At the start of the pandemic, none of us had any idea that it would force us to cancel or postpone all our face-to-face events. But given the risks associated with being in large gatherings, that’s what we were dealing with. Thousands of businesses and organizations worldwide moved their events online.
Shifting from physical venues to video conferencing apps takes some effort, but it can help you regain momentum. Poorly-planned and executed events are a waste of time. But when they’re well-planned and run, virtual events allow people from around the world to connect and exchange ideas in real-time.
A successful virtual event begins with careful planning and preparation. Much as you’d book a venue, invite speakers, and plan the catering for a conference, there are several things you need to arrange for your virtual event. Here's how to run a virtual event that rocks.
Assign roles to your team
Assuming you’re not a one-person operation, you need to assign roles and responsibilities to everyone in your team. Here are some of the roles you might need for your virtual event:
Assigning people to roles according to their strengths is the best way to make your event go smoothly. If you’re running a long or multi-day event, use employee scheduling software to organize coverage in shifts.
Find the right platform
Instead of booking a venue, you will need to choose the right conferencing platform. Here are some that I have used and recommend:
Test your platform in advance to make sure everything is working properly. You should ensure all your attendees have the link at least an hour before the advertised start time. If applicable, configure your software so that only registered participants or those with the password can join.
Set up the optimal conditions for hosting
When you host a physical event, you want every detail to be perfect. You should treat your virtual event in the same way. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Practice and practice again!
If you’re going to be speaking or presenting during your virtual event, you can never have too much practice. Here are the essential aspects of your presentation to pay attention to as you rehearse:
The best way to test everything is to run a practice event with a small audience of trusted friends or colleagues. They can give you valuable feedback that you can use to make your event the best it can be.
Prepare on the day of the event
It’s normal to feel nervous before your first virtual event. But it’s essential to keep your focus so you can deliver the best event possible.
Follow these tips to help you feel calm and prepared on the day:
Once you’ve done all this, you can start letting your attendees log in and get going!
Keep your audience engaged
This is it—the culmination of all your hard work and preparation. You’ve rehearsed your talk, you’ve briefed your team, and maybe you’ve even painted your living room wall white. It’s now time to put on a great show!
If you want people to stay to the end of your virtual event, you need to keep them engaged. Here are my top tips for keeping things interesting:
All your hard work will go down the drain if you fail to keep your audience engaged, so take this responsibility seriously.
Connect with your participants after the event
Your event went perfectly, and now it’s time to relax now, right?
Not quite. You need to follow through on your success by keeping in touch with your participants. Here are the steps to take:
However you choose to stay connected after the event, you must observe data privacy laws when using attendee information.
Expanding your network with virtual events
The ongoing pandemic may continue to put in-person events on hold. Fortunately, technology is here to help! A virtual event is an excellent opportunity to expand your network, reach new prospective customers, and connect with decision-makers to grow your business.
Good luck with your first virtual event!
Owen Jones is the Senior Content Marketer at Zoomshift, an online schedule maker app. He is an experienced SaaS marketer, specializing in content marketing, CRO, and FB advertising.
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