Over the past seven months, most people have participated in their fair share of virtual meetings, events or tradeshows, and it is safe to assume they didn’t all run smoothly. A poorly executed event can result in low attendance and even lower engagement. The key to running a successful virtual event is keeping people engaged and entertained, as well as flawless execution, which can only be achieved through strategic and thorough preparation.
First, companies must consider who will be running the event and choose a platform that works well for the host and presenters to operate. Secondly, but equally as important, a company must consider the ease of use for attendees. If a platform needs to be downloaded, make that clear from the beginning. Be sure to provide attendees with proper log-in information – well in advance. Companies also should consider platforms that can be easily used on both mobile and desktop to accommodate all attendees. Also consider how the functionality of the platform for your event use. If attendees will need to ask questions, what is the functionality of the platform’s question/answer feature? If the presenter(s) need to share video, what is the ease of video sharing with a specific platform? If the session needs to be viewed again at a later date, does the platform offer recording and future downloads?
If audio or video are not working properly, what is the backup plan? While it isn’t necessary to provide backup information to attendees up front, be sure to have a contingency plan, with log-in information available to send to attendees on the spot in case of a last-minute failure.
Ensure the host and presenters have quality cameras, microphones and internet connection available. If a presenter is working from home, be sure there are not others working (or schooling) from home at the same time in order to avoid bandwidth issues. A hardwire internet, rather than using Wi-Fi, can help mitigate bandwidth issues as well.
When using multiple presenters in one location, be sure to physically distance them in order to minimize any possible confusion, distraction or audio feedback issues. Plus, two brains are always better than one when navigating any potential technical issues that may arise.
When appropriate, consider sending packages to attendees in advance for use during the meeting. Whether the packages contain product samples that are being featured on the call or fun and creative giveaways meant to surprise and delight attendees, guests will appreciate the opportunity to be hands on even in the virtual world.
Be sure to host a dry run with all presenters 4-7 days in advance and be sure to start your event well ahead of the designated start time to root out any technical issues and ensure quality video and audio. Consider having neutral parties involved as attendees so the host can practice facilitating the event while the presenters practice presenting content.
Taking the necessary measures to ensure your virtual event runs smoothly builds confidence in the execution of the event so the host and presenter(s) can focus on delivering quality and engaging content to all attendees.