Virtual events can be advantageous. They potentially allow businesses to reach a larger audience and give attendees a more carefree experience without the hassle of travel. But without a destination trip to lure people in, how does a virtual event planner convince people to attend their event and actually stay tuned? Here's how to make your next virtual event a hit.
Get Tech Savvy
Don’t skimp on technology. Incorporate high-quality technology to make your production more captivating so that audience members are drawn to the screen instead of doing chores while half-heartedly listening. A virtual event platform like Chati can help you do just that.
Chati helps to organize and streamline your production by furnishing templates and tools to make your event more engaging. This can include well-designed spaces for different sessions within the event, like networking booths, live streaming, polling, workshops and Q&A sessions. It's a nice alternative to the less interactive and lackluster Zoom screen and has features to accommodate a larger audience for a better user experience.
Virtual event platforms also offer assistance from producers who can assist with editing, coordination between speakers and technical issues to take some of the stress off of the virtual event planner.
Organize Your Event
Consider how you want to produce your event's presentations. Virtual events can have live sessions recorded in real-time, pre-recorded sessions or a combination of both.
The pros of live virtual events: they are more natural because they simulate an in-person event. Speakers can improvise more and engage with viewers as the event is unfolding. The cons: live virtual events are more prone to technological glitches.
On the other hand, pre-recorded virtual events are less error-prone but less interactive. Pre-recorded sessions also allow you to air more than one session at a time without needing a producer for each presentation like you would if they were live and happening at the same time.
It may be best to use both live and pre-recorded presentations from speakers. To make presentations more polished, you could have speakers pre-record their presentations and then go live for the more interactive features like Q&A sessions. And it is never a bad idea to have a backup pre-recording of the presentation on hand just in case issues occur with live streaming. Also, alternating between the two types of recordings can let you use pre-recorded sessions as a break to set up for live shows.
Once you decide what your recordings will be, use a template for outlining the flow of your show. This should include a timeline for each session, a list of speakers and their sponsors and a backstage checklist of which tasks to cover between sessions.
Other tech tips to keep in mind for streamlining your event:
Safeguard your internet connection by using an ethernet connection instead of WiFi and make sure your hosts have a minimum internet speed of 20Mbps for upload and 30 to 50 Mbps for downloading.
Have a neutral background with good lighting.
Use a good quality microphone and experiment with speaker placement for making your presentation more dynamic.
Use a virtual "green room" where event speakers and producers prep and coordinate off-screen.
Use a variety of arrangements for visual elements that incorporate high-resolution graphics like slides, charts, overlays and transitions for more visual appeal.
Incorporate a lower third into the presentation. This means put an insert in the lower third of the screen with the speaker's name, title and company.
Get the speaker to make good eye contact with the camera by placing his or her notes at the top of their computer screen, if using any, or on a second screen close to eye level. If speaking without notes, have them place a visual marker next to the camera as a reminder of where to look.
Market Your Event
To maximize attendance at your event, make sure it's well marketed. First, you need a website for the event where potential attendees can learn more and register for it.
On this website, attract attendees with a well thought out explanation for the purpose of your virtual event and provide the event schedule, a list and biography of event speakers and an FAQ section. Also clearly communicate where and how people can register for the event.
Event registration should be easy and user-friendly and should ask for enough details from attendees so that planners can tweak their event to their audience.
Before the event, email attendees instructions on how to access the event with practice launching sessions so they become familiar with the technology and are reminded of the event.
Engage Your Audience
In the virtual event world, along with streamlined technology, the content of your event is everything.
That starts with good topics and good keynote speakers. The content of presentations could focus on leadership, research, client opinions or insights, new products or offer some sort of training. Be conscientious of the length of your sessions. Avoid making them too long to avoid losing your audience's attention.
People do bore easily when they don't have an active role, so allowing for attendees to interact during or between sessions is another important aspect of a virtual event. Find a variety of ways to get the audience to interact. This could mean setting aside a time for Q&A sessions after presentations and a time for open conversation on presented topics. Even games and quizzes over content can be successful ways of engaging the audience, especially if prizes for correct answers are given.
Audience engagement could also look like offering a variety of sessions at any one time so the attendee has more options and interests to choose from. Offer them recordings of presentations if there are scheduling conflicts by leaving content available for days or weeks after the event.
Make separate chatrooms or networking sessions available where attendees can go to discuss presentations or chat with sponsors. You could also offer breakrooms where attendees can decompress after taking in so much new information.
Last but not least, make sure you get prompt feedback through attendee surveys so you'll know just how much of a hit your virtual event actually was and can plan for the next one.