Hosting a successful virtual event requires exceptionally detailed planning and lots of practice, more so than an in-person event. Without the ability to “read the room,” it’s hard to know whether the content is landing with the attendees. With the added variable of technology, the risk is always that your plan will go awry and you will be left with dead air and no opportunity for participants to really talk amongst themselves. Having hosted a couple of very successful virtual events in the last six months, we wanted to share some of our key learnings that you can incorporate into your next client event.
Timing is Everything
Having participated in a few events ourselves, we knew the most crucial element of a successful event is timing. If the event is too short, it’s not worth participants' time and effort to log in and they may skip it entirely if something delays them. If the event is too long you can bet participants will start taking phone calls, answering emails or even worse, turn off their camera entirely so they can just “listen.” We found the ideal time for a virtual event was a maximum of an hour and a half long. That gives those who are late time to log in and still see most of the session. As well, after ninety minutes, people just need a break so you either need to pause or end entirely around that time.
Ask for Engagement
In both of our virtual destination showcases, we made a commitment to attendees that we would keep to the itinerary and stay on time and in return, we requested that participants engage with us during the live sessions. Specifically, we asked for participant cameras to be on, and for everyone to use the chat function to say hello to other attendees and to ask questions. It’s more difficult to make connections online, so encouraging participants to make the most of the online capabilities only makes sense.
Make it Fun
Watching yet another video or guest speaker can get boring quickly. In order to keep participant attention, we ensured that we added in some gamification and contests. Everyone loves to be a winner, regardless of what the prize is, so take some time to add in some trivia, some laughs, and some fun to create a memorable virtual event.
If you like to learn more about our virtual destination showcases or discuss how we can assist you in making your next virtual or hybrid event a success, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 861-1515 ext. 205.