When it comes to virtual events, nobody is above ridicule!
“Did people hear me? There was a lot more to say, and I’ve probably already said too much”. None other than Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee for the 2020 election in the US, had an Oops moment when he went live with his virtual event.
Joe Biden’s goof-up highlighted one important factor: no matter how big or resourceful you are, if you don’t stay on the ball, you can easily slip up and embarrass yourself!
Events are about creating memorable experiences. So event organisers have licence to create, re-think, improvise and innovate. But if executed in an undisciplined manner, mistakes can creep in very easily.
As you try to create and implement virtual events, here are some common mistakes that you are likely to commit and suggestions to avoid them:
- Lack of Planning:Pushing prep tasks to the back of your to-do list up to the last minute is the sure-fire way to sabotage your event before it’s even started. Right from creating, advertising, and targeting the audience, all must be planned with defined deadlines. Allocating two months for the pre-event preparation is considered ideal, irrespective of the type of virtual event.
- Poor communication: As the promotion and conversion of the prospective audience happens virtually and in real-time, responses to queries and confirmations must be prompt across all channels. Don’t set up a Twitter (or any network) account for your event if you don’t have a defined strategy for running that channel.
- Not choosing the right technology: There are many platforms out there that provide a diverse range of technologies to support your virtual event.It’s possible that at first glance, any of the options looks up to the job. But without a thorough understanding of the market it’s possible that a poor choice early on in the process could prove to be the a barrier to the success of your event.
The first step to decide on the technology is to define your event, the purpose and the target audience. Are you running a series of webinars, or a full-scale virtual conference? Based on these strategic decisions, you can research the available technology and platforms. Remember that the cheapest is not always the best. The other aspect is about accepting and understanding the technical aptitude of the participants. This is an element that is often overlooked by event organizers. Having a high-end mobile or a laptop doesn’t make someone tech-savvy. Therefore, knowing your attendees and their persona would help you define your technology. As a thumb rule, it’s advisable to choose a simple technology that is hassle-free and easy to navigate.
- Not providing enough gap: The biggest challenge in a virtual event is keeping the attendees engaged. To ensure participants don’t get zoned out or feel bored, keep the sessions crisp and interesting. Ideally breaking the sessions into 20 minutes slots is suggested.
- Choosing the wrong presenter: Your subject matter expert may not be the right presenter! Choose a presenter who can articulate well and handle queries smartly. An SME can always provide online support to this presenter during the live event.
- Picking the wrong sponsors: Sponsorship is a good source of revenue for virtual events. Unlike live events, in an online event, there is always a possibility that irrelevant sponsors, untimely or long infusion of sponsor pitch can make the participants digress and bail out on the rest of the event. Therefore,always choose sponsors that suit the event and your audience.
- Not following up: Attendee attention management does not end with the completion of the event. One of the common mistakes that virtual event organizers make is not engaging with the attendees after they’ve signed out. If you want to develop long-term relationships, then remember to give careful thought to post-event communication with your attendees. A thank-you mail to all the attendees for participating and making the event successful is the minimum. Adding to the mail, ask for feedback, share pictures, course material, or an event synopsis that the attendee can refer to if needed. This not only builds goodwill but also ensures that the next time you host an event, you’re scoring high on that essential brand recall value.
With these tips, you should have a fair idea of what it needs to make an online event effective and successful. If you are looking for expert support in creating and implementing a flawless virtual event, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.