Building Your Own Virtual Experience
Planning an event is challenging enough on its own. It takes patience, resilience, and creativity to lead a team to make an event. The online world presents itself with specific obstacles not frequently faced with event planning, but the premise of an event remains the same.
What is the goal of your event or experience? Who are you hoping shows up? What do you want the experience to look and feel like? What do you want your guests to leave with?
These are all answerable questions regardless of the virtual or in-person status of an event, but it's important to get your bearings on what makes a good virtual event.
A New Approach
Set a Goal
A clearly stated goal at the beginning of an event helps everyone understand purpose and intent. It's critical to tell your guests why it's important they are spending more time than they now already have to on their computers. Be clear and concise about this; it will benefit you and your guests in the long run as it will guide you on decisions such as platform, content, and event design.
You are the Curator
Although it's virtual, it's now more important than ever to bring in energy and design an experience your guests won't forget. As the creator, you are responsible for knowing what your attendees want to get our of the event.
How do you want to engage your attendees? Breakout rooms, polls, and chat are all great options, but decide wisely because you'll want to ensure you're engaging your specific audience the right amount, and you know them best.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Okay, you've created your experience, now you have to know your content. Practice your program as though it's the real deal to deliver a flawless experience to your guests. You will get more comfortable leading, creating, and managing events online the more you practice.
Virtual Event Checklist
Here are a list of items to keep on your radar as you get closer to the event:
List out your goals. Keep track of where you're at to stay ahead and avoid overwhelming yourself.
Research. Know what platform will best support your event and guests
Send all tech support contact info. Phone number, name, email, etc.
Decide on engagement strategies. Breakout rooms, polls, chat, etc.
Draft a script. Be sure to include an introduction, any speaker presentations/bios, transitions between speakers or activities, and a closing.
Hold a prep meeting. This gives speakers a chance to practice and edit their sections accordingly from your feedback and you a chance to go over everything tech-related to ensure all tech issues are sorted out prior to the event
Add finishing touches. Add polls questions & answers, plan breakout rooms, practice script for head movement, tone, and voice inflection.
24 hours prior. Send all registrants, speakers, and staff a reminder email with login instructions, start time and length of event, and your contact info.
2 hours before. Send this email one more time.
Go time! Follow your script, watch the chat, and run polls and breakout rooms as they come up. You've got this!
Curate your event for the online world, not for an in-person gathering. This means engaging through the virtual platform, expecting many moving parts, and adapting quickly to changes.
Take a deep breath. Acknowledge that this is a difficult shift to online and know that your fears and reservations are valid. But the show must go on. You can persevere and create an amazing virtual experience.
Practice. This is perhaps the one thing that could make or break the event. By practicing the event, you are giving yourself the opportunity for live feedback and getting the pace and feel for the event.
Choose the right platform. As mentioned, each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so it's important for you to research each option and see which one will best suit your organization and event. Picking the right one will positively impact your event.
Every good virtual experience or event will have tech support. Still need it for your event? We've got you covered! Click here for more info.