October 2020 Member Call: Adapting Immersive Experiences to a Virtual Setting

We welcomed staff from Leadership Rhode Island as special guest presenters for our recent October member call. The discussion centered on how they pivoted their core program quickly to a virtual format for their programs.

Best practices for pivoting:

  • Thinking about how you can infuse heart and feeling into this new virtual format is critical to making a successful pivot.
  • Livestreaming their graduation ceremony turned out to be their largest graduation audience ever.
  • They got creative with Zoom for their virtual chamber meetings – utilizing actual chamber backgrounds to make for more authentic scenery.
  • They utilized sounds and video that would normally be heard at the state chambers, which created an immersive feeling for participants.
  • By using Zoom buttons for voting, they were able to create an interactive experience for participants. This is a great way to increase participant engagement.
  • They incorporated a hybrid strategy for their typical scavenger hunt – utilizing a game show format for those who could not take part in in-person gatherings.

Leadership Rhode Island’s design strategy:

  • Purpose-driven: Refocusing on what their purpose is for the events was key – thinking about how they wanted people to think, feel, and do.
  • Human-centered: Focusing on the “why” – they kept coming back to why their participants signed up for this program initially, and let that lead their efforts.
  • User experience oriented: Keep in mind the end-user experience. Taking the time to test technical aspects and going through accessibility options is also really important.
  • Emotionally engaging: Creating emotional engagement was also key in creating their program’s pivot for their participants’ engagement.
  • Relevant and Applicable: Most of what you learn is from experiences. They wanted people to learn from each other and through the experience of connecting with others. Allow users to have a de-brief at the end of the experience to discuss key takeaways.

Overcoming obstacles:

  • Convincing people that this new virtual pivot would work was a consideration.
  • They gathered feedback from participants and they could tell that their feedback was being used. This created a level of trust with participants.
  • Being creative in their approach was key. They kept trying new ideas to see what would work and revisiting if needed.
  • Flexibility in using tools is also a consideration. For example, email may not be the ideal way to communicate with participants. Find out what platforms they are on and use those instead or in addition to.

If you would like more information about this call, future member events or Conveners.org membership, we invite you to contact our Program Catalyst, Sarah Sterling, to schedule a time to speak – sarah@conveners.org.