Since last March, we have attended many virtual events, either as participants or as organizers.
Similar to face-to-face events, the planning of virtual events requires special expertise and a team dedicated to its success. What types of events can be organized online? How to choose the best web platform? What are the things to consider when planning your webinar, conference, gala or general annual meeting?
Here are a few points to consider.
What Is a Virtual Event?
It is an event that is held entirely online at a specific time. The presentation of the content is done by webcasting via a virtual platform that offers varying degrees of interactivity between the audience and the presenters.
It can be a fully live presentation, or a combination of live content shot in studio and pre-recorded content.
As with live events, special attention is paid to the visuals used during the event, whether video capsules, PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.
Types of Virtual Events
Virtual events can take many forms, depending on your objectives. Some of the most popular types of virtual events include:
- Webinars: A webinar allows a speaker or an organization to present information. Interaction with the audience is often more limited than during a meeting or a workshop. Participants are expected to be primarily spectators.
- Meetings and workshops: Meetings and workshops are more interactive. Each guest has a role to play, a right to speak, an objective to share with others. They can be business meetings, or festive Happy Hour with online activities such as a cocktail workshop, a game or a team building activity.
- General assembly: The law requires NPOs, cooperatives, unions, etc. to hold general assemblies. Chances are, you’ve pushed yours to the limit, and physical distancing forces you to hold your general assembly virtually. These events are unique in that they must follow protocols, have nominators and seconders, question periods, and online voting.
- Virtual fundraising: Online fundraising can take many forms. Among the most popular are virtual auctions where several products are offered for sale in order to raise funds. During these virtual events, the visibility of sponsors is essential.
Some Ideas of Entertainment For Your Online Events
Happening presents a mixology experience where your guests receive a box before the event and create the cocktail while watching a professional mixologist virtually.
At our Montreal studios, it is also possible to organize a Late Show. Bring together a host, a few key people from your organization, as well as professional artists. You will then have in hand the perfect recipe for an original event built in your image. This format is perfect to create a retrospective of the year in a warm ambiance.
If several of your employees have hidden talents, a virtual event can also be an opportunity to showcase them during a friendly competition inspired by America’s Got Talent.
Virtual Event Management Platforms
The virtual platform is the most important component of your virtual event. Think of it as the venue in which your event will take place. If you needed to hang something from the ceiling, you would have chosen a room where this is allowed. It is the same with the virtual event platform: you need to know your requirements before selecting the perfect platform to fit your needs.
The number one mistake is choosing the wrong platform to hold your virtual event and being stuck without the features you really need.
Choosing Your Virtual Event Platform
You may be suffering from the “shiny object” syndrome, i.e. choosing a flashy platform to impress your guests. Before embarking on major projects, ask yourself the following:
- Are your guests comfortable with technology?
- Do your guests have easy access to high-performance computer equipment?
If you answered no to either of the above questions, select one of the more popular platforms such as Zoom, Teams or Google Meets. There is no shame in staying on familiar ground. It will probably make life easier for your guests.
On the other hand, if your guests are comfortable with the technology, there are platforms that offer advanced features, such as 3D worlds and gaming-like avatars.
Planning a Virtual Event
Planning a virtual event requires as much time and energy as coordinating an in-person event. Here are the steps to keep front of mind:
Before the Event
- Define your objectives – Is your goal to inform? To entertain? Change the rules of a meeting?
- Establish the program of the event – We suggest including breaks of at least 30 minutes at least every 2 hours.
- Determining the roles of the speakers – To ensure that your event runs smoothly, you will need to choose facilitators, moderators, technical support staff, etc.
- Plan a practice session with the speakers – Just between you and us… no one seems to read their emails properly, right? Plan a practice with the speakers who are to speak. Review the technical procedures with them to avoid many problems on the day.
During the Event
- Provide ongoing technical support – If some of your guests are having trouble joining the event, they should be able to contact someone. Especially if it’s a paid event.
- Explain the process – At the beginning of the event, take a moment to summarize the process for asking a question, voting, or any other actions that attendees need to take. You may also want to remind participants of these rules before each intervention.
- Moderate questions and comments – This is one way to ensure the safety of the event, but also to provide good customer service.
- Stick to the schedule – This is important for both face-to-face and virtual events. But keep in mind that since attendees don’t have to travel physically, they may have a much tighter schedule for the day.
After the Event
- Request participant feedback – Some platforms offer you the option to easily follow up with participants. Gathering their feedback is a good way to improve your future events.
- Save the recording – Depending on the platform you have chosen, you may have access to an automatic recording. Download it and keep it for your records.
Why You Can Trust Happening to Organize Your Virtual Event?
Our team has over 18 years of experience in event design, organization and production. We have our own webcasting studio in Montreal and a mobile studio that can be set up at the location of your choice.
We will guide you in the selection of a web platform that suits your needs and your budget.
With Happening, you will be accompanied every step of the way in the planning of your virtual event. We offer you either a turnkey formula including logistics, audiovisual equipment, graphics, decor and manpower, or an à la carte formula created especially for you.