In 2020, the virtual events industry saw an unprecedented rise in demand and use all over the world. This was mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic that started taking its grip over the world in the early months of the year.
However, virtual events are not a new concept and have been around for a while now. Normally, brands and event organisers would use a virtual event as a way to save costs and take advantage of the other benefits such as increased reach and attendance.
With the travel restrictions in place currently, virtual seems to be the new normal for events for the foreseeable future. Keeping that in mind, here is a list of virtual events do’s and don’ts to make your next virtual event awesome!
What are Virtual Events?
Before we dive into the do’s and don’ts of virtual events, let’s take a look at what a virtual event actually is.
In essence, a virtual event is essentially an event that is hosted completely online. Due to the flexibility of the medium, a virtual event can take many forms such as webinars, virtual conferences, virtual trade shows, etc.
With a modern virtual event platform, it is possible to create any type of virtual event you can think about. Additionally, they also offer features like live chat, polls, Q/A, and more that helps in simulating the experience of a real event online.
Virtual Events Checklist
Now that we have a fairly decent idea of what a virtual event is, let’s take a look at some of the most important do’s and don’ts of virtual events.
Do note that this virtual events checklist is not exclusive but it can be considered as a nice starting point if you want to host an amazing virtual experience for your attendees.
1. Understand the importance of the initial trial and error phase –
If you have never used a virtual event platform before or have never hosted a virtual event before, there will be a learning curve involved in the process of hosting your first virtual event.
This is why it is important to have some time to tweak your virtual event set-up and go through a “trial and error” phase to set up everything just as you want. This applies to many technical aspects such as the design of the lobby spaces or speaker halls, tweaking the polls and games that will take place during the event, the design of the speaker window, and more.
DO: Go through a “trial and error” phase while setting up a virtual event.
DON’T: Expect everything to go smoothly with the initial set-up and test rigorously.
2. Have a dress code for anyone on-camera –
This might be a bit of a controversial point to make on a list of virtual events do’s and don’ts but it is important for speakers to look professional at your virtual event.
The speakers usually live-stream their sessions for virtual events and while it is not normal, some speakers may not dress up to the standard that you’re expecting. This is particularly true in the case of professional or networking events.
DO: Have a basic dress code for the virtual event.
DON’T: Allow speakers to take your event too casually, especially if you’re hosting a serious event.
Read More – Events That Can Go Virtual During A Pandemic
3. Take full advantage of the features provided by the virtual event platform –
A modern virtual event platform has a lot of powerful and interesting features that can be used to take your virtual event to the next level. This is why it is important to leverage the power of all the features provided and take advantage of them.
For example, most modern platforms offer some kind of engagement features like live chat, polls, quizzes, Q/A, and more. It is possible to use these features in a way that makes the virtual event much more interactive.
A lot of event organisers do not take the time to understand the different features provided by the virtual event platform they are using and instead just rely on the core features of the platform.
DO: Explore the features provided by the platform you’re using for your virtual event.
DON’T: Only rely on the core features provided by the platform.
4. Rehearse, recheck, and troubleshoot –
The last thing you want is for something to go wrong during a live virtual event. This is why it is important to rehearse, recheck, and troubleshoot as much as time permits when it comes to virtual events.
It is a good idea to let the speakers involved during the testing phase of the virtual event and allow them to rehearse their sessions on the platform so they can deliver it perfectly during the live event.
Additionally, you should always have a mindset of rechecking every aspect of the virtual event setup and be in the habit of constant troubleshooting. Depending on the virtual event service provider you’re using, you might have the benefit of live support that can help you with troubleshooting.
DO: Have a habit of rehearsing, rechecking, and troubleshooting.
DON’T: Be overconfident in your abilities or the speaker’s abilities.
5. Make more engagement the priority –
Lastly, one of the most important metrics for any kind of event is engagement. This is also true for a virtual event and engagement should be a priority if you’re hosting a virtual event.
As mentioned earlier, you should use engagement features as much as possible but you should also design the event in a way where engagement feels natural.
Ideally, you want your virtual attendees to be as engaged as possible and you should try to facilitate communication at every touchpoint in the flow of the event to maximize engagement.
Virtual is The New Normal
So far, 2020 has been the year of virtual events. Unfortunately, the main reason for the trend is a global pandemic. Yet, as the world will eventually get back to normal, it seems very likely that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay due to the many benefits they offer.