John Saunders provides guidance and tips on hosting a successful virtual event.
A number of businesses are now embracing virtual events - including the exhibition industry - and as many navigate around new software platforms, ensuring a seamless and memorable experience is crucial for the event’s success.
A virtual event can bring several benefits that businesses will continue to value beyond the current climate, notably that they can be highly measurable and trackable, but this also brings new challenges to the forefront.
I’ve rounded up some of the key factors that I think should be considered when planning/hosting a virtual event:
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- Preparation is key – During the planning period, it’s critical that all technology is tested beforehand to avoid poor sound, lighting, connection, background or other issues on the day. People will lose trust and interest in an organiser’s capabilities if technology is poor.
- Ensure the speakers are fully prepped for online events beforehand - Speakers should be coached on how to engage with people online and addressing their audience through a camera. It’s a very different skill to physical stage events and practice is vital to ensure engagement is achieved. Physical presentation should also not be forgotten!
- Appreciate and acknowledge the clear differences between planning for a virtual event compared to a physical one – a virtual event requires different timescales, disciplines and technologies.
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- Look at all of the fine details when producing a virtual event - this includes everything from making sure every single bit of technology is working and efficient to ensuring all speakers are well briefed and rehearsed.
- Content is key – make sure your speakers are engaging and their slides look great, too.
- Research the best digital solution/platform for the event - it’s important to find one that resonates with the brand or audience and looks professional. Don’t just opt for the cheapest.
- Get to know the software in detail – many companies have committed to a software before knowing its full capabilities.
- The virtual world is growing fast - businesses need to keep one step ahead and identify what the next tech solution for their event will be and identify better products on the market that will meet their audience’s needs.
- Overcome the challenges of not having face-to-face personal connectivity – at TVEC we try to replicate some of the touchpoints typically achieved face-to-face by bringing hybrid ideas into the digital format, for example sending beverages to clients in advance.
A huge factor and benefit to tech and virtual events is the lack of travel required to attend events, meetings and conferences. It’s now easier than ever to join these events from anywhere in the world.
Reducing resource use – physical events use a huge amount of paper, plastic and even energy, especially at larger venues. Virtual events have allowed a huge amount of this to be reduced and create a much more sustainable future.
John Saunders is CEO and Founder of UK-based The Virtual Event Company (TVEC). TVEC is also represented in Paris and Chicago.