How Does a Virtual Event Work: A Breakdown
Hosting virtual events is an essential skill. The coronavirus pandemic makes it nearly impossible to have massive public events. But virtual events also help a company expand its clientele online.
The massive benefits mean that many businesses are trying out a virtual event. Nearly three-quarters of event planners have transitioned to online platforms.
Despite the massive amount of virtual events, many companies are struggling. They ask, “How does a virtual event work? What can I do to run one?”
Understand some basic concepts and you can launch a great virtual event in no time. Here is your quick guide.
Select a Platform
There are many online platforms you can choose to host a virtual event. The platforms depend on the kind of event you are running.
Zoom is perhaps the most famous platform. It charges 40 dollars a month for one host and up to 100 participants. It is best for small events that you are not charging to get into.
GoToWebinar is very similar to Zoom. It charges 59 dollars a month for one host and 100 participants. You can use it for small events, including in-company gatherings.
Microsoft Teams is designed for gatherings with thousands of people. The platform incorporates Microsoft tools like PowerPoint, making it easy to present information.
If you want to save money entirely, you can run a live stream on YouTube or Facebook Live. You can interact with the audience by reading their comments and responding to their questions. This is best for a presentation or for showcasing a service or product.
A virtual event platform offers more features than a webinar like Zoom. Software can contain multiple presentation tracks, virtual tradeshows, and other tools. These are best for complicated events you are charging for.
There are many things you have to plan out for in advance, regardless of what event you are running. You should have adequate sound and lighting.
The speakers may be at home, but they need to look and sound good. Run a practice drill in which you see how they appear on screen. Send them lights or a microphone if they need additional tools.
Each speaker should prepare something to say. You or your communications team should evaluate all remarks. You don’t have to script word-for-word, but you should have a clear understanding of everything that will happen.
Send your speakers and organizers material about what should happen at the event. Once they’ve reviewed the material and written their own, schedule a rehearsal. Give the speakers feedback on what to do.
Decide how you want people to learn about and register for the event. If you are organizing a small and free event, you can use Google Forms or the contact function on your website. For something that is more expensive, you should create a special page for registration.
You can expedite the management process by hiring an event planner. Organizations like Event Nation find venues, handle registration, and provide amenities.
You should have at least one speaker from your company. It can be the CEO, CCO, or another important person. They should talk about what the company is engaging in.
But you don’t have to limit yourself to your corporate heads. If there is a lower-ranking employee who has something to say, let them speak. Consider making them the master/mistress of ceremonies, introducing all the other speakers.
Celebrity speakers can be useful. Hiring a celebrity can draw people into an event. They can entertain the audience, especially toward the middle or end of the event.
But they can be expensive. You also don’t want to select a celebrity who is controversial or does not associate well with your brand. It can be tempting to hire a famous stand-up comedian, but you may not want that kind of levity.
Think broadly if you do decide on a celebrity speaker. You can turn to an athlete, politician, or activist. You can select a motivational speaker if you want to inspire your audience.
Select a good keynote speaker. They should serve as the main point of your event, encapsulating the entire experience. Whoever you pick, work with them carefully and give them extra attention.
How to Host a Virtual Event
On your corporate social media pages, send out advertisements for the event at least a week in advance. For paid events, you want to send out them out even earlier. Make sure you provide a reminder the night before.
As guests arrive, have music playing and visuals showing. Keep the mood light and entertaining.
Try to stay on time. It’s understandable if you are one or two minutes late, but guests will leave after a while. Stick to a tight schedule from speaker to speaker.
Have someone introduce the event and talk a little about the guest speakers. This introduction shouldn’t last very long. Proceed right into the meat of the event itself.
If you are doing breakout rooms, plan out who will be in which room in advance. Send people out quickly.
If you are doing a Q&A, ask people to raise their hands. Typing in chat all at once will prevent any one comment from being read.
Have at least one person monitor the audience. Give them the authority to mute and unmute and to kick people out of the event.
You can run a formal and dignified event on Zoom. But make sure the audience is engaged. It is hard to maintain attention over a computer monitor, so give them tasks to perform at home.
How Does a Virtual Event Work?
How does a virtual event work? It works like a charm, provided you understand some basic procedures.
You need to pick a good webinar or virtual event platform. It should be one that accommodates your entire audience.
You need to plan out logistics, especially involving your speakers. Make sure they look and sound good. Pick a strong keynote speaker.
Organize the event on time and check over technical details. Make sure you can kick out unruly people.
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