In this day and age, we don't need to be physically present at events. We can attend virtual meetings, conferences, and presentations online using platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
But while these tools make it easy to connect with others virtually, they also provide you with a lot more flexibility than a traditional venue would—and it's up to you to make the most of that opportunity.
If you're planning a virtual event, here are some tips on how best to use them!
Set a Date
Choose a date that works for everyone. This is important to ensure that you get the right people in attendance. If you're planning a virtual event for your company, ask around and see when everyone is available. You can also use tools like Eventbrite to make it easy for guests to sign up and RSVP.
Make sure you have enough time to plan and prepare. A virtual event doesn't have to be planned in a day. It's important to give yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare for your event, especially if it's your first one! You'll want to make sure you have enough time on your side so that you can get everything set up properly. This includes making sure that the technology works (and making sure there are no glitches), as well as getting all of the materials ready for guests.
Consider the time zone of your audience. If you have a large audience, it's important to consider the time zone of your audience. If you're hosting an international virtual event, make sure that the time is convenient for everyone involved.
Create an Agenda
Once you’ve decided on your theme and date, it’s time to create an agenda. You want to start with a welcome that gets people excited about what they are about to see and do. Describe how everyone will interact with one another during the event, if there will be breaks or lunches, and how you want them to interact online.
A call-to-action (CTA) is important at the end of every event because it allows people to share what they have learned from your speakers or presenters so that others may benefit from their knowledge as well!
Pick a Virtual Platform
With the myriad of virtual platforms available, it can be hard to decide which one is best for your event.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on the best platform:
- Choose a platform that's easy to use. If you're going to be creating your own content and broadcasting from afar, you'll want a virtual platform that's simple enough for you and/or your team members to master quickly.
- Choose one that works with your audience. If most of your attendees use iPhones but the platform only works on Android phones, then there may be technical difficulties during the event that require assistance from the company hosting it (which will cost more money). Consider whether or not attendees have access to certain programs or devices before choosing a platform—this also means making sure everyone has updated operating systems and browsers installed so there aren't any compatibility issues!
- Select one that meets all of your needs as an organizer/hoster (and speaker!). You don't want anything getting in between you and giving off great vibes during this special occasion! Remember though: don't just think about what YOU need but also how WELL IT WORKS FOR EVERYONE ELSE IN THERE WITH YOU AS WELL - because at heart this isn't just about YOURSELF...it's about THEM too!!
Send Invites and Reminders
After you've created your event, it's time to send invites. This is the fun part—but it also requires careful planning. You want as many people as possible to show up at your event, so sending invitations that include a link to the registration page is essential.
If you're hosting a live webinar or conference call, be sure to include a reminder email before the event begins as well as another one during (or immediately after) for those who may have missed something important earlier on in the call.
Set the Tone
Whether you're hosting a virtual event for the first time or the fiftieth, it's important to set an upbeat tone. Here are some tips for how to do that:
- Use friendly language and avoid business jargon. Your goal is to create an atmosphere of casualness, not formality.
- Emoticons! Use them liberally while conversing with your audience members so that they can tell you're having fun. A few suggestions: :) , o_O , ಠ_ಠ , ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , π, ⊙ω⊙ (That last one isn't an emoticon; it's just a math symbol.)
- Emojis work too! Be sure to include both positive and negative ones in order to demonstrate your balanced approach as hostess of this virtual party—just don't overdo it on any one side lest you end up alienating half of your guests in what could otherwise have been a perfectly pleasant evening together
Share Important Details
The next step is to share details about the event. This includes the name, date, and time of your event. It’s also good to include any travel or accommodation information if you know that people will be traveling from out of town. You might also want to include dietary requirements or other special requests like “no balloons” or “no clowns.”
Engage and Interact with Your Audience
You’re the expert, so you know your stuff. As the host of a virtual event, however, it’s important to ask questions and solicit feedback from your audience. This way they can feel like they have an active role in shaping the discussion and learning experience.
If you want attendees to engage with each other as well as with you, consider hosting a Q&A session or asking on Twitter if anyone has any questions during breaks throughout your virtual event.
You can also use polls or surveys to get more specific responses from attendees and determine which areas need further explanation or clarification (and then provide that clarification!).
Make Sure You Have Backup Plans
One of the biggest challenges you'll face as a planner is ensuring that your event runs smoothly. The best way to do this is by making sure you have backup plans for all possible scenarios. That includes having backups for technical issues, venue problems, and even unexpected weather conditions.
Don't forget about other common-sense things like making sure your guests know how long their travel time should be, so they don't arrive late or let someone else know where they are if there is any delay in schedule changes - especially if those delays occur during driving times!
Planning a virtual event is no easy feat. It takes time, effort, and energy, but if you have the right tools and information to get started on this project, it’ll be a lot less stressful than it could be. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to planning the perfect virtual event!
To learn more about improving your event planning techniques, get on the waiting list for the 2023 Event Planner Expo in New York where you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the best event planners in the industry.