Planning a Virtual Event: Why The Technology Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think It Does
As the event planning industry pivots to virtual, we’re hearing a lot of questions about tech. What technology do you need to plan a virtual event, which platform is the right one to host it on, and more importantly, how much is all of this going to cost? As a global leader in the virtual events space, we’re here to tell you that the technology doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. Here’s why.
By now you’ve probably heard the vast benefits of virtual events: lower costs, wider audiences, more feedback, and more accessibility. But what separates a good virtual event from a bad one? Yes, having a high production value is important. Being able to see, hear, and interact with your speakers and audience is a crucial piece of the puzzle. But that’s not the differentiating factor between a successful event—one that gets people talking—and a mediocre one that’s forgotten instantly. It’s how the event is designed and moderated that makes the most impact.
Put it this way: you can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the tech, but if you don’t have a clear and intentional idea of what to do once you’re live “on air”, or how to handle any curve balls that may come your way, that’s when you’ll run into trouble. Instead of getting lost in the software, consider these important questions:
Are your speakers trained on virtual mediums? Have you chosen a speaker who can cultivate presence, strengthen engagement, and connect with an audience, despite being physically apart? Here at The Lavin Agency, many of our speakers have been doing virtual presentations for years, and the ones who haven’t are rapidly retraining themselves to bring their expertise to life in the virtual realm. We’ve invested time, money, and energy into learning about the ins and outs of virtual as an entirely different—and totally unique—medium.
Do you have original content? Remember that in an online environment, content matters more than ever. Without the buzzing energy of a live event, you’ll need to make sure your content is immediately engaging and gripping, otherwise you’ll start to lose viewers rapidly.
Do you have a step-by-step breakdown of your timing? Having a loose program may work during a live event, but in a virtual setting, everything needs to be tighter and more efficient. It’s so easy for people to disengage or log off if there’s a lull in the content or between speakers. You can ensure that doesn’t happen by mapping out your event from start to finish, and better yet, doing a tech rehearsal with all of your speakers beforehand.
What is your networking plan? OK. So your content is great, your timing is spot-on, and your audience is engaged. Now it’s time to get people talking. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. It’s deceptively difficult to create the conditions for discussion. First and foremost, people need to feel safe and supported to contribute their ideas. That means they need to have confidence in the person leading the discussion. Do they have a strong understanding of the subject? Do they offer everyone equal opportunities to speak? Do they manage time so that no one feels rushed, or so that the discussion doesn’t stagnate, or stop and start in fits? Is there guidance on how to frame the discussion so that it doesn’t lose sight of the overarching goal?
In order for a discussion to feel meaningful, it will need a plan. That’s not to say that it must be rigid, or leave no room for flexibility, and more importantly, and the expansiveness that comes from a good conversation. But it does mean that you will need to consider your objective, and find ways to connect it through thoughtfully designed questions.
Planning a virtual event? Contact The Lavin Agency today for help designing and producing an incredible online experience.