Communicate has listed the general strategies and practices to bear in mind.
Earlier Communicate covered the pros and cons of creating a virtual event and how it provides an opportunity for brands and organizations, who had events lined up for the year, a chance to showcase not only their planned event but also their resilience, in the face of adversity.
For those who are confused about how to get the ball rolling on hosting a virtual conference, Communicate has listed the general strategies and practices to bear in mind :
Create an agenda and game plan
The two important factors to keep in mind while hosting a virtual conference is to provide context and value. A schedule of loosely based sessions will only leave the audience feeling lost and confused. It’s vital to create a game-plan beforehand and answer the following questions :
After answering the following questions, you must lead with a theme. Leading the sessions, webinars under an overarching theme will help deliver real context and value to your audience.
Utilize live video streaming and video in general
The audience’s attention span is very unstable these days, and a slide-based presentation might not be the best bet, if the plan is to keep the audience engaged and provide value. Many of the platforms for hosting webinars today support videoconferencing capabilities. With a few extra software tools, you can even broadcast a live session as well. When audiences are able to see a human talking on the other side, it tends to make for a more engaging and personalized attendee experience.
Promote the event
This one’s a given no matter whether it’s on the ground or virtual. A good promotion strategy is vital to bring in a large number of people to your event. The strategy involves utilizing all the platforms available at your disposal, and using your key selling points such as -speakers, subject matter, etc to lure in the audience. Adobe believes that ‘when’ you promote your event is even more important, stating that registration rates usually tend to increase 2-3 weeks prior to an event.
Keep the session interactive
Even though virtual events don’t allow the opportunity for face to face networking, there are other ways to engage with the audience and keep the sessions interactive. Meeting and webinar platforms such as Zoom come with comprehensive chat features that enable discussions during sessions, as well as the ability to break out into one-on-one conversations with other attendees afterward. Some online event platforms feature audience polling capabilities, which provides room for a lot of interactivity with the audience. It’s important to note that the degree to which the virtual session can be made interactive will vary, depending on the size of the audience.
Virtual events are bound to experience multiple hassles whether it’s network connectivity, presentation glitches, etc. In the event of such issues, being prepared with a contingency plan would help save a lot of time and minimizes the risk of losing the audience. If resources are available, setting up a strong customer support team to assist attendees, with queries and network issues, would help position the entire conference as a professional effort. It’s not only important for the host and team to be prepared, but the speakers as well. As much as possible, have your speakers run through presentations ahead of time, and store backups of the presentation in the event of connectivity issues.
Probably the only thing missing in a virtual conference right now is the complimentary croissants and coffee that every attendee can’t help themselves to. Jokes apart, it’s fascinating to realize that these tools have been around for a while, but no one ever thought to utilize them until now. The current situation is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way people behave and it will be interesting to see how this shift will affect the events industry in the coming years.