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Thoughts on creating events that exhilarate

The four keys to producing your best virtual event

Are you drastically pivoting your business models and practices in response to current events? Are you scrambling to make the shift to virtual or hybrid events? We’ll outline how you can make the transition with ease and panache. Hint, hint* – it’s not as hard as you think!

Just as in live events, you need to produce content that runs seamlessly. Yet there’s a heightened need to be precise with virtual events because screen audiences have a far greater expectation for “broadcasts” of every kind.

Like a television news broadcast, you’ll want no down-time, no stuttering and no stammering – either verbally or technically. Rehearsals and technical proficiency need to be flawless to give your audience a thoroughly satisfying experience from beginning to end. In comparison, there’s a bit of forgiveness offered by live audiences to minor glitches by presenters or technical snafus.

Here are some tips for polishing your virtual events:

  • Script and/or rehearse all presenters thoroughly. Anything less than highly energetic, very compelling and engaging content will result in a loss of attention from your remote audience as they will naturally have many more distractions than if they were together in a physical conference space. Dips in energy, lackluster content and mundane moments will direct their attention away from you and your virtual event.
  • Be clear about your purpose for the event and its objectives. Is it educational? Motivational? Internal (such as an Employee Meeting)? Open to a worldwide audience of paid registrants? As with a traditional in-person meeting, content is king!

Yet in a virtual event, your content cannot be supported by the energy of a live audience with laughing, cheering, etc. You – and your content – need to make up for the lack of in-room energy by giving extra oomph to all aspects of your presentation. This is particularly true of Sales Meetings when motivation and inspiration are greatly fueled by the theatricality of powerful presenters wrapped up in the context of a full production with exciting lighting, superb sound and energizing visuals on large screens.

As a virtual presenter, you’re competing with that! Your virtual audience will hope that you keep them on the edge of their seats (at their desks!) by bringing high energy, great visuals and exciting content to them as they watch the broadcast.

  • Involve your audience to help them stay completely engaged during all presentations. Add plenty of audience polling (voting) opportunities to your presentation in order to check in with them and gauge their interest and experience levels with your topic. Play games or quizzes that earn attendees gifts or rewards. Tell your virtual audience that there will be opportunities for them to participate as a virtual panel discussant in certain sessions. So be ready! Offer prizes for spotting the “Word of the Day” in a Presenter’s slide deck. In other words, give the audience extra motivation to stay glued to their screens.
  • Recreate the in-person experience as much as possible. Great virtual events include ways for the audience to interact with one another during the event. Through tools built into virtual event platforms, attendees can chat with one another, live, as a speaker is presenting.

    Use polling features frequently to encourage audience participation and acknowledgement. Set up virtual meeting rooms for use after the talk where people who share common goals can collaborate based on the information they just learned. You can also still include those live musical (or other!) performances. Lastly, social media is also a great way to get people involved. For example, Twitter is an ideal way for people to communicate during a virtual event – just create and heartily promote your event hashtag.

Of course, we’re here to help you make your next virtual event stress-free and 100% polished! Contact us with any questions and ask how we can help.

Blog

Thoughts on creating events that exhilarate

Why event planning is like a little black dress

Every woman knows she can’t go wrong in choosing to wear the classic black cocktail dress and a string of pearls on most evening occasions. So, why does she still deliberate when it comes to choosing the classics over the latest Vera Wang design?

Probably for the same reasons the event industry finds many occasions to question the choice of employing the latest event trend or the more common methods of engaging an audience. The constant emergence of new event technology trends and choices can cause one’s head to spin. Event production professionals stay on top of these new technologies, not just because they can benefit the audience, yet also because they’re fascinating and often quite exciting.

It’s time consuming yet worth it. Every so often, such an advance or trend provides us with a powerful way to communicate with and have impact on our audiences, whatever their make-up. Combining the latest event technologies; in lighting, projection, staging, sound, audience response, etc. with classic tools and approaches, enable us to present business event audiences with meetings and events that live on in the attendee’s mind for a long time: experiences that stick in their memory and that inform and change behavior.

Event planners need to be absolutely certain they know their audience demographic and messaging, yet are also aware of new advances to ensure their event will transform and live on. Incorporating new technologies comes at a cost. You need to understand value and budget wisely allowing for options and contingencies; being knowledgeable and creative isn’t enough.

In the final analysis, your audience and event objectives drive the technological advances to be implemented. Don’t include the latest trend or newest technology just because it’s different. Over-the-top productions may overwhelm your audience and overshadow the information being presented. Sometimes the simple and classic approach is the right one. But if a new method is called for, be sure you know about it and budget accordingly.

Events have the power to transform audiences, particularly when you blend classic, tried and true technologies and stagecraft with the latest production trends that add that extra special connection. It’s less about choosing one or the other, and more about the creative and intelligent use of both. In other words, a simple black cocktail dress – accessorized with something new and exciting – is the perfect choice!

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