If there was one key takeaway in 2020, it is that running a virtual event have become a critical part of the commercial and social fabric of our times.
Whether it’s a business event, an internal company update, e-learning courses and workshops or concerts – the shift to from physical to online is apparent and should not be considered as a temporary substitute for face-to-face functions.
In the past few months, we’ve seen a rise in requests for virtual events and have managed many successful virtual events for our clients. Interestingly, the types of functions, meetings and other occasions that can be conducted over the internet are really only limited by your imagination.
To host a virtual event today is much easier and more cost-effective than ever as there are plenty of platforms available to accommodate events of all sizes and requirements. So, for businesses that are looking to explore more digitally led functions, I’ve compiled this list of 5 best practices to get you started.
1. Define your format
When planning for virtual events, event organisers are looking to create engaging and memorable event that’s just as impressive as physical events. The key to do that is having a clear idea of how you want to present your information, that is choosing the right event format suits your theme, sessions and speakers.
Having a clear idea is arguably one of the most important aspects of planning successful virtual events. There are various formats to virtual events. Even though the basic functionalities and mechanics may look similar, they produce different outcomes. Typical formats include online webinar with an expert speaker conducting presentations, or a virtual town hall with fireside chats, or a panel discussion across a few regions and time zones. You can also host a series of shorter sessions at regular intervals for consistent, ongoing engagement. The only limit is your imagination!
Our clients are looking for the opportunity to create unique experiences for their attendees without having to worry about compromising on the complexity, flexibility, and quality. We work closely with our clients to design, produce and manage their online events, from defining concepts and formats to selecting a virtual event platform to host the event to filming of pre-recorded content for the event.
2. Visual and audio quality is essential
As with live events, technical quality is one of the most important aspects of a virtual event. There are some basic technology requirements for running a successful online event, for both your presenters and for attendees.
A good technical setup can heighten the experience of the event for your attendees. Here are a few things to focus on to achieve that:
(a) Internet Connection: As with everything you do online, it is important for organisers and presenters to have a stable internet connection. For the best results, remote presenters should have their computer plugged directly into the modem rather than relying on Wi-Fi connections.
(b) Virtual event platform: Whether you’re running a webinar, a digital conference or a product launch, there’s a myriad of conferencing platforms available to suit your needs, from easy to sophisticated solutions.
(c) Webcam and microphone: You don’t want your audience to be straining just to catch every word you say. Investing in a good external webcam and microphone will improve the quality of your presenters’ video and audio.
3. Make it interactive and engaging
To explore the full engagement potential of your online event, you need to make it interactive. With our attention spans getting shorter, it is quite possible for event attendees to get distracted after listening in on a 20 minutes presentation. Majority of the virtual event platforms have the resources to facilitate this – chat rooms, quizzes, polls to name a few. These interactive add-ons are designed to keep attendees engaged and increase participation throughout the virtual sessions.
In addition to user experience, we also encourage our clients to use different media formats. Instead of using slides and presenter speaking, adding a video or infographic animation breaks up the monotony of the standard presentation and can keep your audience interested.
Another great way to foster interactivity is to have a live discussion section that enables attendees to engage with speakers and with each other. The host or moderator who can interact with the speaker and draw the audience into the session through conversation and Q&A to really get them involved in the event.
4. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
We can’t stress how important this final point is.
Always plan for a day of rehearsals with your key speakers, organisers and technical team. Murphy’s law states that if something can go wrong, it will. In addition to practicing the full event flow, rehearsals also give you a chance to address any potential issues before the big day.
The fundamentals of a dry run should include:
- A full run through of the event flow and manage transitions between hosts, presenters and remote speakers.
- Check connectivity or streaming issues, especially for remotes speakers and external locations.
- Technical run through for audio and video, to ensure the webcam and microphones are working properly.
- Make sure all the any additional media formats such as pre-record videos, slides and interactive elements.
Even though the shift from in-person to virtual events happened rather instantaneously. This shift has given us the opportunity to reimagine the event landscape and try out innovative ways to execute online experiences.
Picture Perfect Productions has been conducting successful virtual events for our clients as the demand rises. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about your virtual event requirements.