Dos and Don’ts to Make a Virtual Event a Success….

Event planners can be flexible. It’s not surprising that event planners are being asked to be virtual event experts in a matter of hours. This brings up a new issue: how do you make your event stand out in virtual environments?

Virtual events are only one part of the puzzle. It can be difficult to keep audiences interested and engaged from faraway events. This requires a different approach.

We have your back. These five tips will make your virtual event great.

DON’T: Treat this like a normal video call DO: Practice, Rehearse and Double-Check

When you don’t have to travel for your presentation, there’s always a temptation to view this event as another virtual meeting. That would be a mistake, says Convene’s senior director of AV technology, Michael Judah.

Judeh advises that you block time on your calendar to review your tech checks before you start rehearsals and preparation for the event. Is your software up and running? Does your internetwork properly? What about your microphone, camera, and other devices? It only takes a few minutes to prepare, and you can avoid hours of frustration later.

DON’T: Limit Audience Participation to Questions

DO: Take Advantage of Social Engagement Tools

Most event planners know to leave time for questions at the end of any presentation, and that’s great to include in virtual presentations as well. However, a virtual audience allows you to try new interaction tools that are much more difficult to pull off in person.

SpaceX is a great source of inspiration. SpaceX hosts live streaming shows on launch days that draw millions of viewers. Instead of setting up a camera and forgetting about it, different hosts will teach you about the launch and ask questions via social media. Viewers can take polls such as “Would it ever be a dream to travel to space?” and send pictures from where they are watching.

This breaks up the material and makes your audience part of the experience. You can use it to reinforce important points in your presentation.

DON’T: Expect Your Audience’s Undivided Attention

DO: Schedule Breaks

Distractions are bound to happen when attending an event virtually. Your email (or online shopping) is just a tab away, and no one can see you slacking off instead of paying attention.

We are all human. Instead of fighting for attention, allow your audience to scratch that itch. Julie Starr, Convene’s director for learning and development, says that she is very clear about setting expectations right from the start. “I made sure everyone knew the ground rules like microphones off and cameras on. I also explained what to expect: polls will be held, I will ask questions, and if anyone is not available, I will randomly call people.

It’s not all serious business. “I give attendees email breaks! People appreciate being grounded right from the beginning, especially in a time of constant change.

Your audience will pay more attention if they know there will be a time to catch up on their email.

DON’T: Rely on a Single Device

DO: Have a Backup Device Ready to Go

Tech troubles are annoying enough at in-person events. But when you’re presenting virtually, they can be a complete derailment.

“If the microphone is lost or damaged at an event space, tech staff can quickly replace it. Judeh warns that what should they do if a presenter’s computer crashes or the internet goes down?

It’s not a good idea to try to get online and then have to wait for your virtual guests (or leave). While you’re doing your tech check, make sure you have your backup devices ready.

This way, you can quickly pivot if something goes wrong and get your life back on track.

DON’T: Handle Your Presentation and Event By Yourself

DO: Bring in Help to Manage Tech and Your Audience

Speaking of responding to unforeseen problems—it’s always good to have extra help on your side ready to lend a hand.

Virtual moderators or assistants can manage audience questions, live polls and other tasks, just as in-person events have an emcee/moderator. Your co-host is available to help you if you have technical difficulties.

Another production manager may manage the technical aspects of your virtual event. Tech managers can handle all aspects of streaming events just like in-person venues. This allows you to concentrate on the content of the meeting.

 

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