5 Tips for Designing and Hosting a Successful Virtual Event

Designing Virtual Events is very different. You cannot simply replicate a live event into a virtual space and expect to have the same outcome.  

Without the face-to-face element, interactions need to be carefully managed to bridge the online and physical worlds to maximize engagement and create unique moments. 

Here are 5 quick tips to help you to design and plan a successful Virtual Event:

1. Understand your Audience

Who is attending? What is the demographic and where are they from? Technology can be intimidating and logging into a zoom call is easier for some than others. It is good to get an understanding of how comfortable your guests are with such technology. For first timers, include a quick start guide and be sure to give them the support to make them feel at ease.  Choosing the right time for your virtual event is also important. You don’t want to schedule a morning event in Singapore when you have team members from London dialing in.

2. Adapt not Replicate 

Don’t make the mistake of simply copying the same format of your physical event into a virtual setting. Consider what is the objective of hosting the event and then decide the best format to maximize the engagement. An hour on Zoom can feel like half a day at an actual event. Virtual events can be draining and taxing on your guests so it is important to rethink the format to maintain the level of engagement. Participants can easily tune out, put the mute button on, and turn off their video. Everyone has a front row seat at your event and some have never been closer to the speaker than ever before. This presents a unique opportunity to create intimate moments with your participants. Shake up the format and consider playing some light games to keep the momentum going and engage participation between your group. 

3. Host and Facilitate

In a Virtual setting, your role as host is even more important. Beyond logistics, you’re also the timekeeper and facilitator to ensure a productive event. In a virtual setting, one screen is shared between multiple people talking and vying for screen time. For a start, it is important to set and share ground rules or etiquette like no phones and how to raise questions.  For the active speaker, it can be challenging to present and read everyone’s body language at the same time, so it’s important to continuously monitor how the group is reacting and manage that with the speaker.

4. Brand and Market

Add branding and sponsorship opportunities to your virtual events. Just like a stage backdrop, technology platforms like Skype and Zoom provide the option to select Virtual Backgrounds in your meetings. Create a branded wallpaper to keep that top of mind recall with your participants. Get creative and promote a cause or charity that your company is supporting during COVID-19 by weaving it into your content and presentation. 

5. Have Fun

Try injecting some fun into the experience to keep the experience real.  There are some great ideas to borrow from how the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon has adapted the show to keep their audiences engaged. They’ve even managed to double their viewership during these times! Surprise guest appearances from family members add an unexpected lightness to an event and proves that we are all adapting and coping in these unusual times and not everything has to be perfect. 

If you are planning to turn your virtual event into an experience, discover and book unique virtual private workshops or catered experiences for your next virtual event with TAB

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