This online format is similar to what employees would have experienced in a typical office environment or what conference attendees would have expected during an in-person event before COVID. Clients have referred to them as: Coffee Chats, Hallway Hangouts, Watercooler Breaks/Sessions, Virtual Meetups.com Events.
This type of event is used to bring different groups of people e.g. departments, teams, registrants together to network and get to know each other.
Clients design a simple 4-5 page social event with introductions, basic questions and open-ended discussion rooms where people who have received the join link can connect and meet new people at any time, 24/7, either during scheduled times or spontaneously, instantly. And given how fast and easy the instructional prompts or conversation design can be changed or customized, we’ve seen clients host multiple sessions with a wide range of different topics or themes so that their audience has a variety of conversations to participate in at any given time.
The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is a volunteer-led, staff-managed association with a focus on membership. ILTA’s aim is to educate and connect peers in the legal sector through live local, national, and global events. With a strong focus on technology, ILTA’s offerings support professionals of every stripe in law firms, corporate, and government legal operations.
ILTA generates much of its revenue from hosting events for its members, which have traditionally been held live in-person. When the pandemic hit, all of their events suddenly had to be flipped to virtual. Based on focus groups of association members, the ILTA team knew that it was crucial for their virtual events to have “face to face networking opportunities.”
There are many options for broadcasting or presenting from the “main stage” during live events, but providing occasions for real networking and meaningful, enjoyable conversations in a virtual environment is much more elusive.
“We wanted to change from an in-person event to a virtual one but still keep that in-person feeling.”
Providing unique, easy, virtual, interactive networking opportunities was a key requirement for ILTA in selecting a vendor to power their virtual events.
The ILTA team was figuring out how to move their largest in-person event of the year—the five-day ILTA>ON 2020—fully online when they were invited to attend a virtual roundtable on VoiceVoice. Dawn says that participating in the roundtables showed the ILTA team how the VoiceVoice platform could be used for networking: “We saw the potential for this technology and what it could do for our association.”
VoiceVoice is a new way to build community by connecting like-minded people in guided, face to face, live video conversations, without the host needing to attend each event. The host records (once) the facilitation elements for a purposeful conversation (such as agenda, video guidance, and activities). The platform facilitates up to millions of live small groups with the recorded guidance and allows those groups to connect, discuss, navigate together, and move into action at their own pace, on their own schedule.
“We were on a breakfast chat—literally just a group text about what we were having for breakfast. And someone asked why can’t we sit down and have breakfast with each other and talk about our bacon (our group is big on bacon). It sparked the idea to still have breakfast together, still have watercooler chats together, still have lunch together and the VoiceVoice platform provided that opportunity for us.”
ILTA used VoiceVoice to provide networking, engagement, and peer-led conversation in their 2020 ILTA>ON virtual event.
The ILTA team created social events on the platform, such as “Hallway Hangouts” and “Watercooler Sessions,” with simple discussion prompts—group introductions, a “get to know you” question, followed by an open-ended “let’s just talk” segment—and invited association members to join and connect, meet new people either during pre-scheduled sessions or spontaneously, instantly, at any time, 24/7.
In total, the ILTA team created around 40 different conversations or events.
“One of the most important aspects of hosting on VoiceVoice- we could offer events in different time zones and not have to staff them all; otherwise, we would have had to cut the number of sessions in half.”
Tracie McCray, Digital Strategist for the Service Delivery Team at ILTA says:
“Like a lot of organizations, we are operating with a reduced staff due to the pandemic. Being able to set everything up on the VoiceVoice platform weeks in advance and then just having it run- that ‘set-and-forget-it’ was key for making this work.”
The VoiceVoice platform helped make ILTA>ON successful—conference participants really enjoyed being able to interact as close to face to face as possible.
The ILTA Service Delivery team received additional positive feedback from members who participated in the events hosted on VoiceVoice:
“I really enjoyed the randomly grouped chats in VoiceVoice. It was a great way to meet people I never would have met.”
“The VoiceVoice sessions were a huge success as a substitute for in-person networking.”
"We should have more of these conversations and follow-up to make sure we are meeting new peers and forging new relationships while virtual."
“We did a really neat thing—very successfully pivoting to virtual events. Our community wanted to meet face to face and we made that happen. They missed seeing each other and the VoiceVoice platform let them see each other in groups of up to nine people—they really enjoyed that. And now we’ll be exploring the platform and incorporating it into our programming for the rest of the year.”
“We're really excited about the fact that we were asked to essentially change the entire structure of the continent and the globe with no money, and VoiceVoice made a great option for us.”
“It was so easy to jump into a small group and randomly meet new peers in the legal industry”
“After being in Zoom calls from 7 am in the morning till 10:15 pm in the evening, I can attest it was a very long day. However, the day exceeded my expectations. There were so many engaging presentations, in formats ranging from roundtables, ask the experts, and panel sessions. In addition, there were water cooler and hallway conversations - enabled by VoiceVoice. I had more conversations and met more new people than I probably would have had at an in-person conference”
“It was great to run into so many friends and make new ones in the watercooler chats! Like everyone else I really missed seeing everyone face to face so it was great to have a place to do that at the virtual event. Since you dropped into a random room, I met some new friends that I’ll be looking for in person next year at ILTACON 2021.”
See for yourself how VoiceVoice can help you engage your audience to build
real community around your brand and spur action for your cause.