Authors Lee Deaner, Nick Zerby and Stanley Saint-Louis were sales trainers in the pharmaceutical industry in 2009 when the swine flu epidemic hit and salespeople could not attend live training sessions. The trio developed virtual training practices and protocols, formed a company, Leading Edge Training Solutions, and now are sharing their expertise with the public.
This invaluable book covers everything from what a facilitator of a virtual event should wear (nothing distracting) to how to encourage participants to interact and what technology works best in different situations. The authors underscore several universal mantras for event leaders, including: Don’t try to be a broadcaster or entertainer; never draw attention to technical glitches, and find someone else to oversee the technology. Although the Playbook’s main focus is on employee training, its lessons on pre-planning and rehearsing a virtual event’s content and setting up its technology can be used by anyone scheduling a Zoom meeting.
The writing is straightforward, and each of the six chapters ends with a summary and a QR Code readers can scan (plus a website address “for those who dislike QR codes”) to find “active content,” including supplemental videos, data tables, worksheets and technology updates.
The book has a few minor problems. It contains several first-person anecdotes but never identifies which of the three authors is telling the story. Perhaps because the authors wrote different chapters, information is often repeated and is sometimes contradictory. For example, the maximum number of participants in an interactive session is listed as 30, 35 or 40.
These are easily overlooked. The Virtual Events Playbook contains helpful tips for anyone leading or participating in virtual events—a number that’s bound to grow in the coming years. As the authors point out, the skills we are all learning during the pandemic may well become part of our permanent lives.
Also available as an ebook.