Knowledge sharing is where true engagement ignites your audience

For decades, physical face‐to‐face events have been the hub of knowledge sharing, a place where top industry experts come together to collaborate and communicate their insight.

However, the COVID‐19 crisis has forced us all to rethink the way we do events. Without physical person‐to‐person interaction, how best can you share expert knowledge in an engaging way?

For some event organisers the knee‐jerk reaction has been to use event tech whereby they host the physical event digitally making it a virtual event. The problem here is you cannot replicate a live experience online.

Charles Thiede.

Charles Thiede.

At an event you are fully immersed in activities, presentations and keynote speeches. Online, you are exposed to all the little distractions ‐ family, pets and the 40 other tabs you have open on your internet browser.

Easily distracted

You’re likely only engaged for a quarter of that hour-long presentation. The opportunity for inspiration and knowledge sharing is lost. So, by just using event tech, you could be doing a disservice to your product, delegates and speakers.

For smart entrepreneurs, rather than freezing in the face of COVID‐19 and continuing to try and use the traditional events model, they see today an opportunity to question the purpose of the event.

An online event community doesn’t have to be a consolation prize

They ask, “What is it that we are trying to achieve with the event? How can we now deliver it in a different format?” The answer is an online network which serves the community through on-demand content that can be shared, not just over a two or three‐day period, but all year round.

Exciting learning spaces

Organisations need to make the transition from a live experience to an event community, using video to create on‐demand versions of the agenda, with curated learning spaces for people to interact and engage with each other.

What is the key benefit of building an online events community? Engagement. This is through enabling members to read editorial material prior to viewings to prime them for video presentations.

It’s about allowing people to join the conversation from all over the world regardless of time or physical constraints. Or being able to see exactly who is interested in what content, making more effective connections without the awkward introductions or silences.

It is also about delivering content on a rock‐solid platform that has top-quality live streaming. This is where the value lies for every organisation that has expertise at its core function.

Community is key

Use online platform that link experts with interested members for targeted discussions, complemented by content that improves the baseline knowledge of a community, to help every member progress in their interests, research and careers.

This is what true engagement delivers. An online event community doesn’t have to be a consolation prize. It can become the new normal, the new way to share knowledge in an absorbing way that makes best use of people’s time and attention‐span.

Charles Thiede is CEO and co‐founder of London-based Zapnito, a knowledge‐sharing and expert community platform built to help brands deliver expertise on‐demand and build sustainable communities.