Virtual events are all the rage these days!
The ability to communicate, inspire, and educate team members across departments (and the country), has never been easier.
With over 50% of workers admitting to doing other things during virtual calls and meetings, you need to captivate your audience from start to finish.
Not sure how it’s done?
Keep reading for our step-by-step guide on how to host a successful virtual event that entertains and motivates your entire team.
What Is a Virtual Event?
Is this your first time planning a virtual event- or hearing of one?
For those who don’t know, there are several types of virtual events to choose from. Webinars and live streams are the most common for small groups of between 3-5 people.
You can host a webinar for any reason or occasion. These include:
- Boosting company morale
- Conferencing with other employees within a business
- Presentation sharing
- Innovating new ideas by collaborating
- Sharing ideas for future core products and services
- Discussing financial and practical solutions with upper management
These events connect participants via voice call or video chat using apps, social media platforms and other software like:
- Google Meet
- GoToMeeting / GoToWebinar
- Skype for Business
- WebEx by Cisco
When planning a virtual event it’s important to keep your purpose in mind. Ask yourself:
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What do you want the staff takeaways to be?
Considering the who, what, when, and why of the situation is critical to having a successful webinar.
The Benefits of Hosting Virtual Events
There are countless benefits to hosting a virtual seminar aside from just improving communication and building team morale.
For one thing, they’re more cost-effective. There’s no need to rent out an expensive, upscale venue or conference room.
This is especially important when you’re conferring with only a few people. You don’t need to pay tons of money to rent out a large space you won’t be using.
After all, you don’t need room for hundreds of people, just yourself and a few other team members (and, in some cases, presenters). Most of the work can be done virtually.
Just be sure that everyone’s on the same page in terms of software, timing, and the event schedule so things go off without a hitch.
Choosing the Best Location for Your Virtual Event
Our virtual meeting and boardrooms are the perfect place to host a successful event. Some reasons for this include:
A quiet, professional atmosphere with plenty of privacy and amenities. Each room is equipped with a whiteboard for brainstorming and presenting.
The feel of a real office. There are rarely connectivity issues. You can focus on the important points of your meeting with no distractions.
Professional but comfortable spaces for small business owners. Equipped with coffee, large TVs, and free parking, our facilities are designed with your comfort and needs in mind.
Hosting virtual meetings at Backbone Executive Offices offers you the chance to build and grow your business. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to reach people on a deeper level.
As a small business owner, you must value your team, actively listen to their needs, and provide the resources they need to succeed. When your staff succeeds, so do you!
Tips for a Planning a Virtual Event
Once you decide on the type of event you want to host, where you’ll host it, and what your main objectives are, it’s time to start the planning process. This ensures that you won’t encounter any issues when you actually begin to connect with the small group that you want to talk to.
Here are some of the top tips for hosting a virtual event that will inspire and inform attendees.
Avoid Connectivity Issues
The number one complaint about any virtual event or meeting is connectivity issues. Avoid hearing things like, “Can you hear me now?” and “Karen, you’re frozen!” by ensuring you have a reliable Wifi connection for your event.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to technology, you should be prepared to troubleshoot any issues.
- Test your connection before the event begins
- Ask attendees to connect a bit earlier than the event begins
- Learn how to troubleshoot common issues
- Carefully read the directions on how to connect to the platform
- Make sure to share relevant information about using the platform with attendees prior to the event
Use a Reliable Platform
In addition to a reliable Internet connection, you need a reliable platform for hosting your virtual event.
With so many platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one’s best. A few factors can help guide your decision including:
- What devices most of the participants are using
- Data security and privacy
- Reviews of the platform that you can find online
- The network that people are using to connect
- How good customer support is for the platform
- What features the platform has (document sharing, etc)
Some of the most popular platforms include Google Meet and Slack. Both of these platforms allow you to talk with groups of 3-5 people (or more!) at once. You can speak with them in real-time, share files, and edit documents together.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are also reliable choices. Make sure that everyone who you want to be included has an account, though. You don’t want to make your event inaccessible.
Set an Agenda
Before you can host a webinar, everyone within the small group of people that you’re gearing up needs to be on the same page.
This will ensure that the meeting goes off without a hitch. No one will be confused about what you’re talking about. It will also be much easier to stay on track and hold everyone accountable for time management.
When setting your webinar agenda, make sure that you:
- Clearly state the purpose of your meeting
- List questions that need to be addressed
- Identify the purpose of all agenda items
- Provide timeframes for each discussion topic
- Choose a person to lead each topic
- Add a ‘review’ section at the end of your meeting
Be sure to leave your agenda open for feedback after mailing it out. Some attendees may want to address things that you haven’t thought of.
