While we are all relishing having in-person events back on the agenda, in an economically and climatically challenged world online events (virtual and hybrid) remain and will become increasingly relevant and important.
So much so that an understanding of the essentials of creating online events is an essential part of any event organizer’s repertoire.
Whether you’re hosting a global congress, academic webinar or course, a conference, or a simple virtual networking event, there are certain best practices you should follow to ensure that your attendees have a positive experience. In this post, we share some basic tips and tricks for producing successful online events.
Choose the Right Online Events Venue
As with any face-to-face gathering the choice of venue for an online event is critical. In some cases this may mean choosing an event platform, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and so on. Or you may want something more flexible and customized such as the online event venues that BeThere Global create for our clients.
When deciding this, consider the type of event you’re hosting and the size and nature of your audience. A large congress with multiple sessions, tracks and breakouts will need a solution that can handle such complexity and scale.
On the other hand, a simple webinar will demand a more modest solution. How critical is it that the online venue reflects your brand?
Where are your audience located? How will they access the event? Will the event need to be available on demand afterwards? Think about language. Do you need translations? Should these be audio or subtitles, machine produced or human?
These are all important considerations when determining your online venue.
Engage Your Online Events Attendees
One of the biggest challenges of hosting virtual events is keeping attendees engaged. It’s easy for people to get distracted or disengaged when they’re attending an event from their own workplace.
To keep attendees engaged, you might try some of the following:
- Use interactive tools like polls, quizzes, and surveys to get attendees involved.
- Incorporate breakout sessions or small group discussions to encourage networking and collaboration.
- Make purposeful use of audio visual media (slides and video) to vary the pace and tone and keep attendees engaged.
- Consider the use of gamification techniques to create a sense of competition among attendees.
Create a Sense of Community
Attending from their own locations, it is possible that attendees feel disconnected from each other and from the event.
These are some ideas to help create a feeling of community:
- Encourage attendees to introduce themselves in the chat or in breakout sessions.
- Use icebreaker activities to help attendees get to know each other.
- Host a virtual social event, such as a happy hour or networking session, to encourage attendees to connect outside of the main event
- Use a platform that allows attendees to network and connect directly with each other.
Creating successful virtual events requires careful planning, audience engagement, and a focus on building a sense of community.
Provide value to your attendees and create memorable, interactive learning experiences and you will enhance the reputation of your organization and keep your audience coming back for more.