It has been a year since the globe was turned on its head, and the world population was forced indoors. Companies and individuals alike had to scramble to find new ways of communicating with each other during lockdowns. Remote working has forced virtual communication to rapidly expand and improve to keep up with the increased need.
Whether you are running virtual team meetings, high-level management boardroom conferences, webinars and online summits, or, simply creating a virtual team-building to keep your team engaged and interactive, you will need to get everything fully organized in order to run the event.
We took a look at some of the top ways that you can run a successful event. From the more practical aspects that you need to take care of to some fun, interactive ideas, we unpack how you can make each virtual event interactive and memorable.
Splash Out With Some Unique Gifts
In order to leave a lasting impression from the event, why don’t you look at some unique ideas to thank your guests for joining you? By planning the event in advance, and gathering their details, you can plan surprise gifts to be delivered to the participants in time for the event.
This will create a great shared experience between everyone who is part of the event, despite not physically being together. You can pre-plan gift packages that include t-shirts for the event, branded gifts, documents or even a shared experience like games or music.
Another really interactive and unforgettable experience is sending all of the participants of the event shared treat or snack packages. Cocktail kits have also become increasingly popular due to the drop in company team-buildings and outings. Some of our favorites happen to be on this list of virtual happy hour cocktail kits by SnackNation, which range from sassy cocktail kits and snacks to tumblers and icebreakers.
Choose the Right Platform
The next thing to look at is your platform for your event. There are a number of platforms for you to choose from. Since the beginning of the pandemic and remote interactions, there have been a lot more that have popped up on the scene. Platforms like Zoom, Teams and WebinarJam are certainly some of the top choices, while social platforms like Facebook offer live feeds to audiences.
But, how do you go about choosing the right one for you? The first step would be to determine what kind of virtual event you are hosting. Are you running a webinar, with a few panelists joining together to discuss a topic while an audience joins? Is it an inter-company team meeting or a boardroom-style meeting? Will you need the event to be recorded? Does everyone need to be able to interact, or will the audience simply need to watch and ask texted questions?
These are all questions that you need to get out of the way before simply landing on a platform. Each of the available platforms offers different solutions with different plug-ins, so it could be worth your while doing some research into each one before simply sending out the meeting invite.
Pick Your Theme and Create a USP
If you are running a weekly team meeting or catch-up with your team, this may not be totally necessary. But, if you are creating a webinar, summit, or event to reach out to your audience, customers or potential customers, it is important to choose a unique selling point.
Your audience will have tons of virtual events to join, from concerts and live music, to educational, industry-specific meetings and summits. So, while you are conceptualizing the event, map out what the unique aspect of the event is.
What will your audience be gaining from joining it? Who are the speakers and influencers in the event? What will the audience be taking away from it? What are the key learnings? Once you have this mapped out, you can start creating your marketing material around it and promoting it.
Brief Everyone Involved Carefully
Usually, with these events, especially webinars and summits, you will have someone managing the overall part of the event. You will most likely also have other participants and contributors like speakers who will be tasked with providing their insights and experience. Each of these participants will need to be properly briefed prior to the event for it to run smoothly.
We highly recommend, especially in the case of a live webinar, creating a dry-run with all the participants a week before the event. This is important for everyone to get used to the platform, to check the connectivity and to introduce the speakers if they do not already know each other. It also allows the opportunity for all involved to go through their talking points and how the event will run.
Appoint a moderator, or MC of the event who will kick the event off, introduce the other participants, and direct the flow of the discussion. They are vital as they are tasked with keeping the conversation flowing and posing questions to the participants at the right time. Unprepared, your entire event is most certainly at risk of being a failure.
Promote Audience Engagement
Remember, your audience has most likely been taking part in virtual events for the better part of the year. They have been on hundreds of Zoom calls and sat through endless virtual meetings. So, make sure that during your event, they have a bit of engagement.
Promoting questions during the event to be answered by the panel is a great way of ensuring that they have not lost concentration halfway through the event and have gone off to play with the cat or soothe the toddler. Polls are also a great way of keeping the audience live and active.
Linking their social platforms to the event is also a good way to give each participant an identity, especially if you are running a large event. The rest of the audience as well as the participants can have a view of their handles and profiles popping up to recognize who is in the audience.
If you are running a company team meeting, or team-build, encourage the attendees to dress uniformly or create a theme for the event. It is also important, especially during these long management meetings to push your team to “check-in”. A quick camera on and a ‘hi’ to everyone will ensure that all involved are still actively participating
The world has certainly changed radically over the last year, and it is anticipated that this will certainly be the new normal. Whether virtual events will dominate in popularity for the foreseeable future remains to be seen. But, in the meantime, companies and businesses will need to get used to doing business virtually and connecting with customers, clients and employees on these virtual platforms.