With virtual events being all the rage, every event planner is shopping around for an online event management platform and looking for ways to design an online event, but mostly in vain... until now. We’ve analyzed virtual events organized by our users and by our marketing team and found the perfect design to be maire that your online event is a success. Without further ado, here’s the design you’ve all been waiting for. Drum roll please.
1. Get the right tool
First and foremost is to make sure you’ve already invested in a virtual event management platform. Da Vinci wasn’t able to paint the Mona Lisa without a canvas. Although our clients think we’re magical because of the great virtual event management platform we crafted here at Eventdrive, even we can’t work that kind of miracle.
2. Plan your program
You can’t cram as many sessions in a virtual event as you can in a physical one so you’ll have to cut through the fat and get to the essentials. We recommend that your virtual event be no longer than half a day, or three hours. Although professional gamers can sit in front of their computer screens for long periods of time, your average attendee can’t.
Plenary sessions shouldn’t go over 1 hour. 30-minute sessions are better and 18-minute sessions are best. Plan at least a 10-minute break every hour.
Schedule multiple sessions that run simultaneously that are tailored to your participants. We can’t be in several places at once, but thankfully your online event sessions can be recorded and made available on demand for your participants immediately after your event. If they couldn’t make one session they can always catch up on it later. No attendee gets left behind.
3. Prepare your speakers
Nobody is born a public speaker, well not everybody. Some of our speakers aren’t used to being in the spotlight and if they’re an expert in their domain they can talk about a subject for hours. We can’t have that. We need to whip our speakers into online event shape.
Don’t let them talk for hours. We found that launching a poll or other engaging activity every 8 minutes breaks the tension and keeps participants at the edge of their seats.
Two is better than one
When possible, have two people running the session. This can be a moderator and a speaker or two speakers at the same time. When someone speaks for a long period at a time and isn’t dynamic enough to captivate the audience’s attention well participants tend to drift away. When you have two speakers you’re able to create an energy that helps participants retain important information and keeps them engaged. Ideally, you’d want another speaker or moderator to jump in every 2 to 3 minutes. Sometimes a simple “could you tell us more?” makes all the difference.
Help them adapt to being on camera
If they’re participating remotely they more than likely will be using their computer’s integrated webcam. Our laptops screens tend to be at a 135° angel and we have a great view of their nose. Brief them and let them know that their laptop camera should be at their eye level and they should not have too much backlighting.
The worst thing that can happen is having a horrible sound caused by an even more horrible microphone. Make sure their computer’s integrated microphone can get the job done. If not, you can always propose they invest in an affordable external microphone.
A presentation where less is more is key
In an online event they will be sharing their screens which will appear on another screen within a screen. Screenception if you will. Contrary to physical events where presentations are on huge screens and we can see everything, your attendees screen might not be as big. The speaker’s presentation slides need to be clear and concise with a font no less than 24pt.
4. Remind your guests when their next session is starting
When attending remotely a lot can get in the way of participating in an online event. Some sessions might not be for everyone or some sessions might go overboard and keep your guests from attending their next session. So we need to help them stay on track.
The first thing to do is to set up automatic session reminders in your event management platforms. A few minutes before the next session they’ve signed up for starts, send them a reminder email. If they took a call or stepped out for a small break they’ll be reminded instantaneously that their event is starting. You can even use a text message option provided with your event management platform to make sure they’re there.
For those who are in a session that is in progress, we’ve got the best solution: “Your next session is starting...” In Eventdrive’s virtual event platform, participants will see a button pop up 5 minutes before their next session starts. When it’s ready, a “go to next session” button appears and transports them into the next session they’ve signed up for. The transition to the next session at a physical event has nothing on this feature. The transition to the next session at a physical event has nothing on this feature. The attendee experience is simply marvelous.
5. Get that feedback
Improvement is important to event planners. We’re perfectionniste even when we know that perfection is the enemy of progress. But what if we told you that you can obtain feedback instantly in your virtual event platform? Yes, it’s possible.
Prepare your event survey in advance and program it in your virtual event space. Once the session is coming to an end, activate the survey and encourage participants to respond. You’ll capture feedback that’s fresh out of the horse’s mouth faster than in a New York minute. What’s more? With Eventdrive, the event survey is found along with the chat and other interactive features so your guests don’t need to leave your branded virtual event space to give their two cents.
There you have it. If you follow these five simple pieces of advice you’ll design an online event like no other. Are you ready to become a virtual event champion?