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There is a lot that goes into the planning of a Virtual Event.  Following is a short list of Best Practices to keep in mind as you advance through the process…We’re also including “Other Important Facts” about Virtual Events that should capture your attention and help guide your planning…

  • Make sure remote presenters are using quality webcasting equipment such as a good microphone and webcam; a decent set of headphones (or wireless earbuds); and good lighting & background.  In short…put some thought in how your presenters look and sound. 

  • For Presenters and Attendees alike, 10mbps of internet up and down is recommended.  Use a Hard-wire connection instead of wireless if you can to avoid any interference.  

  • If presenting or attending from a residential area, make sure there are no others in the household “hogging” internet bandwidth with movie streams.  Ask them to disconnect during your webcast.  

  • Keep Presentation segments between 30-45 minutes long inclusive of Q&A – studies show attendees begin to lose attention beyond 45 minutes.  

  • Encourage Presenters to conduct audience polls during their presentation.  It breaks up the flow and adds engagement for the remote attendee.  

  • Always hold a Q&A session at the end of each presentation – Webinar attendees want to feel involved.  

  • Morning is the best time to hold an event – studies show attendees prefer webinars held at 10 or 11 am.  If you’re dealing with multiple time zones, try not to start earlier than 9am for your “earliest” time-zone.  If that’s unavoidable, try to choose a start time that works best for the majority of your Attendees. 

  • Like Hotel Booking Patterns, Virtual events have a “Sweet spot” pattern.  Tuesday is the best day to start an event, with Wednesday and Thursday closely following.

  • Presenters:  Be Interesting.  You’d be surprised at how much more important this is than normal.  Death by Powerpoint is a dangerous thing in a virtual environment.  Only about 15% of attendees say that they are engaged by slideshows.  People really feel more engaged if the speaker makes eye contact (with the camera) and is passionate about their topic.  

  • Not everyone who registers for your event will watch it live.  If you’re getting 35 – 45% of registrants watching live, that’s actually good.  

  • Make your content available as long as possible after the event.  There’s a growing statistic that says as much as 28% of people who register for an event do so AFTER the event has ended.  

  • Also…keeping an event available after it has completed is great marketing for the next event and may actually drive In-Person attendance.  Especially if the content is great!  Human Beings actually WANT to meet in person to network!  

  • The cost of a Webconference Platform can vary from free to around $5,000.  (Buyer beware!  You do get what you pay for!)

  • Whenever possible, keep the attendee experience as simple as possible.  Emails prior to the event to promote it with a single click to a Registration Page are a must.  Calendar reminders for Outlook and other mail programs help keep their schedule clear. 

  • If downloads are necessary, be sure to communicate with step-by-step instructions for MAC and PC.  Keep in mind that some companies have very strict firewall securities that make it difficult or impossible for people to install applications.  HTML Web Based presentations are the way to get around that. 

  • Set expectations before the event with Presenters and Attendees.  Repeat them at the beginning of the event as part of your Housekeeping notes.  There is a Web Event etiquette to consider. 

  • For Hybrid events, consider using a Web Moderator in addition to your live Facilitator to enhance the experience for remote viewers. 

  • Last but certainly not least, clearly communicate your “SOS” procedures to your Presenters, and include it in your rehearsals so they know how to get help.  Also, it’s a good idea to have a “help” line available for Attendees as well.