Companies of all sizes can conduct virtual events due to the technological advancements in video streaming services. For a standalone venture, online exhibition, or live event, you can host any virtual event with a virtual event management company to showcase your brand offerings to a global audience. Furthermore, Google Trends suggests that the trend to go virtual will increase in the times to come. That said, hosting an event comes with several challenges, from internet issues to smooth planning. Use these seven tips to host your next virtual event seamlessly.
Simplicity is Key
“Less is more” holds true when planning a virtual event. Too much information or too many activities can overwhelm your audience, and they may tune out before the event is over. When in doubt, leave it out. You can always add more later if needed.
Don’t forget to include important agenda items like:
- Guest speaker’s speech: Secure a slot for the main guest to address the event and kickstart the program.
- Breakout sessions: Small group discussions or workshops related to the main topic.
- Panel discussion: A platform for experts to share their insights on the theme of your event.
- Doubts Session: Allot some time at the end of your event to answer any questions or doubts your audience might have.
Keep it Short
The average attention span is short and people’s minds are prone to wandering, so it’s important to keep your audience engaged throughout the event. A good rule of thumb is to limit your virtual event to two hours or less. This gives you enough time to cover all the important points without overstaying your welcome.
Follow a Script
While it’s important to host your virtual event seamlessly, you also don’t want to sound like you’re reading off a script. Prepare a general outline of what you want to say and cover all the key points, but don’t write out everything word for word. This will help you stay on track while still sounding natural and conversational. It also gives you the flexibility to deviate from the script if needed.
Here are some tips to help you write a script:
- Start with the goal of your event in mind. What do you want your audience to take away from this?
- Make a list of all the topics you want to cover.
- Organize your thoughts into an outline or mind map.
- Write the first draft.
- Edit the script for clarity and conciseness.
- Practice, practice, practice!
Engage Your Audience
The last thing you’d want in the virtual event is seeing the cameras off or delayed responses from the attendees because they weren’t paying attention.
Avoid this by using these tactics:
- Questions and Answers: Encourage your audience to ask questions throughout the event. You can have a dedicated Q&A session or take questions as they come.
- Live polls and surveys: This is a great way to measure your audience’s engagement and get feedback in real-time.
- Virtual games and activities: Use virtual reality games, online quizzes, or something as simple as a scavenger hunt.
Prepare for Technical Difficulties
No matter how prepared you are, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong. The key is to have a backup plan and be prepared for the worst.
Here are some common issues you might face and how to solve them:
- Internet Connection Problems: Test your internet connection before the event and make sure you have a backup in case of any problems.
- Lagging Audio: Use a headset or earphones to avoid feedback and echo. If you’re using a microphone, test it in advance to make sure it’s working properly.
- Camera Issues: Make sure your camera is positioned correctly and has a good angle. If possible, use static background so it doesn’t look like you’re moving around.
- Display Problems: If you’re using slides, make sure they’re visible. If possible, use a projector or second screen so your audience can see them clearly.
Promote Your Event
Your attendees might forget about the event, and some may not join. Make sure this doesn’t happen by sending emails a few days before the event and a reminder with a login link hours before starting.
Other promotion tips include:
- Create a landing page: This is a central hub where people can go to find all the information about your event. Include the date, time, agenda, speakers, and anything else people might need to know.
- Use social media: Create a buzz about your event on social media. Use hashtags, post teaser videos, and offer discounts to encourage people to attend.
- Reach out to influencers: If you have any industry leaders or popular figures in your network, reach out to them and see if they’d be interested in promoting your event.
- Send email invitations: Send out email invitations a few weeks before the event. Include all the information people need to know and make it easy for them to RSVP.
Make It Interactive
Your virtual event might be more successful if you make it interactive. This means allowing your audience to participate and engage with the content.
Here are some ways to do this:
- Live chat: This is a great way to get the attendees talking. You can use a live chat tool like Slack or Google Hangouts.
- Social media: Use social media to create a conversation around your event. Encourage people to share their thoughts and connect before, during, and after the event.
- Virtual reality: If you have the budget, you can create a virtual reality experience for your attendees. This can be anything from a 360-degree tour of your event space to an immersive game.
Planning a successful virtual event is no easy feat. You need to ensure you plan it right, get everyone to join, and host the event smoothly. Microsoft has already taken the leap to switch to virtual with their Build Developer Conference. The tips mentioned above will ensure that you don’t face any issues while hosting an online event, so be sure to follow them and thank us later!