At C&IT’s Association Forum yesterday (7 March), one of the main topics discussed was how international associations can engage their members from all over the globe, particularly on a tight budget. The Association of MBAs’ Leah Carter discussed a virtual careers fair run by the association in 2015, offering her tips on how to do it best.
- Make sure it works for your demographic
"We have a lot of younger, student members who are very active online," explained Carter. "So the idea of a virtual event really appealed to them. Perhaps we wouldn’t have run it for our older members."
- Send the information out as soon as possible
"Our provider who set up the online fair for us advised that we should send the information out to our exhibitors two weeks in advance. Looking back, that was nowhere near enough time. People are busy and new technologies can be complicated, we had exhibitors getting in touch with up the evening before the fair who hadn’t set up their virtual stalls yet and couldn’t work out how to. Give them as much time as possible.
- Expect conversations to be different online
"A number of our exhibitors were surprised at how quick online conversations went. Students would click on their stall; ask a question and then move on. You can expect natural, fluid conversations to develop online the same way they do in real life."
- Try and get more delegates to attend than you would in a real life situation
"Because conversations online are so much quicker, exhibitors do not need to spend as much time with attendees as they would were it a face to face meeting. This means you probably need three times the number of attendees as you would in a face to face event."
- Send out a guide in advance
"As virtual events are a fairly recent thing, we found that both the students and the exhibitors didn’t really know what to expect. In future we’d definitely send out a guide in advance with tips on how to get the most out of virtually attending the fair."
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