Best Practices for Online Events
Tip #1: Practice Until it is Perfect
Technology often creates unexpected situations, especially during live online events. It is always important to have great audio and a strong internet connection when leading an online meeting, workshop or event. Even better to have an extra laptop on hand in case something goes awry if you are the primary person leading the meeting or event.
Doing a few "practice runs" or "dress rehearsals" of the event before you go live will help ensure a seamless experience for all. Do a sound checks a few weeks prior to the event, the day before and the day of - just to make sure you the best possible equipment and to ensure you are located in a good audio zone of your home or office. Not sure if your audio sounds good? Have a colleague or someone not in your home "call-in" to the platform so they can hear you and give feedback on your sound.
Tip #2: Be engaging
If you are gathering people together in an online format and expect the participants to be on webcam, then please make the experience engaging. An engaging online training, meeting or workshop is a better experience for everyone. We advise an opportunity for engagement every 6 to 8 minutes. Examples of engagement could be polls, a chance to participate in group chat, break out rooms, quizzes, games, trivia, etc. It is always good to create and offer structured break out rooms where participants can interact, share ideas and learn from one another. It takes time too curate an experience, so give yourself ample time for the planning process.
Tip #3: Determine your goals
What is the main goal of your organization's event? Determine a goal early as this will help you decide the online platform to use. The platform you choose should align with the goals of your event. Are you trying to build community? Then you might need a platform with breakout room capacity. Are you trying to assess learning? Then you might need a platform with polls, quiz function and a group chat box. Your online event goals should be one of the first steps in the planning process. Your goals will help you determine the type of platform to use for the event.
Tip #4: Have a back up plan
The best laid out plans can go awry. We have all learned that over the past few months. When it comes to technology, you need to have a back up plan. Your back up plan could incorporate pre-recorded videos, back up internet and tech support -- even if you think know everything -- something will always happen. We generally have one tech support person per 25 people. This ensures that everyone can login and that the lead presenter/s also have the support that they need.
Tip #5: Think about your audience
It is prudent to think about your audience and what online event structure aligns with your audience. What platforms does your audience know and have they used before? Having an idea about the comfort level of your audience with various online platforms is a must before any online event. Bringing people together for a meeting using a new application? Well, you may spend 30 minutes just showing the participants the chatbox function. So, it is important to account for building the digital competency of your audience so they can engage.
Need assistance with your upcoming online event? We can help, check out details at www.nonprofitlearninglab.org/tech. We have provided support for meeting, trainings, workshops and events anywhere from 1 hour to 40 hours in length.