Extending a physical conference into a virtual event can be a challenge, but if done right, hosting a virtual event can be very rewarding. Since virtual events can bring in a much larger conference, they have to be handled with special care. Hosting a virtual event is not something you can do half-heartedly and expect a good result. Virtual events can include live presentations, round table discussions, interviews, chats, and more.
The pandemic has left us with a lot of new things to adapt to, such as virtual meetings. If you’ve grown accustomed to video conferences over the past couple of years, you might have encountered a few technical difficulties, awkward moments, and a faulty internet connection. Although these problems may be acceptable for your usual weekly meetings, they can really cause a major problem for virtual events. Virtual events will require a lot more planning because there are so many more things that can go wrong. The last thing you want is a faulty virtual event with lots of errors.
Are you looking to create your own virtual event and need some tips on creating the ideal virtual environment? We got you covered. Follow these Do’s and Don’ts for Virtual Event Hosting to keep your event from being virtually awkward.
Do: Double-check and test in advance
Once you have decided to host a virtual event, don’t short-cut the test period. Virtual events are a big investment of time and energy for both you and your viewers. Virtual events require a lot of equipment like cameras, microphones, projectors, computers, email follow-ups and more.
Make time to rehearse and practice before the big event to ensure that everything goes smoothly on the big day. Virtual events are a lot more complicated than regular video conferences, so it’s important to make sure everything is working before you start.
Technical difficulties are bound to happen. If you want your event to go smoothly, make sure you have backup devices ready. In the event that something goes wrong, you will be prepared and ready to handle whatever problems come your way.
Do not rely on a single device. Problems can occur during virtual events, especially with an increased volume of participants, so having a backup device is essential.
Do: Have breaks
Our attention spans only last for so long and distractions can occur when attending virtual events. Your audience might get an email or a text on their phone, someone might be calling them, or they might get bored. Instead of trying so hard to maintain your audience’s attention, try making time for breaks.
Virtual events don’t have to last forever or keep going for hours. Virtual Event Hosting requires a lot of energy, so taking breaks will help you out in the long run and your audience will thank you for that extra time to relax and recuperate after long discussions and chats.
Do: Ask for help
You don’t have to host a virtual event all on your own. In fact, it would be wise if you ask for a bit of help if you need it. For example, if you’re not exactly tech-savvy, you could ask for someone who is experienced in that field to give you a hand.
A virtual event isn’t your usual video conference. It takes a lot of work and effort to hold one. Virtual Event Hosting requires special skills and experience, so don’t be shy about asking for help.
Do: Have a story
Any event should have some context or a story behind it. Without any clear goals or stories, there’s really no point in attending. So, don’t forget to remind your audience about the big picture of why the virtual event is happening.
A good way to avoid an aimless virtual event is to have clear goals in place. Before you hold a virtual event, identify why you want to hold it in the first place, what the benefits are, and what you want the audience to leave with. It’s a good idea to leave your audience with a takeaway such as a free download, an invite to another virtual event, or even an online course.
Don’t: Handle it all on your own
Unforeseen problems can arise in virtual event hosting. So, it’s always a good idea to have an extra pair of hands to help you out during these problems. Have an emcee or moderator prepared to help you manage audience participation and interactions.
To avoid getting overwhelmed, it would be better to have two hosts so the co-host can help out when needed. You should also bring in someone who is experienced in technology to help keep technical difficulties at bay.
Don’t: Treat it like another call
A virtual event is not like your weekly zoom call. Virtual events require a lot more planning and attention. Keep your audience in mind when you’re preparing the virtual event. Although errors can happen, they shouldn’t be expected.
Before the event begins, make sure you have a clear rundown of what is expected to happen, who the speakers are, what the activities are, and how long everything will take. The key to a successful virtual event is to be organized.
Don’t: Expect your audience to pay attention all the time
Expecting your audience’s undivided attention is extremely demanding. We’re human after all. Our attention spans will get the best of us and we might wander off. So, don’t expect your audience to pay attention at all times.
To keep your audience happy, make time for designated breaks, involve them in discussions, and make sure you have plenty of activities that incorporate audience participation. Also, getting a hold of strong hooks can help you bring people back to focus during the active screen time.
Don’t: Limit audience participation
Audience participation is essential for a virtual event to succeed. Most event planners would rather leave questions after the end of a presentation. This is usually common in virtual events but it can get a bit boring if the presentations are lengthy.
To keep the audience participating, try using interaction tools in presentations. This way, the audience can be involved in the presentation and make them part of the experience. This is also a good way to retain attention and create a great virtual event.
Virtual Event Hosting can be challenging, but it’s definitely worth the try. As long as you plan it carefully, virtual event hosting can be a success. Remember to plan your events in advance, have a solid team behind you, prioritize the audience, and prepare thoroughly. It takes time to start virtual event hosting, but once you get the hang of it, virtual events can take your brand to the next level.