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The Upside of Virtual Keynotes

Live events can have drawbacks, from technical glitches to less-than-charismatic CEOs. Virtual and hybrid events let planners experiment to improve the most important presentations.

This Fast Company article outlines some of the interesting ways that Apple transitioned its main product launch and opening keynote for its first virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, held this week.

The successful event—Apple’s stock rose by four percent, or $50 billion, after it took place on Monday—has some ideas for meeting planners to steal, not just for virtual events during the travel lockdown but also for future in-person events.

  1. Film some parts of the presentation in advance. If your CEO is giving unwelcome financial news it is important to get the tone right—especially as the press may be reporting on it. Pre-recorded announcements rule out the risk of live flubs.
  2. Alternate locations. You can livestream from any location with the right lighting and camera equipment. Delivering bad news from a stage set with balloons for a product launch is a bad look. Apple used multiple locations, from the Steve Jobs Theater to outside areas around its main campus which helped keep online audiences interested and provided appropriate settings for each message.
  3. Include diverse speakers. Live presentations at Apple and many other firms often mean white male presenters. Now that audiences are used to hybrid or fully virtual events, the new normal can mean incorporating more diverse speakers from chapters or branch offices around the world, without the difficulty of flying them in.
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