This year, we’ve all experienced a massive shift in business: the office cubicle turned into home office; live physical events turned virtual. And, for many of us, the shift has been full of learnings, showing us firsthand the hidden possibilities and opportunities of doing business in a different way, and likely the foundation of a new modus operandi.
This also applies to awards programs with live judging events. At Award Force, we’ve seen how possible it is to pivot these physical events to virtual, especially with an awards management software as your foundation.
And, as we’ve stepped into the virtual event space with our new Live Virtual Judging service, we can say with confidence: a virtual event can be even better, especially with a service like ours to ensure your event success.
Here are six reasons why a virtual judging event can offer more benefits than a physical judging event.
1. It can attract more participants and higher-calibre judges
Live events can be a barrier for both participants and judges if travel is required. Entrants might be discouraged by the cost and time associated with any required travel. And judges are often very busy people who might not be willing to commit the time and effort that travelling requires. This can be especially true for high calibre, sought-after judges.
With an online judging event, however, the barriers of travel and cost abate, and it’s easier to net both entrants and judges. All they have to do is log in from the comfort of their office or home. Your pool of prospect judges, especially eminent experts, has now widened! And your entrants – especially those who might have limited resources – are now available to compete on a level playing field.
2. It’s more comfortable for everyone
A big advantage of an online event is that everyone is fresh and rested — your judges, your entrants and you and your team!
Not having to deal with a change in time zones or strange hotel beds, a virtual event offers a respite from the stress of a physical event. When entrants attend a physical event, they are already likely to be stressed. Add to that the new environment of your judging venue, the number of people around, the sight of their competition — this can be a very draining experience that affects the entrants’ performance.
In a virtual event, participants can join remotely, comfortably waiting for their turn to participate. They can grab their favourite food from the fridge, lie down in silence, adjust the light of the room. No jetlag, no travel fatigue. No overwhelming movement and activity around them, no harsh light, no noisy hallways. A quiet, comfortable environment can result in a better performance or submission, allowing judges to see the entrant in their best light.
3. You’ll save time, money + resources
A physical event generally comes with extensive logistics: from finding a venue for your event to nailing down all the details for D-Day. Whether you take care of these logistics in-house or hire an agency, this component of your event planning is time-consuming and expensive.
You can bid that hustle goodbye. A virtual judging event allows you to focus on organising the logistics that matter most: the actual judging process. Invest your time on creating a smooth judging experience, considering the flow, timeline, breaks, rotation of judges, and other small details that will make a big difference.
And, the money you saved on event logistics can now be reallocated to net high-profile judges – an investment in your program’s brand and prestige.
4. You can record it easily
Physical events usually come with a team of photographers and videographers in charge of covering the event in its entirety. (And a hefty pricetag!)
When hosting a virtual judging event, you can choose to record everything in-house, in your videoconferencing software with the press of that red record button. Assign a person within your team whose only job is to record all the sessions.
And if you want to be sure that recordings are doubly secure, you can use two separate people to record every session and safely store them on a local computer(s) and on the cloud.
After the rush of the event, you’ll be delighted to come back to this gold mine of visual content, perfect for marketing your program for next season.
5. You’ll provide quality time to everyone
Using technology to run your virtual judging event comes with innovative possibilities to organise your virtual rooms in a way that you can give quality time to every participant.
Most video conferencing software allows you to run several meetings at the same time with breakout “rooms” or meetings. You can have a room for judging, a room for you and your team to discuss logistics and a room for greeting or briefing entrants and judges.
Tip! Add security measures to your video conferencing by creating passwords and waiting rooms so you can ensure your guests are who they say they are.
6. There’s still time for networking
Taking your judging event online doesn’t mean tossing away your awards ceremony or gala! If you move your judging online, you can still hold an actual physical event for the awards gala.
Make the ceremony all about the recognition, where an aura of good feelings and goodwill sets the perfect scene for networking. The stress of the competition has been removed, and now everyone can put on their fancy clothes and simply enjoy the party – and each other.
Taking your judging event online has a lot of surprising advantages, from saving time and money to making the experience more comfortable, time-efficient and accessible for all program participants. Net high-calibre judges and create a delightful experience for all your program participants, all to help you grow your brand and image in your industry.
Need help pivoting your judging event to virtual? Learn how we can help with our Live Virtual Judging service.