That image above is my brand-new newsletter header — a change from my previous header, which showed me presenting at a flip chart at the front of the room in an in-person workshop.
After a lot of soul-searching, I’ve decided to plant a flag in the ground and declare myself a virtual experience designer.
Why now, you may ask, just as the world is starting to open up again?
Well, here’s the thing: at the start of the pandemic, when everything shut down, everyone went virtual because we had to.
We had no choice, and so businesses either adapted or died.
Today, we do have a choice. And yet virtual is not going to disappear.
And I say that’s a good thing.
Virtual meetings, events, onboardings and trainings existed before the pandemic, and although people will, of course, be getting together in-person again (hallelujah!), there are lots of places where virtual is, frankly, the better option.
👍🏻Virtual saves time.
👍🏻Virtual saves money.
👍🏻Virtual saves carbon footprint.
Virtual events give people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate, due to location or finances, or accessibility issues, the means to do so.
And much as we miss hugs and walking across a campus together at conferences, few people miss dealing with airport security and packing and forgetting those all-important supplies, and jet lag and lousy meals, and missing our family and pets when we’re out of town, and all the prep we have to do to leave, and all the stress when we get back, and, and, and… !
So yeah, there are a lot of advantages to virtual!
But there’s a problem: a lot of virtual trainings and events are, to put it bluntly, really sucky.
Most people have suffered through a boring virtual training or event.
You either wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible, or you looked for excuses to multi-task.
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Virtual can be as good as — and even better than — in-person!
It does take creativity, good design and preparation.
This happens to be a sweet spot where I’m ideally positioned to help. 😊
I came to the realization that I might want to focus on virtual experience design for companies recently, when I worked with a company to design a virtual instructor-led training to help them onboard new customers.
And then I started getting more inquiries about virtual onboarding…
Hmmm… I put two and two together, and it just started to make sense!
Now, last summer and fall I was offering workshops on how to lead Non-Boring Virtual Meetings, and I’d been designing and facilitating virtual trainings for clients, so making fun, interactive virtual experiences was not new.
But it’s been a bit of a paradigm shift for me to think of myself as a virtual experience designer — to wholeheartedly embrace virtual — as opposed to a facilitator/trainer who happens to work virtually temporarily.
The more I spoke with people, the more I saw a need out there that I can help with.
Why make virtual trainings something people have to tolerate, when they can be something people actually look forward to?
Imagine if your company’s onboarding was so fun that everyone talked about it?
Imagine if, instead of pitying new hires for having to go through onboarding trainings, people envied them, because they knew what an amazing experience they were having?
That’s what I’m talking about. That’s what virtual CAN be.
Ready to transform your virtual events / trainings / onboardings into creative, interactive, playful experiences that participants rave about? Let’s talk!