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Virtual Events 101

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What is a virtual event?

Before you ask the question “How can I create a virtual event?” you may want to understand what a virtual event really is. Over the past year we are no longer strangers to the term “virtual”, with so many businesses having to shift to remote work and hosting virtual meetings and training, we have slowly adapted to incorporating a virtual world in business.

A virtual event is exactly what it sounds like, an event that is held online, where an internet platform replaces the physical location. This means that one will attend the event from any location they choose via their chosen device as opposed to a physical event where one will attend the event by physically gathering with other attendees at a specified location. There are multiple benefits of hosting an event virtually including the ability for guests to be attending from anywhere in the world and cost or time restraints are minimized due to the ease of accessibility. A virtual event also allows for teams to stay connected and collaborate in a similar fashion to if they were physically in a room together. 

 Where do I host a virtual event?

Where you choose to host your platform will determine how you plan your event, so it is important that you choose a platform that will best suit your needs. You will need to select the platform which is best suited to the event you want to run. In the process of choosing a platform, you may want to consider factors such as accessibility, privacy and data security, and functions. You want your event to be easy to access and this will depend on your audience of which you are reaching.

If your event is targeting audiences that are  65+ and might have limited technological skills, it might be a good idea to choose a platform which doesn’t require complicated downloads and installations!

How do I plan my event?

1. Create a schedule 

Have a schedule leading up to the event and one for the event.No matter the type or style of event you choose to host, the planning aspect of the event is crucial. Decide on factors leading up to the event such as fees, registration and promotions. Once you have decided on what your event is and how your event will run you can create a schedule for the event itself outlining the  programme.

2. Timing is key 

It is important to pick the most appropriate time and date to maximize attendance for your event. Pick dates and times which are most suitable for your audience by considering holidays, time-zones (if your event is global), and competing or similar events. If you struggle with accommodating certain time-zones for your event, consider allowing your audience to access your event content after the live programme has been completed. This goes back to choosing the right platform for your event – pick a platform that includes video recordings, that can be played back afterwards alongside the ability to download or connect to any content such as files or links relating to the event.

3. Plan for technical difficulties

If there is anything, we’ve all learnt over our work-from-home situations over the past year is that having a good and stable internet connection is important, but it still fails from time-to-time and buttons don’t always work when you click them!! It’s not the end of the world when these things happen, plan for alternatives or rearrangements of your event schedule in case of any technical difficulties on the day. 

4. Event engagement

Overall, the most important thing is, you will want your event to be engaging to your audience. Keep your audience busy! There is nothing worse than sitting in front of your screen being bored, so leave room for your audience to engage in the event. You can do this by physically involving your audience in the event whether that is creating rooms and forums for discussion or setting up polls for the audience to respond to.

As the world currently fights against a pandemic and working remotely has become the new normal, we can conclude that working from home and having meetings and events digitally is a concept that is not too far into the future and is here to stay.

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