With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.
There is no question that COVID-19 has shaken up the events industry and has planners scrambling to adapt to this new environment.
Virtual event planning used to be a sideline. Now it’s the main event.
Even seasoned veterans are suddenly having to learn new skills on the fly as technology and online platforms become the modus operandi.
So if you’re a planner with one or several events on the go, you may be finding yourself needing to move one or all of them online. And you may be panicking!
The good news is, it’s not as complicated as you think. If you can handle putting on a live event, virtual event planning is well within your capabilities. A lot of the basics of virtual event planning are the same as with live events—it’s all connecting people and finding ways to engage with them. It’s just slightly different and there are some technical basics you need to get a grasp of.
But if you take the following steps, you can be on your way to virtual event planning like a pro.
Don’t cancel that meeting! Speakers and experts can present virtually.
Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute
It’s important with virtual event planning to be sure that your event makes sense for online venues. Take a look at your event, all its components, and figure out which will work in an online environment and which won’t. If there are any elements of the event that won’t shift online easily, switch them out with something else or lose them altogether—don’t waste time trying to shoehorn something in that just won’t fit. For example, a workshop type breakout session with lots of hands-on interaction might not work. But a seminar can easily be adapted to a webinar with a few tweaks.
2. Grab a platform.
Next, you need to choose your platform based on what your event’s needs are. There are countless options of software available that can include live streaming, real-time interaction, polls, question-and-answer functions, and event registration. Here is a link to some options. You can also use social media to live stream your event on platforms such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live. These options have the benefit of a built-in audience and are easy to use.
3. Figure out your venue(s).
Planning a virtual event might seem easier when it comes to venue arranging. But you can’t just host it in your various presenters’ living rooms. That will look unprofessional and will cheapen the look of your event. So organize venues that still have presentation value, such as boardrooms or other event spaces.
4. Rally your audience.
If you’re moving your event online because of COVID-19 it’s likely your audience is already anticipating the change. But once you have your platform organized it’s time to email your attendees with detailed information such as when each event will take place, how to access it, and how to sign up and use it. Let them know how the event will maintain its value even though it’s online, and where there is lost value, be sure to let them know where there will be financial adjustments. Make sure you leave the lines open for them to ask questions if they are confused about how to proceed. You don’t want to lose your audience because they can’t figure out the technology.
5. Get the word out.
The awesome thing about virtual event planning is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to your audience! No longer limited by physical locations and travel/scheduling logistics, you can market your event all over the world to whomever you please, as long as they have an internet connection. So do some quick marketing on social media to get the word out to a larger audience. But, do be aware of time zones and how you should schedule your event accordingly.
6. Add interactivity.
Without a live presenter and audience, you lose out on a lot of interactivity when planning a virtual event. Luckily there are a host of options to keep your audience engaged and talking to each other and the virtual presenters. Virtual lobbies, live chats, Q&A sessions, surveys, and contests are all ways to make your attendees feel like they’re part of a larger group. These features also add a ton of value to your event and will keep people talking about it even after it’s over.
7. Hire a crack emcee.
Your online event needs a strong virtual host to hold it all together, to be the spokesperson who is visible across all the different aspects of the platform. As there are a lot of particulars involved in a virtual event that is different from live ones, including technological quirks that need to be figured out, it is best to hire an emcee who is familiar with online hosting. This person should not only be able to command an online audience, but they should also be familiar with online platforms and capable of handling any technical glitches that arise.
8. Get feedback.
Don’t forget to follow up with your attendees (and presenters) to find out exactly what worked for them and what didn’t. Send out a questionnaire with a small incentive to return, and use what you learn to make your next virtual event even better.
Good luck with your virtual event planning!
Looking for the perfect speakers for your virtual event? Search our speaker marketplace here—we’ve even added a new “Virtual Presentation” filter to our search criteria.
Did you find this article helpful? Here are three more you might enjoy:
Six steps for putting on a virtual event that works.
Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?
Ten event planning tips for absolute beginners.