Ever since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic in 2020, virtual events have taken precedent. This was done to keep everyone’s health and well-being in mind, but that doesn’t mean that event planning has suddenly become an easy task.
They may not be the same as in-person events, but virtual events come with their own sets of hiccups and potential pitfalls.
So, what can you do to avoid them? How should you go about planning a virtual event? Keep reading to learn more about virtual event planning.
Do: Have a Test Run
Among all the tips for holding virtual events, this might be the most important.
Get things situated before your virtual event. Have a test run with your own lights, camera, microphone, computer, and everything else, then ask other people to do the same.
Just like a wedding has a dress rehearsal before the big day, you should have one for your event. It doesn’t have to be nearly as long as the actual event might be, but even taking an hour or two to get everything situated beforehand can save many headaches down the road.
Don’t: Think of This Like a Video Conference
To host an effective virtual event, you can’t think of it like a Zoom call that you got ready for five minutes prior.
While you may be hosting an online conference, this isn’t a simple conference call.
No, you don’t have to commute, but you do have to take the time you need to make sure everything can function properly before the event.
If you’re in charge of the entire thing, you also need to make sure that other people involved have shown up. Plan a roll call and be sure that your communication channels are set up properly.
No matter how you do it, taking the time to set up beforehand or even following the five stages of event planning will make things easier for you in the long run.
Do: Schedule Breaks
If you’re hosting an all-day event or hosting something during office hours, it’s wise to set breaks for the event itself. Whether you want to get distracted or your audience seems like they’re not interactive two hours in, make sure you schedule some needed break time.
Don’t: Expect Constant Interaction
While setting breaks will help your audience remain engaged, it’s not going to be a strict guarantee. So, set some ground rules from the start. Be open about what you expect from your audience from the beginning and put in the effort needed to keep them engaged.
Whether your event is educational or something to be enjoyed, many people may even put it on as background noise.
While it’s unlikely that nobody will interact the entire time, you shouldn’t expect everyone in the audience to remain active throughout the entire event.
Do: Charge Your Devices
The worst thing you can do is have a device die in the middle of your event. Ideally, you should have everything plugged in during the event to eliminate any risk of this happening, but that isn’t always possible.
If you can’t have all of your devices plugged in, then have backups ready to go for when you need them.
Don’t: Rely on Only One
The biggest mistake you can make during your event is only relying on one device (or one battery) to get you through the entire thing. This is why having your devices plugged in the entire time can be beneficial.
You shouldn’t, however, only have one screen to run the entire event from.
Do: Ask for Help
Much like you should have backups ready for your devices, you should also have other people to help you during the event. Whether it’s with technology, the people you’re hosting, or how the entire thing will go, make sure you’re not alone when the day comes!
Your help also doesn’t have to only come on the day of the event.
In the days and weeks leading up, you should also keep a running list of the things that need to be done. From there, you can figure out if you’re able to take them on or if you need to ask some else to help out.
Don’t: Work Alone
Don’t put too much on your own plate. Hosting an entire event is not a one-person job, and you shouldn’t think of it as one.
Like in-person events come with a host or emcee, virtual events can come with a moderator or host of their own.
In some cases, you could even ask for participants to send in a video of them introducing the next act or speaker to add variety to your event. Different people are responsible for different aspects of the virtual event, much like they would be if the event were in-person.
The point here is not to overwhelm yourself and do not think that you have to do all of it yourself. While you may be capable, it’s usually unnecessary.
Have Fun With Your Virtual Event Planning
Reading this guide may have made you feel like virtual event planning is a tedious task, but it’s really no different from planning an in-person event. Having extra resources on hand to help with technical issues or other outages can help ensure that your event goes smoothly and safely. It’s also an extra opportunity to have fun from home!
Just because you’re hosting the event doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at it.
The secret to planning a successful virtual event is to have everything planned, from start to finish. Take the extra steps before, and you won’t have to worry later.
Contact us today to learn more about the Midlothian Conference Center.