Few technologies have seen such widespread growth as a virtual event platforms. Over the past 18 months or so, companies and institutions across sectors have adopted online events to engage with both their internal and external audiences. Every event manager’s guide now needs to have instructions on how to hold powerful virtual events.
When done well, whether it’s an educational event, product launch, or a multi-day conference, yours can be an engaging event that will excite audiences and deliver demonstrable ROI to the organization. To help you with that, here is the event manager’s guide to building powerful virtual events.
The event manager’s guide to holding powerful virtual events
With every virtual event, the event management community is learning more about how to hold an exciting, rewarding, and deeply engaging event. Following these suggestions should help you organize a successful virtual event that will satisfy both the participants and organizers.
An easy-to-use platform
The first thing in the event manager’s guide to virtual events should be to choose a platform that is exceptionally easy to use. It should be easy for both the event organizers and the audience that will be accessing the event through it.
You should select software based on its ease of use. The event manager will also have to ensure that the process of logging in is easy. Attendees shouldn’t have to click on multiple buttons to join the event. If there’s a mobile app, organizers should also check its ease of functioning.
The platform you choose should also easily integrate with your marketing tools and the CRM that you use. This is especially true if your virtual event needs interactive features for remote attendees to fully participate and engage with the speakers.
Finally, it’s important to know the scalability of the platform. If it’s a product launch or a trade show, there could be a large number of virtual attendees. This means that the platform will have to be stable as it scales. If it’s an in-house event with a limited number of participants, scalability may not be an issue for your online event.
The preparation of speakers is key to the success of a virtual event. Unlike the traditional formats, speakers would need familiarity with the platform and its interactive elements before the start of the event. It begins with a proper briefing about the expectations of the online event, its structure, and the tech stack involved.
This will help them know each other’s responsibilities and the outline of the event. Speakers should know the flow of the event, who will introduce them, the topic they will be discussing, and the technology involved.
The next item on the event manager’s guide to online events should be to help the speakers identify the right lighting and sound. The webcam should be at eye level and the speaker should be at the center of the shot. If budget permits, there can be branded elements in the background.
After that, event managers should advise the speakers to mute their notifications on their computers, keep their phones on silent mode, and not use applications or websites that might need extra bandwidth during the event.
People participate in online events - or any event for that matter - primarily for the content. Technology is important but it’s the content that will deliver an engaging event. Event managers should think of content from the end user’s point of view. Does it add enough value? Is it unique enough?
Once the main topic is identified, the next step in the event manager’s guide should be to pick out the highlights. That will add more value to each session, make them more interesting and add pace to the proceedings. It would also be beneficial to visually conceive content delivery. This calls for less text and more images and videos.
Remember that the content is only as good as the platform that will deliver it. If there are minor frictions, it will negatively impact the attendee experience.
It’s easier for participants to interact with the panelists at on-site events. Virtual events need a different kind of technology and structure to facilitate that. The event should be formatted to be lively, vibrant, and importantly, participatory. You can use social walls to display engaging content. Relevant hashtags and mentions will also improve engagement both before and during the virtual event.
Polls and Q & A sessions are how you give your audience a say in the proceedings. Holding them before the online event will help you deliver engaging content. During the event, it’s important not to keep these stacked at the end of the event. You should evenly organize polls and Q & A sessions to make them more relevant.
Importantly, the technology platform should make it easy for virtual attendees to ask questions, participate in polls and quizzes, and give virtual feedback.
All content and no fun make events dull. For a virtual event to be memorable, it also needs to be fun for its participants. That’s why entertainment should be an important element in any event manager’s guide.
You can add interactive games or quiz shows to the event. While doing so, you should ensure that the winners are announced right then and there and give everyone else a chance to congratulate them. Event managers can also add virtual photo booths to give a sense of collective participation.
Organizers can also reach out to artists for an entertainment session. It could be a standup comedian or a band. The major advantage of virtual events is that they can be from anywhere.
Even if the world returns to normalcy, one thing is for sure. Virtual events are here to stay. Having seen their demonstrable advantages in terms of savings, efficiency, and the ability to scale, they are now part of every event manager’s guide. This means the event industry has to quickly learn and adapt the best practices around online events to increase engagement and client retention.
December 29, 2021
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