There are many reasons for choosing to host a virtual event rather than an IRL one. These include the cost implication, reducing the impact on the environment, and social distancing. Virtual conferences can even help you to expand the reach of your event. Of course, knowing the virtual events can be useful, and understanding how to run one successfully is a totally different matter. The good news is that you can find out everything you’ll need to know about the latter below.
Picking the Right Speakers
There are two things that you need to remember when choosing speakers for your virtual event. The first is that if they cannot hold the audience’s attention IRL, they certainly won’t be able to do it online. Therefore it’s crucial to look for the most dynamic speakers you can. After all, it’s a lot easier to close a tab on a computer than it is to walk out of a live event.
Additionally, picking the right speaker isn’t all you need to worry about when hosting a live event. You will also need to make sure that they have the experience or knowledge of the differences between an online event and one in real life.
The problem here is that while attendees’ experience can seem very similar, there are some significant differences that those involved to account for. These include the overall flow and tech use, which can stop even the most confident speakers in their tracks.
To that end, having some clear but stringent guidelines and instructions for every part of the event, including how to use the platform you have chosen, are vital.
Encourage Involvement and Engagement
If the only thing you are doing with your virtual event is to provide consumed content, little can differentiate it from a lecture or tutorial video. That is why it is also essential that what you do encourages participant involvement and engagement as well.
The good news is there are several strategies that you can use for this. The first is to include things like this fun virtual photo booth that works in browsers. It doesn’t need a separate app to be used by event participants. It can also make images and GIFs of attendees branded with your event’s colors and logos- something that can be shared and provides greater visibility for your event. Not to mention that it also allows the people attending it to see who else is involved.
Another great strategy to use here is to offer a sort of matchmaking service. That is, you match up people with others that may be of use to them. Of course, there are several ways of doing this, but the easiest is to ask attendees what they are most interested in getting out of your event, and then send them the details of those that can help them achieve this.
Additionally, running a dedicated Q&A forum is a smart idea, especially if you have many attendees from all over the world. The reasons being that they can both interact with each other and make those oh-so-important connections. While at the same time, you can also provide help and support, and monitor any problems that are occurring for they become significant.
Don’t Fail to Plan (Plan to Fail Instead)
Specifically, this is all about the technical side of things, because if you are hoping that everything will go off without a hitch, you’re in for a rude awakening. Think back to all the IRL events you have attended, and how technical issues have delayed and messed those up. Imagine how much of a problem technical failure could be to an event that is running entirely online!
To that end, the idea is that if you have a contingency plan in place for every aspect of tech that can fail, your event will go ahead as planned no matter what happens.
In particular, always ensure that more than one person has access to the timings, schedules, and introductory information for your event. Then if your host’s computer, platform, or wifi fails, someone else can take over.
Be sure to check connections ahead of time and advise those screen sharing to shut down other apps and windows on their computer. Both to protect their privacy and prevent unwanted interruptions.
Additionally, making things as simple for those attending is a smart approach. That means providing them with clear instructions ahead of time, and even allowing them to test out access to the right platform, especially if it’s not one that is popular.