Best practice for communicating with delegates during online conferences

I’m taking part in a panel at the European Consortium for Political Research tomorrow and I’ve been really impressed by their e-mail updates to participants. In effect there’s a daily newsletter with the following features:

  • Invitations to share through a hashtag or six themed walls on their website
  • Detailed guidance about how to take part, including Zoom skills and ground rules
  • Code of conduct and notice about the events being recorded
  • Highlighted events each day, including networking and social events
  • Prominent links to the conference website

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how online events can be made into happenings. What makes them feel like events? There’s a difficult balance to strike between over-communicating and under-communicating but the regularity, variety and professionalism of the ECPR e-mail really conveys a sense of a happening in which delegates are participating.

They also have a messaging app built into the conference website! I’d be really curious about how effective this proves to be. In general I’m sceptical about building a layer of messaging functionality into other services rather than facilitating the existing functionality people have access to but having a ‘discover’ button on the conference website is a really nice touch.