More and more organizations are adding a virtual component to their F2F events, and others are launching virtual-only events. The reason? It’s a great way to connect to a wider, global audience. While planning these types of events can be intimidating, here are six tips to help get your virtual event off the ground.
Start the Planning Process by Asking Key Questions and Involving Important Stakeholders
This will drive strategic decisions about what kind of interactions will yield results. Who are the important stakeholders in your meeting? What are the outcomes they desire from the meeting? How would you like their behaviors to change after attending your meeting?
Consciously considering questions like these and using innovative planning/mapping tools will allow you to create a meeting that delivers measurable outcomes and clear ROI—for any meeting, but particularly for those with complex objectives.
Become Friends with IT
Unless you’re already an expert in online/virtual meeting technology, your IT department will be your new best friend and ally through the planning cycle. You’ll need to find a reputable company to partner with to support your technology requirements. Or, your IT department will need to work up your existing technology to support your meeting. Either way, a strong relationship with your IT team is key.
Map Out Engagement Strategy
Having a clear picture of the meeting you are trying to build is important. It’s harder to create engagement and attendee connections in the virtual world. You can’t just schedule an evening reception and call it “networking.” You’ll need to find (or build into your platform) ways for attendees to connect and engage with each other and with you.
Get Executive Support
Just like with all meetings, having the support of your executive team is vital. If you can, get support all the way up to the C-suite. Using new technologies or techniques in your meeting can be scary (especially for your internal Luddites). Executive support means you have coverage when experimenting.
Don’t Skimp on the Audiovisual
In a virtual meeting, you need outstanding audio and video to ensure the online audience has the best experience possible. Great microphones, quality cameras, good lighting, skilled camera operators and top-notch production directors can make or break your event. At the same time, don’t discount the capabilities of a good smart phone.
Have Lightning-Fast, Ultra-Reliable Internet Connectivity
Make sure you’ve tested, double-checked and have back up for your Internet connection. If your Internet goes down, your meeting goes down. What’s the face-to-face equivalent? Someone pulls the fire alarm in the middle of your Welcome Keynote address. Not good, so be prepared.