How to successfully host a virtual event
How to successfully host a virtual event

How to successfully host a virtual event

If there is one thing, we can all agree on, it’s that the Covid-19 pandemic helped us all rethink how we plan and schedule events. The majority of businesses or educators who had in-person events planned very quickly moved to a virtual event. They were a great way of bringing people together and business moving as normal. 

Even before the pandemic, online events were a popular choice. They offer a number of opportunities and experiences that face-to-face and in-person events don’t. For example, a diary can change in a day and before you know it, you’ve not left enough time to travel to the event, something has cropped up that needs your attention. When events are digital, you can sign in to watch without it disrupting your day, and most virtual events are recorded so if you did miss it, you can watch it back.  

With lockdowns easing, many businesses are reviewing options to continue moving forward online. Whether that be a live session, a pre-recorded session, or a hybrid of the two. All options work and I’d say it depends on what you aim to get out of it or what level of interaction you require (i.e., Q&A sessions, collaborative working). Best of all, a virtual event works regardless of audience size too.

How can I make my virtual event a success?

  • Make it relevant: Of course, you know what type of event you want to host. You need only ask yourself if it is an event you will want to attend as an audience. One good way to do this is to create people’s interest in the event. For instance, you can do this by announcing to your target audience what they stand to gain from attending the event.
  • Differentiate from others: The goal is to differentiate your event from others and make it worth attending!
  • Get the timing right: Consider the time zone of your speakers and audience before making a final decision. You don’t want your audience staying up late while waiting for the event to start. More likely than not, they might decide to skip the event altogether. 
  • Brief your speakers carefully: Your speakers and their interaction with the live audience can make or break your event. Some speakers are very fun to engage within a Q&A session. Some are only good at giving lengthy prose speeches. 
  • Choose your platform wisely: There are many platforms you can use, and many of these are free. The two most used or most heard of are Zoom (a personal favourite) and Microsoft Teams. The type of Platform you choose should depend on the type of event you want to host. However, the cost of hosting an event over a long period can also influence your choice of platform. For instance, Microsoft Teams has integrated with office 356 subscription. Zoom on the other hand is widely regarded as the undisputed leader when it comes to video communications! Even better is the fact that you do not need to make any subscription to get started on Zoom. Zoom also allows for refined networking thanks to its immersive virtual breakout rooms. 
  • Consider specialist services: My top tip for any event is to have an event producer, someone who can help fix slides whilst you’re engaging with the audience, someone who can allow people into the room once the session has started. This is also an area we can assist with as part of our event management service. 
  • Make attendees feel involved: Regardless of the type of event you host, it is important to carry your audience along. Doing this helps guarantee that they are more likely to talk about the event with their friends. Hence, spread your brand awareness even more!
  • Remind people it’s happening: Lastly, send out reminders to your guests as well as your speakers a week to the event. Sending out a reminder very early on the day of the event also won’t hurt!

The benefits of Virtual Events just make it a highly rewarding avenue to connect with your audience. Creating well-optimised content for your virtual events, especially hybrid virtual events, can also go a long way in improving your brand awareness in ways in-person events might not be able to. 

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