While digital events don’t require the logistical planning needed for physical events, they do still require preparation to ensure they go off without a hitch.
Here are six tips to ensure that you can run a slick and successful digital event:
1. Keep it short
While day-long in-person conferences are common, it is much harder to keep people engaged for long periods of time in digital environments. Try to keep your digital event short and punchy. Sessions that last 30 - 45 minutes are optimal to keep your audience engaged. Of course, there will be some digital events where you will need longer, such as a workshop, but try to keep any webinar event under three hours - and if it is going to be a couple of hours make sure to incorporate a short break in there.
Tip: If your event is over faster than you anticipated, it is ok to finish it early - don’t feel you need to drag it out.
2. Be descriptive
The title and description of your event is the only guide to help an attendee decide if they want to attend or not, so it is imperative that your event description is clear and compelling.
You need to ensure that your audience knows what to expect when they attend the event, so they aren’t disappointed. Attendees will want to know why they should attend your event, so make sure you include a summary of what they will get out of it (e.g. learn how to…, hear insights from…. etc).
3. MCs are worth their weight in gold
If your event has multiple speakers, or different parts, it’s a good idea to have a MC or a moderator to facilitate the event. This person will introduce the event and the speakers, make the transition between sections and facilitate audience participation.
4. Practice makes perfect
Just as Beyonce wouldn’t perform a new song without practicing, you shouldn’t take chances with your speakers knowing exactly what to do without a rehearsal. Even if they have used the platform before, every event is different.
Make sure that you run a rehearsal with all of your speakers before the live event. This way you will be able to ensure they are familiar with the platform and can check that their slides and presentation material will work. Make sure they are rehearsing in the actual space they will be in during the event so that you can see what it will look like.
Even if you are the only speaker at the event, make sure your setup is suitable, your devices are compatible with the platform and that you are familiar with the functionalities of your platform.
5. Quality guaranteed
Nothing makes attendees hit the “leave meeting” button faster than poor sound. Unlike a physical environment, the audience can’t move closer to you, or ask you to speak up. In order to ensure that there will be high-quality audio, you need to reduce background noise (shut windows and doors), use a headset with a microphone and put your phone on silent and turn off any alerts on your computer.
To ensure a good video quality, close all other unnecessary apps, close email and disable automatic updates so they are not taking up bandwidth in the background.
Finally, it is vital that the event organiser and speakers have reliable internet access to ensure there are no disruptions to the event. If you are worried that there may be issues with a speaker’s internet, you could ask them to record their part of the event (if the format allows). The speaker can always join the event to answer questions after their presentation has played or via the chat function.
6. Get chatting
Any good event allows for two-way participation between the speaker and the audience. You can do this in a digital event by utilising the chat function on your online platform.
It is wise to show your participants how to use the chat function at the beginning of the event, and encourage them to ask questions or make comments. Utilising the chat function on your platform is imperative in stimulating conversation and debate, and allowing participants to interact with each other.
The speakers can engage with the audience by asking questions which people can answer using the chat function.
Some platforms allow the participants to chat privately with each other, which enables networking.
Keep in mind these six tips when you are planning your Techweek2020 event. If you have any questions about running digital events, you can ask them in our discussion forum.
If you are ready to get your event rolling, submit it now to be part of the Techweek2020 programme.