Event organizers are still reeling from the abrupt and forced transition to online networking, hangouts, and work. So much of what used to take place in person now happens online. We all know that streaming requires good internet, but a high-quality and effective virtual event requires a completely different approach, and different customers require a different strategy to achieve retention.
Organizing a virtual party or conference requires less financial resources than an offline one. However, to make an event truly successful, you definitely need to invest some resources. First of all, it is important to choose a platform for holding your online party, decide on the format of the event, and settle on an agenda.
Let’s go through our checklist for what an ideal virtual event should include.
Holding corporate meetings and large conferences in an online format has many advantages:
Of course, the advantages listed above should work for you, assuming you’ve taken a competent approach to organize and host an online event. We highly recommend writing down a virtual party checklist so as not to miss any important points. Here you can find a printable party planning checklist for free.
The preparation process can take more time and effort than you might expect at first glance. Here are our recommendations on how to make this type of event as productive as possible.
✅ Define the purpose of the virtual event
Do you want to host a useful webinar? Host an event for one customer? Or implement it for several sponsors? In any case, the goal and objectives must be determined in advance. The purpose of your virtual event should be clear for everyone interested and invited to it. It’s better to write it down so that it can guide you through your planning process.
✅ Calculate a budget for your virtual party or conference
Your biggest expense when organizing a virtual event will be in the technology needs. Do not skimp on this point since it affects almost everything. And keep in mind that virtual parties do not include expenses that in-person meetings usually require. So, in the end, you will save money.
✅ Set time frames
The duration of an attendee’s stay will vary, from 30 minutes to several hours. Please note that the attention span of online participants is much lower compared to that of people attending an event in person. So focus on shorter time intervals.
✅ Create a website for the event
The website is the face of your virtual event. Through it, you attract participants, sponsors and communicate with them. A quick glance at the site header should motivate the visitor to register. Otherwise, they may leave forever. Place detailed information on the date and time of the event, program, and list of experts on the website.
✅ Organize convenient ways for attendees to register
Decide how you will register for the event: on the event’s website, on social networks, on TimePad, etc. Think about what information you need to receive from participants, but do not make the registration form too cumbersome.
✅ Choose a platform for your virtual party
Analyze the available platforms and service packages that different services offer. Check how many users and the duration of the conference they are designed for, how much information can be downloaded to them, whether participants will need to install additional programs and plug-ins, whether there is an option to record video and audio, and any other technical necessities.
✅ Integrate sponsors
If your virtual party somehow involves the presence of sponsors, come up with integrations that will be useful for them: an online exhibition, placement of banners and logos, online rooms for communication with participants, and so on.
✅ Check how ready you are
Sometimes something as simple as a dead laptop or the lack of a charger can disrupt an online event. The possibility of such force majeure should be excluded.
✅ Check the audio and video broadcast
At the start of the video conference, be sure to verify that participants aren’t experiencing any problems with the audio and video broadcast. Checking will help you avoid technical issues and your audience will not have to be distracted during the event.
✅ Track audience activity
We would recommend involving two observer-moderators per virtual party or conference. One will be responsible for the technical aspects while the other will monitor the involvement of the participants and the questions coming from them.
✅ Remember the importance of communication
After each block of information, be sure to check with the guests to confirm that everything is clear and answer any questions that may have come up. Participants with the most interesting questions will be useful to connect to the broadcast and let them speak. Encourage guests to share their thoughts, address attendees by name, and allow yourself to be interrupted. In a word, do everything so that the conference remains a conference and does not turn into an online lecture.
✅ Help guests access the content during the virtual event
Explain to guests how and where they can access the content they need after the conference is over. Will it be the usual email distribution, use of cloud services, or direct download from the conference platform?
✅ Pay attention to networking
Event participants want to communicate. Create a comfortable atmosphere in a messenger or other special service. Don’t let chatting take its course: engage participants with polls, suggest topics for discussion, set communication rules, define taboo topics, and enter hashtags.
✅ Prepare and collect feedback
Collecting the impressions and thoughts of all the attendees will help you to measure virtual event success and improve further meetings. Prepare and send a survey to the attendees so that they can easily share their thoughts. It is also recommended to make an anonymous survey.
✅ Analyze the data from your virtual event
Once you gather the data, it’s time to dive deeper into it. Analyze the goals of your virtual party and consider how many of them were implemented successfully. Analyze the pitfalls and mistakes so as not to repeat them in the future.
✅ Present the results
Even if it was a virtual party and not a scientific conference, it is important to define the result. Present the event’s successes, areas of improvement, attendee testimonials, and other important points. This way you will collect third-party opinions and ideas which you can implement in the future.
One thing that has become clear is that the future of offline events is still evolving. No one knows what to expect tomorrow, in a week, a month, or a year. The only thing that seems clear is that the demand for digital, hybrid, and online events will only continue to grow.
We hope this article as well as the party planning checklist will help you prepare for your virtual event in the best way possible!
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