9 Lessons Learned from Hosting the Largest Virtual conferences
January 20, 2021
The Events Industry has achieved the impossible in the past 1 year. Hitting to the bottom of the barrel and getting up to become the king of virtual events and conferences; those are the 2 edges.
You may be thinking it’s easy to host virtual conference and online events with just a simple platform, list of speakers, and attendees. I also wish it was that simple.
But event planning be it for a virtual event or an in-person event is almost the same tiring and lengthy process. To make your online corporate event planning a seamless process, roll your eyes through these important lessons learned from organizing the largest virtual conferences:
Communication is vital
We all have learned a great deal in the past 1 year. While we all are enjoying the comfort of working from home, the part communication plays in the workplace is essential.
Ensuring no efforts are duplicating or repeating, the event team needs to communicate frequently. Hosting a virtual event is about maintaining proper channel of communication. Do daily stand-ups, ensure proper flow of work and delegation of tasks. Use mediums such as Skype, Slack etc to ensure smooth communication with your peers.
Engagement is key
What’s the one thing organizers and planners crave for from an event? ENGAGEMENT and NETWORKING. Yes, that’s right. Host a virtual conference and the first thing you’ll be asking is how engaged was the audience?
Did they interact well and so on? Engagement is the pinnacle like Mt. Everest that all the event planners want to achieve in the best way possible.
Remember - Every aspect of an in-person event can be virtualized.
You got that right. With the plethora of technology available in the market and the seamless integration which event tech vendors like Hubilo provide allow all elements to be replicated in the virtual event. Host a virtual conference and you’ll realize the DJ, the games, the cocktails all of it is also possible while you are sitting in your chair at your home sipping hot coffee at 9 am.
Just because it’s a virtual event doesn’t mean things can’t go wrong. Be prepared with backup plans
Mistakes can happen anywhere anytime. Be prepared for those contingencies. Have a plan B, C, D, ….. whatever it takes to make things right while you host an online event. Get ready with goof ups from the speaker’s end, attendee’s end, tech errors, wifi and network issues, integration issues, and much more.
Planning is Important
Pivoting from a physical conference to a virtual one seems like a cup of tea but in reality, it required an investment of time and energy just like a physical event. Pre-planning the event agenda, event speakers, event EMCEE’s, the time zones you want to target, what kind of session you want to run, are all the sessions going to be live?
If that’s the scene, how are you going to live stream those sessions? And much more…. Plan and host an online event and know all the pros and planning of it!
Shop around! Research the tech and tools (give time for the event team to be equipped with the same)
Window shopping for technology isn’t something you might have imagined a few years back. Now, it’s all possible. Choosing the right technology vendor for your event, asking the right questions to your vendor while purchasing for a platform, asking for the right feature set to host the online event successfully and seamlessly; is the new experience users are going for nowadays.
Diversify your event
If you’d have asked me a few years back is it possible to diversify your event at a large scale and tap into the markets which are undiscovered yet. I’d have said, it’s possible but not on a very large scale. But in the era of online events, the major lesson and takeaway for any planner or organizer have been to reach out to the people who were not able to attend your conferences due to certain restrictions.
Diversity is one such element that events have started showcasing, be it in the form of Women in Tech or an LGBTQ speaker, etc. All Lives Matter and events industry have been standing up for it.
Choose Conference format wisely
How to manage perfect engagement and attendance and event ROI when you host a virtual conference? Customize your event with the best-suited event format such as Presenter Formats, Collaboration Formats, Thought Leadership Formats, etc.
Like any virtual event marketing activity, setting the base of presentation and delivery for your virtual event is key to ensure the best event planning.
Conduct robust dry runs.
It’s all about testing all the features and integrations before the final D-day. Even weddings have rehearsal dinners, so why not virtual events conduct rehearsals aka dry runs. Testing with speakers, reporting any bug if caught at the last minute. You do not want to derail your event while you’re live. People talk and the word spread like wildfire.
Invite speakers to conduct a dry run session, ask QnA, get on the lounge and test the speakers and camera, test the limit of people who are allowed in a breakout room. Make this a practice for even a 2-hour event. You never know what mishap can occur in those 2 hours also. Ensure everyone is properly onboarded on the tech stack and is comfortable using the platform.
Conclusion: We constantly learn and evolve with the changing technology around us. Let’s not stop the learnings and takeaways. Host more virtual conferences, make mistakes, and learn from them to host a much better experience for your attendees next time.
Juhi Purswani is a major in Information Technology. Currently a Content Developer in Hubilo, she is a passionate writer and loves to research and explore new and unique topics. Working in an event-tech company, she is getting accustomed to the technological revolutions that are taking place in the event management industry. Fond of Dan Brown books, she is an avid reader of fiction. In her relaxation moments, she pens down her thoughts in the form of poems and quotes. You can follow her on twitter on @19_juhi.