I received word today of a fascinating new training and certification program being offered by The Virtual Edge Institute. They say they plan to start a course in June that will teach “the skills and strategies necessary to successfully plan, build, design and execute a virtual events program that achieves business objectives.”
This should be an enormous help for event specialists to expand their knowledge from the traditional aspects of physical event organization into the digital age. Understanding all the aspects of setting up branding and venue design, how to describe and sell space to exhibitors, how to plan for and build a timetable for deliverables from suppliers and participants, and a hundred other things are all different from the techniques and best practices used for physical events.
This is obviously geared more towards virtual events that use avatar-driven analogies to physical venues. That technology is still in the early adoption phase, with only a few major vendors in the space. But it is definitely going to grow, and it overlaps my area of focus with interactive webinars and webcasts becoming the common information delivery mechanism (replacing speeches in auditorium rooms and breakout rooms as physical events would have).
I have considered the idea of offering a similar certification program for virtual presenters, as there are techniques and skills that are different from the traditional stage presentation training many of us have had (or have learned through trial and error). The problem is that while there is a well known and recognized job description as an events specialist, where certification could help get you a job or could show your continued skills development with an existing employer, the corresponding job function is awfully hard to find for speakers and presenters. Relatively few companies have employees hired as official presenters and spokespeople. Random employees get called upon to speak on their area of expertise, and having certification in presentation techniques is unlikely to prove tangibly valuable beyond the (hopefully obvious) improvement in their own skills.
What do you think? Would virtual presentation certification be helpful to you or to your company?