7 ways to keep all the life in your virtual events
Although I work for a videoconferencing provider, I eagerly await the day when we’re allowed to meet, shake hands, socialise, and close business again at live industry events. We are social creatures, wired for making and cultivating human connections in life and in business. However, with major industry events like Salesforce’s ‘Dreamforce’ event and even the Notting Hill Carnival going virtual, video platforms are offering a lifeline and also attracting global audiences that wouldn’t normally be able to attend.
Not all virtual events are getting rave reviews though. The most disappointing are those planned with considerably less ambition and rigour than their live counterparts. There is absolutely no reason your virtual event shouldn’t offer the best of live: high interaction, prominent keynote speakers, breakout sessions, networking opportunities, sponsors, and entertainment.
Virtual events do require different planning, skills, and best practices to run smoothly, look professional and ensure the safety and privacy of hosts and delegates. These seven tips will set you on the right path:
- Thoroughly brief speakers presenting from home - provide a checklist of tips to help speakers look and sound their best over video; what to show (and not show!) in the background; a reminder to ask family members not to interrupt and minimise background noise (mobiles on silent); and how to test audio and visual settings and equipment (speakers’ laptops or PCs should ideally connect via Ethernet cable rather than Wi-Fi). Lighting is crucial - for example, a bright sunny window behind a speaker can cast a dark shadow.
- Hold a ‘dress rehearsal’ - this ensures things run smoothly on the day. Your speakers will appreciate the opportunity to work out any kinks in their presentations. Your moderators can get comfortable with all the controls at their disposal in the videoconferencing system. IT can do a sound check on the network and devices being used.
- Set up host and unique passcodes for each attendee - do not publish passcodes anywhere in the public domain, including on social networks! This important safeguard helps ensure that only registered delegates attend your event. For the safety and security of all participants you should only use a system that has this capability. Here are more videoconferencing security tips.
- Assign multiple moderators - speakers should never be asked to also moderate. Slides will fill up their screens, obscuring the moderator controls. Ideally you should allocate a moderator for every 100 delegates to keep up with all the action. The moderators are also responsible for monitoring who is joining the event, muting/unmuting speakers, pushing the optimal video layout at the right time, promoting attendees, and responding to Q&A.
- Stimulate high engagement - nothing’s more painful than when delegates don’t engage. To avoid this, remind delegates of speakers and topics that will be covered ahead of time and urge them to bring questions. The host should explain up front how delegates can post questions in chat windows and ask questions on Twitter using the event hashtag.
- Nail the details - send your delegates at least two reminders with the joining instructions: one before the event and another on the same day. These reminders should also inform delegates if the event will be recorded. If you are recording, remember to hit the record button at the start! Some systems let you automatically record by default through the event settings. Hosts and moderators should join the event 30 minutes prior to start time to review the game plan, test and resolve any last-minute technical issues.
- Follow up - virtual events lend themselves very well to community building and content sharing, so remember to follow up afterwards with links to assets like presentations, recordings, and speakers’ LinkedIn profiles.
These seven tips are designed to help you and your team deliver virtual events that audiences will remember for all the right reasons - but they’re just a starter. Try BlueJeans Events for Free and see for yourself.