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Virtual Unconferences + Why They Are More Engaging for Attendees

An illustration of a woman attending a virtual unconference
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Picture this—you’re in a conference room filled with attendees. You attend a boring introductory speech and panel discussions where speakers are more focused on listening to each other than interacting with the audience. Presentations that either confuse or don’t add anything new. Sound familiar? (Do you even remember when we attended conferences in-person?!?) If you say you’ve never attended a conference like the one just described, well, you’re one of the lucky few. 

Most conferences, though- whether in-person or online -function on a “coffee-presentation-panel discussion-coffee-repeat” schedule. And honestly, don’t most of us attend conferences for the corridor talk or coffee break networking or connections made over happy hours? Does it even make sense to spend most of the day in dimly lit rooms listening to one person speak at the audience? 

That’s where unconferences come in. 

So, What Exactly is an “Unconference”? 

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Taxonomy of Virtual Event Formats

taxonomy of virtual event formats
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Which types of events have been moving to virtual environments?

As soon as COVID forced the world to socially distance, every live event format that was previously being done in person pivoted (or at least attempted) to being fully virtual. Facilitators, event planners, field marketers, trainers, grassroots mobilizers and activists, educators- every role, industry, profession, community- had two choices: i.) postpone indefinitely/cancel their in-person event; OR, ii.) quickly adjust/adapt/pivot the event to online.

To help understand the main types of virtual event formats that companies, organizations, brands are hosting, we looked at the broad event types that we’ve seen and organized them by features, both core and specialized.

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