Virtual Event Solutions: 6 Time Tested Tips
I am all about actionable tips because I know you don’t have time to read a bunch of theories. We can go over the theory while talking about things you can actually do during the planning of your next event.
These are all tips I use in my own business and things I tell my clients. Combined with my Event Planning Checklist, this post becomes a real roadmap for you to follow.
Plan the work and work the plan! Just make sure you add in your own personal flavor and smart corporate branding.
Let’s jump into my favorite solutions when planning an online event.
Today’s Virtual Event Solutions Must Be Relevant
People are more distracted than usual and may still be working from home. This means you might have to go the extra mile to get their attention. You want to entice them to attend your event because it feels timely and relevant.
Don’t Ignore Reality
You might be tempted to ignore the elephant in the room, but it’s actually smarter to speak to people’s experience right now. Don’t shy away from including content about COVID-19 at your virtual event.
It might even be the hook that brings in some new faces.
Ask yourself how you can add the pandemic and its life-changing presence to the content you already wanted to bring to your audience. Maybe you can talk about the science behind how people react to prolonged stress and how that affects your industry. If your service is in the entertainment niche, drive home how much people crave creative content now more than ever before.
The current crisis affects every industry on the planet, so figure out what the challenges are in your arena and offer some insight for your guests.
Share Your End-Game Vision
One of the keys to authentic relevancy is to share a confident vision for the future. You want to actually look down the road and offer insight your attendees can count on.
If you already have speakers booked, ask them if they can add their own insight into their presentations. If you’re still filling up your presenter dance card, seek out thought-leaders who are confidently facing the ‘new normal’ and succeeding.
Your attendees will get incredible value from something that feels like a solution. They’ll also walk away with warm, fuzzy feelings when they get a chance to hear others in their field talk about their own challenges.
Effective Virtual Event Solutions Require Tight Timing
One of the main differences between a traditional conference and a virtual event is that distraction factor. Your guests will be logging in from their homes. They have all the creature comforts and daily distractions around them. They aren’t cocooned in the warm embrace of your venue anymore.
This makes your event timing even more important than ever before. Keep presentations short and the breaks in between them adequate but not ample. You don’t want people walking away to do the laundry or getting lost in their emails.
Keep any presentations you can to 45 minutes – 1 hour long. A 15-20 minute break in between is ideal. Would your event actually work better as a series of shorter, individual presentations? You can make this work for you and your guests by treating each as a related but separate mini-conference. This gives you more sales and branding opportunities spread out over the course of the entire series.
Finally, keep in mind what it might look like at home- the other side of the screen. Your attendees might have children or pets that need help around lunchtime. They might be their most productive between 9-11 a.m. and again from 2-4 p.m.
If you aren’t sure, do some advance outreach and crowdsource with polls! Asking your potential audience what they want is a great way to deliver it.
Virtual Event Solutions With A Unique Touch Are More Successful
You’re going to have to stand out in a sea of online events and that can be tricky. Your secret weapon is your unique brand identity.
Mine that concept and dig deep. Get out your mission and value statement and read them. Find your ideal customer avatars if you have them and brush up. Research three of your competitors and spend some time brainstorming what sets you apart from them.
Now dial that UP during your event.
If the cornerstone of your brand messaging is kindness, you might invite presenters and attendees alike to wear their favorite cozy pjs. Cutting-edge tech companies could try offering some kind of virtual reality experience. It’s really about what works for you and your corporate identity.
If you’re stuck about this, don’t hesitate to reach out to your coworkers, even outside your department. Find out what the corporate culture means to them and if they have any creative ideas. This is all about being fresh and thinking outside the box.
Virtual Event Solutions Require Grooming Your Presenters For Digital Delivery
It surprises some of my clients when I tell them virtual events require more hands-on communication with speakers! It’s important to brief them carefully.
Remember that your presenters are out of their element and need extra direction from you. Explain the flow of the event to them and exactly what you need from their presentation including the length.
You may find yourself working with your presenters to ensure their information will hold attendees’ attention. Leave a little extra time for that or put a team member on it early and let them liaison. Encourage them to practice speaking to a camera and rehearsing.
It’s definitely a good idea to hold a dress rehearsal with them or ask for updates as they go. Because we’re all working remotely as much as possible, the video chat with you will feel like a mini-presentation for them.
Don’t forget to ask them where they’ll be presenting from! Is it distraction-free? Visually pleasing? Does it have the right tech and props? Give them as many tips as possible to ensure a great online presentation.
Virtual Event Solutions Ground Zero: Picking A Platform
This is such a huge topic, I have a separate post coming all about it.
For now, I recommend that you not get overwhelmed with your choices because there are a lot of them!
Consider all of the following important factors when choosing:
- Is the platform secure enough?
- Does it play well with the devices your attendees are using?
- Can a social media ‘live’ handle your presentation or do you truly need something more robust?
- Do you want to capture video for later use?
- Are there reviews available for the platform you’re considering? Was it most often used for formal or informal streaming?
Try to come up with a top-three list of choices and call around to colleagues to check out their experiences. If you can get on a call with a representative from each company, that’s even better.
If you need more help in this area, it’s a great idea to reach out to someone like me. I offer consulting services that walk you through the back end of virtual event planning and take a lot of the stress off you. This is ideal for event planning professionals new to virtual events who want to learn the ropes and for corporate clients who just want to hand over the reins.
Implement Virtual Event Solutions Like An Event Boss
You’ve got this! You can totally create a unique event with seasoned presenters that holds your audience in rapt attention! Now is the time to be more creative than ever before. There is a lot of fun to be had in this world of opportunities and if you need help, I know an Event Boss who’s just a call away.