In 2020, we had a unique opportunity to fully explore the true power of modern technologies. Since the entire world went into lockdown, numerous live events were canceled, including conferences, concerts and seminars.
Luckily, with the help of modern technology, it wasn’t long before these events found their space in the online world. This shift in virtual events didn’t only provide an opportunity to still stick to the schedule. Instead, it even provided an opportunity for a far greater reach, the one that could even expand to international audiences as well.
However, we also had the opportunity to see that hosting a virtual event can be quite tricky. There are numerous factors you will need to consider when hosting an event online.
That being said, here are some of the best tips to keep in mind when hosting a virtual event that will enable you to make sure everything goes smoothly and according to plan.
1. Set clear goals
Before you start looking for the right platform to host your event and get down to the event promotion, you must first determine your goals.
Ask yourself why you are hosting the event and how your audience will benefit from it.
By setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals, you will be able to ensure you stay on the right track. Otherwise, you run the risk of hosting an event that simply seems too clumsy, unprofessional and disjointed.
2. Determine how long will it last
Another thing you will need to take care of upfront is determining how long the event will last. This will depend on the type of the event itself, the number of speakers and participants, the topic that will be discussed and whether or not you plan on including Q&A.
Keep in mind that if your event stretches out too much, you will run the risk of losing some of your audience’s attention. So, make sure you keep it concise and try to determine the length upfront.
3. Choose the right time
Additionally, you will also need to consider when your virtual event will be held.
Since you want to make sure that all of your attendees can make it to your virtual event, you will need to choose the time carefully. Moreover, if you are hosting a virtual event internationally, make sure you account for different time zones as well.
Do keep in mind that different countries have various holiday schedules, which will be yet another factor you will need to consider.
4. Promote your event
Of course, if you want your virtual event to be a success, you need to make sure you market it properly. Otherwise, you simply can’t expect people to show up.
Aside from promoting your event, you also need to make sure you enable your audience to sign up for it. A great web design company from NY can help you create sign-up forms and special CTA buttons so that anyone interested in attending can easily apply.
5. Create a schedule
Be it offline or virtual, every event needs to have a clear schedule. And even though you shouldn’t try to stick to the schedule blindly, it is still wise to have some sort of a timeline in place. That way, you can make sure that everything goes over smoothly, everyone has an equal chance to participate and things don’t get out of hand.
Planning ahead is a great way to bring more structure into your virtual event, so you should also encourage other participants to structure and organize the time they are given.
6. Make sure you have moderators
Every event, be it virtual or offline, needs to have moderators. And while things are a bit different when offline events are concerned, you simply can’t hold a virtual event and expect everything to go smoothly without moderators.
The fact of the matter is that not all people are polite or professional, so you need to make sure you have a team of people ready to act in case you need them to.
You should even consider finding experts that can create custom software for your moderators. For instance, a New York web design company offers custom software development services you may find quite useful.
7. Choose the platform carefully
Choosing a platform on which you will host your virtual event is extremely important. Depending on the size of the audience you expect to attend your event, there will be plenty of options to choose from.
Additionally, do keep in mind that, although there are numerous free options to choose from, paying for a secure platform is a great idea.
So, don’t shy away from making such an investment, as paid alternatives sometimes provide far better service and performance.
8. Brief your speakers
Next, make sure you brief your speakers. The speakers you decide to include in your virtual event may have some experience speaking at live events.
But since virtual events don’t have the same natural flow as the live ones do, you may have to remind and encourage your speakers to prepare and practice for your virtual event upfront.
9. Engage your audience
If you’re only talking at your audience instead of with your audience, you can easily expect that your audience will become bored at some point. And since it is far easier to log off of a virtual event than it is to leave a traditional one, you need to make sure you engage with your audience.
Encourage them to ask questions and participate in conversations. Also, feel free to ask them questions and encourage them to give their opinions.
10. Expect technical challenges
Even though modern technology is constantly advancing and evolving, that doesn’t mean that it is perfect.
As you probably already know, hiccups and technical challenges can happen quite often. So, make sure you keep this in mind when organizing your virtual event.
Make sure you have a contingency plan in place in case anything happens to go wrong, and even consider rescheduling your event – and informing all of the participants – ahead of time in case you need to move it due to unexpected technical difficulties.
Once the event comes to a close, your job still won’t be done. Instead, you should make sure you debrief your team and see if they had any challenges during the event.
But identifying everything that worked – as well as everything that didn’t – you will be able to better prepare yourself for any future virtual events.
12. Send out post-event follow up
In the end, make sure you send out post-event follow-ups to all your participants, ask for their feedback and inform them where they can find the recordings of the event.
That way, you will get another influx of invaluable data that will be of huge help for any future event planning.
13. To sum up
Simply put, no two virtual events are the same. The vibe and the flow of the event will greatly depend on the topic that’s being discussed, the participants you choose to include, as well as your audience.
But by following these tips, you will ensure that you have properly prepared yourself – and other participants – for your virtual event, which will enable you to stay on top of the situation at all times.