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Seven Tips for a Successful Online Recognition Event

Recognition looks a little different this year.  For the first time ever, many companies are choosing to postpone their ceremonies or opting for online events and banquets. Regardless of what your organization chooses, it is vital that those recognition moments are not forgotten. Recognition truly lifts the human spirit, and we’ve never needed some good old fashioned joy and optimism more than right now. Online events have a very different feel than in-person ceremonies, offering their own challenges and opportunities. If you choose to host an online recognition event, we’ve listed out seven tips to help make it one to remember.

Send out a more formal invite.

Our days are often filled with meetings, whether on the phone or via webinar. Distinguish your recognition event from the everyday hustle and bustle by creating a formal invitation. Ask your organization’s marketing department to create something special, or use a free online service such as to make your own. Sending the formal invitation adds a layer of difference and creates a memorable first impression for the upcoming event.

Choose a theme.

Themes not only add a sense of cohesiveness to an event but also help to make it more memorable as “the 70s banquet” instead of just “the online banquet.” This is especially vital if your organization usually has a theme. For smaller presentations, themes can be personal to the recipient, so have your attendees dress up in the honoree’s favorite sports team gear, or ask everyone to bring some dessert to the call.

Ask your employees to dress the part.

You wouldn’t go to the annual banquet in pajamas, would you? Take your at-home recognition with the same seriousness of an in-person event. If professional workwear is not your company’s style, consider these alternate ideas:

  • Ask everyone to dress up to a theme (the 1920s for the 2020s?). Styling your hair uniquely or popping on a hat before the call makes it even more fun.
  • Remind your team that they are a part of something bigger. Connect everyone on the live webinar by asking them to wear their company-branded gear.

Do a tech check before.

Nothing can bring you back to our current socially distanced reality faster than technological difficulties. Take the time to tech check all aspects of the event, whether it is recorded or via a live webinar. Go a step ahead by checking connections around the exact same time of the day to get a better sense of your system’s capabilities. For extra peace of mind, politely ask your family or roommates to be respectful of their data usage during the event to make sure they do not slow down your connection.

Plan out your words with meaning.

For many folks, words of recognition and praise are even more meaningful in person. With an online event, that in-person connection may be lessened if the words are not especially meaningful to compensate. Take a few moments in the days before the event to plan your speech, even asking other teammates to share a few words or a nice quote about the awardee as well.

Make it interactive.

Whether a quick award presentation or a full-length banquet, engage your viewers by keeping it interactive. Ask attendees to participate in sharing good old stories of the big winner’s early days. Play true or false trivia where attendees can turn off their video to indicate false, keeping it on to indicate true. Small interactions make a big difference when it comes to keeping your viewers engaged in the moment.

Incorporate a tangible element.

If there is a physical award, card, or gift element to the presentation, try to send that out to the recipient(s) before the meeting. Adding a simple note on the box such as “wait to open until Oct. 5th at 1:00” is a great way to share that moment of unboxing with your teammates, making it that much more special.

While recognition looks a little different these days, it doesn’t have to be any less meaningful and memorable. Choosing to offer online events keeps a sense of consistency in the lives of your colleagues while maintaining their health and safety. And as more and more employers are choosing to offer full-time remote positions, online events may very well be the next phase of recognition.

Need help with your virtual recognition event? Contact us to get started.

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