. For this, the meeting host needs advanced technical functions. He*she can add the audience and revoke these rights again.
Note: Make sure you have the right meeting settings before you start!
Our tip: start 15 minutes earlier to ensure a comfortable arrival. You can also provide a private break-out room for your experts so that they can arrive in peace.
Activating events – Digitize offline opportunities
Activating events such as workshops, interactive sessions or challenges are a suitable way to achieve active participation within the digital events.
In order to carry out activating events online, it is always valuable to implement or integrate offline activities online. This can be possible, for example, through a cooking show, sports units, handicraft instructions or readings.
Our tip: To promote connections between your members, send out the results or organize an exhibition of them.
One World Cafe
This event also comes from the offline world and uses the swarm intelligence of your participants. With a virtual white board, different discussion tables with specific questions are provided. Breakout sessions or different video conference rooms are set up according to the tables. Here the participants can exchange ideas. You can switch between these rooms/tables independently and the results of the rooms are recorded on the shared whiteboard. At the end there is a final presentation in the plenum.
Note: set up a chat for technical support and prepare your whiteboard well.
Our tip: Send the participants a “game board” beforehand so that they can get to know the technique and try it out. Plan (moving) breaks and allow enough time for the participants to discuss in a relaxed manner.
Our tool tip: Miro, JamBoard, WBO Whiteboard, Freehand
The process of decision making
In order to make a decision, there are different steps that already take place before the selection.
In order to find a decision, it first needs the announcement. In this step you communicate that a decision should/must be made.
After that, alternatives are explored and research is carried out into what other options there are. This is perfect for discussions and brainstorming within the team.
Then you choose what will ultimately be chosen.
Finally, the decision made is implemented.
The more difficult a question is, the more difficult it will be to answer it. Your members must have the chance to think about it before the digital meeting. As a result, everyone can make their own decisions and determine the atmosphere in which they make this decision.
Note: A decision does not only consist of the actual selection. The whole decision-making process has to be considered, which is particularly important when working online.
Our tip: Provide suitable platforms for the individual steps!
Conducting online elections
There are several ways to hold elections online. You can do it in the classic way via postal votes or by e-mail. Or the elections are conducted during an online or hybrid event.
The open choice
As in the usual offline elections, you can also vote openly online. Many conference software offer online buttons to vote on your decision. In addition, there is of course the possibility to vote by show of hands. This works well with thumbs up/down or with colorful voting cards.
The so-called Fist to Five method is another way to vote. It offers more variation than yes/no answers. In addition to agreeing or rejecting a suggestion, you can use this method to communicate directly how and within what framework you can participate.
Minutes are a good way to back up the results of such voting. Another option would be to take screenshots, but of course this is only possible with the consent of the participants.
The secret choice
Like the open election, the secret election can also be transferred to the offline world. Before you plan a secret election online, however, you must consider the following things:
- Do you need the results live or not?
- What happens to the members who cannot be present?
- Which survey tools do you want to use?
- What other tools would you like to use?
The choice via email
If you want to hold a vote via email, it is important that you set a fixed voting period. In addition, the participants must be given enough time to read, understand and answer the mail. Provides evidence of the outcomes of the decision-making process. In this way, all participants have the same level of knowledge. Don’t forget to include the link to vote in your email and provide a contact address in case of technical difficulties.
Online voting tools
Our tool tip: abmessen.online, votesup.eu, Polyas
The strategy – planning online events as a team
Events are teamwork. Also in the online world there are many different people behind such digital events. Whether as a moderator, technical support, or timekeeper. Good task management according to your work structure makes it easier for you to carry it out. A chat group for the organizers can be used to make short-term arrangements and support.
Each participating person in your team has different needs. Remember that as a team you want to communicate, collaborate, exchange ideas and motivate each other!
For joint event management, it is important to see these events as a sense of achievement, because your team can grow with such joint planning. Connect after the event and celebrate this achievement! Be proud of what you have achieved.