Timing Is Everything
One secret to hosting a successful virtual event is choosing a convenient time that accommodates everyone. This is especially important if your company spans multiple time zones.
Just like an in-person event, your virtual get-together needs a start and end time. This gives participants a better idea of how long the event will be and what to expect.
With an organized time schedule you can properly plan for all speakers and presentations, while also leaving time in the end for questions and answers.
Sticking to a schedule also prevents long lapses in time or dead space where you may lose momentum and the attention of participants.
Get the Most Impactful Speakers
Many webinars have guest speakers to help motivate and inspire. When ask an in-house member to give a presentation to your small group, choose someone that will captivate the audience.
These presenters must:
- Be engaging, high-energy, and entertaining
- Have expert knowledge of the subject that they’re speaking on
- Be relevant to what your staff needs to know
- Not speak in a monotone (avoid these presenters even if they’re knowledgeable)
Be sure to brief all presenters prior to the big day so they know exactly how much time they have and how the event is being organized. Let them know what platform you’re using, the timeline of events, and any additional links or software they need to download.
Having everything in place beforehand will reduce hiccups and missteps on the event day.
Promote Your Virtual Event
If no one knows about the event, how can they benefit from it?
Here’s how you can promote your virtual event more effectively.
- Send e-vites, calendar invites, or even a well-prepared registration landing page link to the staff members whom you want to invite to your webinar
- Create an attendance list and ask participants to RSVP (even though you only have a few people, this will provide an air of formality to guests)
- Send your attendees reminders as the date gets closer
- Promote any special guests (company higher-ups, etc)
- Talk about rewards for attendees (even at small-scale webinars, you probably should pay staff members for their time)
Make It Relevant
Make sure the topics you cover are relevant and offer participants value. This shows that you respect their time and are serious about offering them useful information and resources.
It’s also a good idea to check out the demographic of your audience. Are they mostly millennials? If so, try adding upbeat music or even a live DJ!
If your demographic is slightly older, think of what matters most to members of generation X. The more relevant your content is, the more successful your event will be.
Content Is King
Speaking of relevant content, when it comes to hosting a webinar, your content is your presentation.
Without the benefit of an in-person event, you need to captivate, entertain, and engage participants.
- Use presentation slides with colorful visuals
- Hire powerful keynote speakers
- Incorporate videos and animated infographics
- Be sure to tailor content so it’s relevant to the industry
- For smaller events, think about what specific interests attendees have
No matter what, your content needs to be top-notch.
Make It Interactive
Another hurdle of virtual events is keeping participants engaged. You don’t have the luxury of asking for volunteers or handing promotional items personally.
While people can stand up and get involved from the comfort of their home, it just doesn’t deliver that same sense of excitement or immediacy as an in-person gathering.
But with proper planning and a little insight, you can create an interactive event that keeps participants on the edge of their seats (or should we say computer chairs?).
- Avoid streaming endless content with no breaks and no opportunity for input or feedback
- Create specific Q&A sessions, but let people interject as well
- Let people discuss what’s happening with other attendees
- Allow anonymous questions and feedback (some people don’t want to be in the spotlight, especially when there are only a few people in your webinar)
This approach makes everyone feel part of the action!
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Congratulations! You successfully planned a virtual event — now what?
Your work here isn’t done! It’s time to follow up.
- Contact everyone involved to see what aspects of the event worked well (and which ones need improvement)
- Ask important questions
- Did the time schedule work?
- Was the software easy to download and use for everyone?
- Did you experience glitches in Wifi?
- Provide attendees with a survey about all aspects of the virtual event from connectivity and organization to engagement and value
All constructive feedback is beneficial and will only help you improve your virtual event planning skills.
Now’s the time to reach out and solidify any professional connections you made and see about scheduling an in-person meeting to discuss your future.
Successful Virtual Event Planning and Beyond
With advancements in technology and an increase in remote workers, virtual event planning is a must!
You need to engage, inspire, and motivate participants using the right promotional techniques and content. Plan a virtual event that gives people value and the drive to succeed.
Backbone Executive Offices are the perfect place to host both virtual and in-person meetings and events.
With gorgeous and professional offices and conference rooms equipped with the latest technology and resources, you can focus on planning an epic virtual event while we take care of the logistics.
Schedule a tour today and let us help you grow your business!
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Backbone Coworking & Executive Offices
104-32615 S Fraser Way
Abbotsford, BC, V2T 1X8