Tips for a successful virtual event
The first tip to remember: a virtual event should be similar to a traditional event and offer a sense of familiarity to attendees. With that said, don’t opt for a cookie-cutter approach when it comes to planning.
Many of you may have experienced virtual meetings while working from home and social distancing that may have been chaotic. Think of virtual meetings as an extension of your physical event. Certain things, which might be acceptable for a team meeting or a family gathering, would be unacceptable to present to event attendees who have paid to access the content. A virtual event deserves the same level of professionalism as its face-to-face counterpart.
Therefore, here are parts of an event that must be maintained for virtual events:
- Establish a script/schedule (the “pacing”) for the event and respect it.
- Take time to explain how the event will proceed with all stakeholders.
- Rehearse with your presenters/panellists before you go live. Ensure that everyone understands their role and when it’s their turn to speak.
- Hire professional facilitators/moderators to energize and oversee the event. They will ensure that the transitions are smooth and professional between presentations. With their help, group discussions will be more orderly and efficient.
Encourage interaction between the presenters and the audience. Put in place measures and plan certain ways to engage the audience. Interactivity, a strong trend in recent years, is all the more important for virtual events since the attendees’ attention spans may be reduced. For example, you could implement electronic voting, “gamification,” etc.
What platforms should you use?
To hold an official, virtual event, we recommend using caution when choosing free (or very low cost) online platforms that exist on the market.
While some may be free, keep in mind that some of these platforms are funded by companies that buy the information for commercial use or display ads on the page.
In addition, the lack of technical support with these platforms can make event organizers vulnerable and put you at risk of having major technical issues. Remember, participants who have paid to attend your event will expect everything to go smoothly. These platforms also do not provide organizers with access to data that is useful to measure the event’s retention, reach and impact.
The technical aspects
One of the challenges of 100% virtual events is that you have no control over the presenters’ technical components when they are broadcasting from their home or office. This includes things like bandwidth level and quality (Internet), sound and lighting quality, camera framing, disruptive noises, such as barking dogs in the background, etc. We therefore recommend using a production/broadcasting studio, in compliance with public health and distancing standards, which will allow you to bring presenters together within a controlled environment.
The Québec City Convention Centre provides an optimal technical environment, particularly in terms of Internet capacity and reliability, which enables you to successfully carry out your virtual events. Trust well-honed experts who will support you and provide you with exemplary service.
Here’s one final tip: you should rely on specialized companies to guide you in for all virtual event projects. This will ensure that you benefit from reliable, quality and professional services so that your event flows impeccably.