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Virtual events have been around for some time. Still, since the pandemic, they have become the norm for many businesses looking to accommodate an audience in uncertain times. There are lots of different types of virtual events that prove a hit time and time again. Examples include workshops, tutorials, industry training, and behind-the-scenes tours. Companies are also conducting interviews and shows in a range of sectors to ensure that business runs a smoothly as before.
Much like traditional events, virtual ones also take some planning. It’s not enough to just sit at a computer and hope that no one hears the dog barking in the background or see the family pictures on the wall. Preparation is key to keeping it professional and communicating the message perfectly.
Whether you’re hosting a large or small event, every session should have a strategy. Take a look at some of the tips below to get started:
Create a plan
Not surprisingly, every event should start with a plan. If you can begin this process early, you will be totally prepared for anything. Before you set down the main areas to focus on, think about the key goals and outcomes that you want from the event.
Ask questions to gauge how the event will unfold and think about the logistics. Consider:
- What experience would you like to provide?
- Will the event be free or have a nominal charge?
- Does it require pre-registration?
- How many people do you plan to accommodate?
- Will it be live?
- How will you track data from the event?
These are just some of the areas to think about when planning the first phase of the event. They will help you establish the grassroots of the session to get the best outcomes.
Decide on the best time
Timing is everything. However, it’s important to remember you can’t cater to everyone all of the time. If you are promoting the event globally, consider time zones to make it more accessible. Ensure you do research on holidays or any significant events in your industry that may coincide with your session. In short, if larger companies are hosting events, definitely avoid these dates if you have a similar audience. The beauty of virtual events is that recording them gives the audience a chance to run through the slides and presentation after the event. Don’t forget to create a professional ‘save the date’ reminder so attendees can keep it in their diary.
Make it accessible to everyone
Your event should be inclusive. Just like in-person events, cater to the needs of your audience, including those with accessibility issues. Make fonts clear and large, and provide captioning. This feature is also available for live events, so the content is understood as it happens. If you are using an expert panel or interviewing guests during the event, be sure to include a diverse range of speakers. If your event is not inclusive and accessible, you could be trending for all the wrong reasons.
Promote the event
Unless you promote your event, the likelihood of someone stumbling across it on the Internet is slim. Shout about your event on social media and create a snippet promotional video showcasing your offering. LinkedIn is another excellent platform to promote business events and encourage participation from people in your industry. Promoting in advance is a great idea. However, it’s also essential to push promotion 2 to 3 weeks before the event to ramp up attendee numbers.
Encourage your audience to engage
During the planning stage, it’s a great idea to input opportunities where your audience can engage. When people are talked at for a length of time, they tend to switch off and come away with a subpar experience. Incorporating a chat tool during the event is a great way to encourage attendees to ask questions. However, it is also an excellent idea to hire a moderator. A moderator will engage with the comments and keep track of timings. They will also ensure the line of questioning doesn’t go off-topic. If you try to do it all yourself, then it could become distracting, and the primary focus should be on presenting the information to offer the best value.
Make sure your event adds value to the participants
Throughout the planning process, your main goal should be to add value to your attendees. They should leave the virtual event feeling enlightened and wanting to learn more. If your presentation is dull and promotional, you may hinder uptake on future events. The event should also encourage participants to seek further information. This might be signing up for future sessions or providing links to resources and your newsletter for more details. Another helpful element to your presentation is encouraging feedback. To improve and enhance the experience, gaining constructive reviews of the topics and delivery will guide your planning for the next event.