With more and more companies turning to online events to engage their customers and internal teams to communicate their messages, it is critical to get things right in this new world.
We have pulled together the teams' experiences of setting up and managing virtual events into a collection of handy tips and insights, all broken down into logical segments. We have also incorporated the good, the bad and the ugly we’ve seen when attending quite a few virtual events ourselves.
One key thing to remember is that you cannot replicate a face to face event online, you need to change the format up and keep your audience engaged - be creative!
Make it interactive
- Use the chat and Q&A facilities offered during your conference
- Use different apps for polls and Q&A sessions - ask us about our favourites
- Give opportunities for networking in breakout ‘rooms’ if appropriate
- Create ‘hashtags’ for online presence, consider a social media wall or banner on screen
- Add entertainment – quizzes, bingo, poetry readings - easy and free to do
- Add virtual entertainment – music performances, virtual drumming activities, cooking experiences!
- Open the call early and keep people engaged by using music and visual content
- More than ever this needs to be considered and accounted for
- Ask how people are!
- Incorporate mindfulness or meditation sessions to open or close the call
- Encourage stretching and combined opportunities to move about
- Create a cloud/mood board of how people are feeling
- Make sure people are invested, involvement is key!
- Keep sessions short and snappy
- Implement plenty of virtual coffee breaks
- Get your event branding sorted to use across invitations, presentations and backdrops
- Make it visual! Use videos and photos instead of just PowerPoint
- Use a theme to bring people together - introduce a colour dress code, or wear a hat
- Make it accessible – consider live streaming to channels such as YouTube and Facebook live
- Engage a compere or Host to bring the whole event together
- Ensure delegate communications are clear and on brand. This will be their first impression of the event and of your company
- Give it a personal touch! Don’t just send a standard invite
- Provide clear joining instructions – share information about the call, the content and what they can expect
- If you are recording the call you need to let people know
- Introduce call etiquette – don’t presume people will know the dos and don'ts
- Send call details more than once and send a countdown reminder on the day
- Have one person as a point of contact so it's more personal
Content and speakers
- Provide clear briefings for speakers
- Make sure there is plenty of rehearsal time to ensure everyone is comfortable
- If there is a panel session make sure all people rehearse together
- Engage a compere or host to bring the event together - you will have other things to concentate on behind the scenes!
- Remember it's the same as being on stage – in fact you're being watched more closely!
- Make sure your key message is at the centre of everything you’re doing
- Think about how your message will translate online compared to face to face
- Provide speaker tips - don’t sit in front a of a window, consider your environment
- Remind key people to put phones on silent
- Don’t assume that everyone knows how to use the technology
- Set-up drop in sessions for people to test equipment and login details
- Offer technical support and make sure people have the support team's contact details
- Check that the latest software is installed and advise your audience to test their login
- Offer equipment bundles for speakers – include laptops and good quality headphones and webcams
- Ask presenters to connect to hard wired internet or have WiFi back up such as using mobile data
- As with a live event, it doesn’t finish when the call finishes
- Post event comms are more important than ever
- Check in with how people are feeling as well as to collate feedback
- Share take aways from presentations – make them visual and follow up on all actions
- Create a highlights call to share with people who couldn’t attend
- Thank people for attending – make it personal
- Keep connected and keep the momentum
So there you have it, a whole bunch of useful tips to help make sure your online events engage your audience and leave them wanting to know when your next event is.
ZiaBia is an events consultancy with experience delivering both face to face and online events for clients of all sizes, in locations around the globe.
If you want to know more about how we can help you, please get in touch and we’d be delighted to hear about what you’re looking to do and let you know where we fit in.