Virtual events have been a new frontier the past few years; but they’re here to stay. And we’re glad, for many reasons, but one that stands out among the rest is that virtual and hybrid events level the playing field.
Virtual events brought to attention how previously, in the world of in-person events, we weren’t meeting everyone’s needs. Now, we have the opportunity to do so.
Our two biggest, simplest tips for leveling the playing field in your events include:
- Activate captions
Did you know that 1 in 8 people over the age of 12 experience hearing loss in both ears? Captions are an important part of any event to boost accessibility and many platforms now have a captioning feature.
Even for those without hearing loss, watching with captions can increase understanding, depending on a person’s learning style and preference for filtering through information.
- Consider noise and lighting
Low sensory events can make any event enjoyable—especially when loud noises and bright, strobing lights can be overstimulating.
When you’re planning your next event, keep in mind the kinds of noises and lights you’re intending on using. Is a party atmosphere your goal? That’s great; just make sure it’s the kind of party that everyone will feel comfortable attending.
Virtual and/or hybrid events really allow people to participate in sensory-friendly environments—like the attendee’s own home or quiet rooms at events.
Case Study: Host Matt Lorch
While these tips are a great start, we are proud to share Matt Lorch’s story on how to practically implement these events.
As he hosts events frequently, Auctioneer, MC, and TV host Matt Lorch is always looking to make events accessible. We asked him how he approaches each event with accessibility in mind.
“I think it starts with a conversation,” Matt shares. “Discussing the importance of inclusion for people of all abilities. When it comes to events, that’s making sure everyone who wants to attend can attend in some form or fashion.”
Matt elaborated, “It also requires supporting people in the room or at home so they feel included. That could mean bringing on a sign language interpreter or adding a live streaming component for those who cannot join the event in-person.”
Accessibility is important, from Matt’s point of view, to embrace in all events. “As the father of a child living with intellectual and physical disabilities, I try to be a champion for other families like mine. These events celebrate positive things happening in our community. Everyone should have a seat at the table for those important and meaningful moments!”
While it’s easy to agree accessibility is important, there may be some elements needed that are surprising to many event attendees. “It may be surprising to learn that adding accessibility components doesn’t detract from the event,” Matt says, “but rather sends a positive message to your community. Often these are inexpensive additions that promote a positive message for your organization!”
Matt worked with Live Oak AV and Synchronicity Events during an event for PROVAIL, an organization that serves people in King County with disabilities. “Live Oak AV made sure everyone participating at home felt included and supported,” Matt shares. “Live Oak AV also helped us raise money for kids with special needs and their families during an event for Wonderland Child and Family Services. In that event, we did a live talk back with Seahawks legend Curt Warner, who discussed raising twin boys with autism… the feedback on the level of access provided for people of all abilities was remarkable!”
Safe spaces aren’t just COVID-safe. They’re emotionally safe, too.
Creating a safe, fun, and successful event is our priority every time we step into the Live Oak AV Livestream Studio.
Book your next virtual or hybrid event with us. Contact us today.