Face to face events are great as they allow patient communities to keep in touch, stay connected and network with each other, whilst often offering opportunities for new learning and training. However running events virtually also has a lot of benefits and they can be a great way to reach a wider audience as they are often easier for individuals to access and make time for as many may not be able to travel to or take time off for face to face events. Running virtual events is also often cheaper than organising and running face to face events which is often an important consideration, especially for smaller organisations with less financial capacity. In addition to this it can also be easier to organise virtual events and takes less time to do so than face to face events, this means they are often good for if you need to run an event at short notice or you want to run smaller and less intensive events. Lastly, as virtual events do not require the speakers to be in the room they allow for extra collaboration with speakers who may not be able to travel to speak at face to face events or who may live in other countries or regions. This means you may be able to secure speakers for online events who you may never be able to get for face to face events.
One of the key aspects that makes face to face training great is the capacity they bring for extra networking and face to face contact between individuals. This can be more difficult in a virtual environment as individuals cannot chat one to one easily in a virtual room with others present. If you want to include these face to face elements in your online event, some care has to be taken in designing the event to incorporate these features in. It can be useful to use breakout rooms to do so or encourage people to share their details in the chat box, if they feel comfortable doing so, so that they can continue to network and converse after the event is over.
Another thing to consider is the length of your event, it is likely that attendees will have a longer attendance span in a face to face event as being in a room can be more engaging. It is important to take this into account when planning online events to ensure that attendees stay engaged throughout and there are adequate times for breaks if needed.