We previously shared some pre-event tips that can help you have a successful virtual event as well as useful planning tips for identifying your event goals. We want to continue that conversation, as that is only part of the virtual event planning journey. In this countdown, we are sharing 5 tips that we have found useful for event organizers DURING their events.
1. Engaging Content (Sessions, Speakers, Etc)
Virtual event content can be challenging at times. Just because something may be considered engaging for in-person events, does not always mean it will translate to a virtual setup. Your attendees want to see engaging and exciting speakers, they do not want to attend a virtual event that is a series of ‘talking heads. Plan engaging sessions that involve active participation and keep the attention of your attendees through the event. Although in a virtual environment, you can opt for pre-recorded sessions, which many might fear may cause a lack of engagement, you can build engagement opportunities around the recorded session, such as a live Q & A with the speaker after the session. Some event organizers have created their ‘Request for Proposals’ to include a video submission of a session segment. This allows you to gauge if it is an appropriate session for a virtual space, or if you want to reserve it as a future in-person session. In an upcoming post, we will explore some tips on supporting your speakers and helping them prepare for a virtual environment.
2. Structured and Unstructured Networking Opportunities
Many event attendees often look for opportunities for networking with others. Some even say that is why they prefer in-person events. Networking is essential to keep your audience engaged, no matter when or where your content is. With virtual events, it can be tricky but not impossible as there are so many creative ways to create networking opportunities within your platform allowing for your attendees to create authentic connections. A few ways we have seen organizers implement intentional networking activities for their attendees are:
- Provide a central location or social lounge for all attendees to meet online
- Offer a matchmaking service for all attendees
- Utilize separate rooms or breakout rooms for networking groups
- Leave transition times between meetings or sessions
- Don’t close the virtual doors once the event finishes
3. Interactive components
Interaction can fit into the engaging category as well, but as a virtual event organizer, you want to think outside of the box and not just have engaging and interactive sessions but also overall interaction opportunities. Incorporating interaction into your event and event platform is a great way to keep your virtual event a memorable one.
A few options to consider:
- Gamification (scavenger hunts, trivia, raffles, etc)
Gamification is one of the best ways to get your attendees interacting and exploring all that platform and event has to offer. With Engagez the gamification options are unlimited! In a future post we will help you brainstorm some creative and innovative ways to incorporate a gaming component to your event.
- Live Q & A sessions
We have previously discussed Q & A sessions in a post, but these are a great addition to a virtual event as it allows your attendees an opportunity to interact with speakers, VIP guests, or other presenters at your event.
- Social media
Many event organizers incorporate live social media feeds and event hashtags to encourage their virtual audience to interact throughout the event. This also adds additional promotion for the event as your attendees, sponsors and speakers share about it on their social media platforms.
Encourage your participants to have conversations with one another, speakers, and sponsors!
4. Prepare to troubleshoot
Ensure that you have plenty of resources available for troubleshooting. In a virtual environment, it is common for attendees to have technical questions or experience difficulties that arise during the event. Having a technical support option can offer support for your attendees but also support you as the event organizer so that you can focus on having a smooth run of show.
Troubleshooting might also mean ensuring that there are moderators on hand in case things get out of control. A negative experience at any point of the day will be what your attendees remember and moderators are a great way to offer support and reminders throughout the event. Remember: Not everyone is as polite online as they are offline!
5. Clear Agenda
You don’t want your attendees to be waiting around or confused about where they need to be or what is going on. This could lead to attendees missing key sessions or important information. Prepare a clear agenda with the time frames clearly listed and include any relevant links, so that participants can plan ahead. To help keep your attendees on track with the agenda but also alert them to off agenda items, such as sponsor booths, social lounges, or prize announcements, you can incorporate the use of broadcast messaging throughout your event.
Many of our Engagez users put together a short introduction video that points attendees in the direction of the agenda and where to access the relevant information. This is a great way to kick start your event as it can serve as an introduction to the event platform and provide clarity on how to access the key items on your event agenda.
Following these tips will keep you on track for a successful virtual event that will keep your attendees excited. In an upcoming post in this series, we will explore crucial POST EVENT tips to keep you engaged with your attendees after the event.