Five Top Tips for a Successful Virtual Event
As we all adjust to a new reality in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the ‘virtual event’ is becoming the mainstay of daily communication, but how do you get the best from your online experience and ensure your event is a huge success.
A ‘virtual event’ is one which happens online and unlike a physical event they are not restricted to a particular location or audience size and anyone with an internet connect can view or join a virtual event.
Some events have both a virtual and physical component and are referred to as ‘Hybrid Events’ where you may have a group in attendance networking and interacting which is then broadcast to a live online audience. This is particularly important at the moment where some delegates or speakers are unable to attend but still which to receive your content.
To get the very best from you Virtual or Hybrid Event, here are our five top tips.
1. Choosing the right technology for your Virtual or Hybrid Event
There are many options when it comes to hosting a virtual or hybrid event but they typically fall into two broad categories:
There is a wide range of options including Zoom, Skype, Microsoft teams, Adobe Connect each with plenty of great features from screen sharing, polling, live Q&A and host sharing. These are perfect for small relatively informal meetings or presentations. The limitations to these options are the ability to control the screen content and create a more professional look & feel for your larger audiences.
This option gives you the ability to customise your presentation mix via multiple cameras, graphics and videos. You can also pre-record some elements of your presentation to ensure you message is consistent and professional. The Live Streaming option can also be engaging and interactive with the ability to add live Q&A and polling solutions such as Slido or Pigeonhole. These options can be achieved in a small studio or even at home. If you are considering a hybrid event then live streaming is definitely the way to go.
2. Audience Engagement
A virtual event is not the same as a physical event, it’s unlikely that attendees will sit glued to the screen all day, they may dip in and out, so you need to engage your audience throughout, here are a few key points:
Use story-telling in your presentation to hook your viewers from the start and ensure they keep listening.
Produce great content, ensure you slides have impact and give a clear concise message.
Interact with your audience from the start, ask questions, using polls or Slido and share the results live if possible.
Choose a great host to add a dynamic edge to your virtual event.
Give a clear agenda and stick to time, this will help to build anticipation and energy into the day.
3. Creating Value for your Sponsors
With a live streaming option you can design your content to incorporate sponsor branding, but ensuring sponsors achieve an ROI is very important so how do you achieve this in a virtual setting. Virtual stands don’t really work, so invite your sponsors to create valuable content, host breakout sessions or take part in panel sessions. Virtual platforms can track who attends which session and who downloads sponsor presentations which are powerful metrics for your sponsors.
Some sponsors rely on attending sampling or experiencing their products, so why not send a sample or branded pack at attendees in advance.
4. Networking for Delegates
One of the key reasons to attend a live event is the networking opportunity, so how can you replicate this online. Many of the virtual event platforms now have live chat facilities so you can spot who else is attending a session and reach-out directly. The registration process can also help delegates identify attendees with similar needs or interests.
5. Virtual Breakout sessions
One of the key features of live events are the ‘streams’ or ‘breakout’ sessions, the ability to focus on a particular topic in a smaller group. You can also create virtual breakout sessions or communities enabling delegates to chat about a specific topic and with a virtual event you are not constrained by a physical space or particular time-scale so attendees could chose to attend several sessions on-demand.