When you look at a virtual event from a distance it seems much easier than the in-person alternative. You don’t have to worry about logistic issues like travel or booking a venue, and hey, that’s all true!
Running a successful virtual event is a much more daunting task than it may seem, however, and it comes with it’s own set of challenges you may not have considered. Before you start ramping up your next virtual meet-up, read through our list below to make sure all your bases are covered:
Realize you can’t recreate the experience of an in-person event.
Here are some key differences between building event engagement in person and through a virtual event. Connecting virtually, you’ll have to deal with lower attention spans as well as the difficulty of not being able to engage in spontaneous conversation with other event goers.
Rather than trying to replicate your in-person experiences, try to keep your featured events shorter and more to the point. After each speaker, consider offering virtual break-out rooms for participants to chat in.
Another great way to keep your attendees attention is to switch up the flow of content. Too many back to back presentations will have your group wanting to hit the snooze button! We suggest mixing up the style of presentations: talking heads, slide shows, video clips (the more personal the better!) music, new corporate commercial clips and don’t forget the washroom or snack breaks!
For breakouts- we suggest having some unexpected ones as well as traditional business content discussions. Why not break out into an end of conference mixology or wine tasting class, yoga, painting class, karaoke or a game – all with professional instructors to keep things fun!
Get a host.
Hosts or Emcees are essential to keeping your event running smoothly. You should ideally choose someone who is comfortable presenting live and has experience with remote audiences.
A good host will also be able to respond to last minute changes to an event. If a speaker is connecting late, as an example, your host should be able to keep momentum going to avoid people walking away or signing out.
Prepare your participants and manage expectations
We’ve already mentioned above that online audiences tend to have a shorter attention span than audiences attending an in-person event. This makes it even more crucial that your event’s content is engaging and relatable to your audience.
Make sure to communicate to your event-goers whether or not their cameras should be on, and if they’re expected to participate during the presentations before hand. Letting people know in advance helps set expectations.
Nothing can replace a good rehearsal. Rather than just talking through your event, run through it in real-time from top to bottom. Using this method, you’ll be able to identify the spots that aren’t working as well as you’d like or material and agenda transitions you may be missing.
By the time you’re ready for the event, your speakers, host, and technical team should have a concrete idea of what they should be doing, and when they should be doing it.
Plan engagement, and allow questions.
Always have a plan for how your audience can engage with your speakers. If your audience doesn’t feel that they’re being heard, it can lead to them tuning out.
It’s worthwhile to consider having a moderator who can comb through submitted questions and channel them to a speaker when appropriate.
Do you have more suggestions for how to run a successful virtual event? Feel free to get in touch with us today to share some of your favourites.