Virtual Event Tips: How To Make Your Online Meeting Rise Above The Rest
Over the past few months, the virtual event has gone from novelty to necessity. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, anyone used to planning in-person events has suddenly been forced to become an expert in teleconferencing. It’s been a bumpy road, for sure. But at TURNER, we’ve found success with a variety of online media events. Here are a few virtual event tips to keep in mind as you adjust to the new normal.
Plan Ahead & Stay Organized
We’ve all had the experience of being stuck for what feels like forever in a long, rambling meeting. Well, guess what? That feeling is even worse on Zoom. The last thing you want is for your attendees’ eyes to glaze over with boredom and frustration while you get things together. That’s why the first of our virtual event tips is to have almost every part of your event mapped out in advance. Write out a loose “script” that will keep you focused and on track throughout. Keep everything concise and clear. Don’t overload attendees with too many details; you can always supply them with more information after the event is over. If possible, try to use several different speakers, so that it’s not just one voice droning on and on. By planning ahead and staying organized, your virtual event will be professional, focused and effective.
Make It Interactive
An in-person event lets attendees get in on the action. They can participate, ask questions, interact. This interactive aspect is tougher to achieve in the virtual space. But it’s not impossible. One of the best virtual event tips is to have an activity — even if it’s a simple one. Last month, TURNER put together a Virtual Paint and-Sip event for Visit Tupelo which relied heavily on the expertise of local partners. We enlisted the help of a local Mississippi artist to guide an abstract painting experience, during which journalists were encouraged to leave their mics and cameras on for questions and inspiration. While the paint dried, Mississippi’s first and only meadery, Queen’s Reward, led a craft cocktail demonstration using their beloved “liquid gold” for a sweet taste of Tupelo. There was never a dull moment. Of course, it’s important to supply attending media with any supplies and accoutrements that are needed to participate.
Get physical … while staying virtual? What we’re talking about here are physical goods. Everyone loves receiving a package full of goodies in the mail — especially in 2020, when many of us are housebound and stir-crazy. Who wouldn’t want a box full of cheese showing up at their door? Recently, TURNER teamed up with Travel Wisconsin for something we called the Virtual Cheesecation Experience. More than 30 media, representing 90+ outlets, received a curated Cheesecation delivery, before virtually arriving at Destination: Cheesecation from their at-home setting for an elevated cheese tasting tour. The Cheesecation box was a big hit with our attendees. It built anticipation for the event and made the whole experience more real than virtual. Oh, and the cheese was delicious, of course.
Invest In Good Equipment
Is this thing on? The bane of many virtual event attendees’ existences is low-quality audio and video. It can ruin a perfectly planned event almost instantly. While you can’t control the speed of your attendees’ WiFi, you can control the equipment you’re using. Investing in the right gear is essential. Your attendees will thank you. And it doesn’t have to be a major investment. The Nexigo Streaming Business Webcam with Microphone delivers great image and sound quality for just $70. For even clearer sound, the compact Samson Go Mic is just $40 and brings broadcast quality sound directly to your computer. While we’re on the subject of quality, take a little time to experiment with camera angles, lighting (this cheap LED ring light will work wonders) and acoustics. You want to look good, sound good and feel good.
Believe it or not: a virtual event can be fun. People are eager to connect and enjoy themselves, even over their laptop screens. A few virtual event tips for keeping things lively:
- Custom Backgrounds: Send each attendee his or her own Zoom background to use during the meeting — the more personal, the better!
- Spotify Playlists: Get attendees in the mood by sending a specially made Spotify playlist packed with sounds that tie into your event’s theme.
- Surprises: Keep everyone on their toes! Introduce guest stars or give away prizes that will add a touch of the delightfully unexpected to your event.
The virtual event space is, obviously, still evolving. The savvy planner should be willing to experiment, to try new things, see what works. We’ll be back in the real world soon enough … but the virtual event space is here to stay.
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