Virtual events have been a staple this year. There’s no need to rehash why, but now that we’ve grown comfortable with them, they’re here to stay in some form or another. They can’t replicate the connection of in-person gatherings; however, a virtual event can be an affordable, easy-to-execute bridge between the larger events your organization invests in. Especially when done well. Here are our 5 best tips for making yours a success:
1. Pre-record most, if not all, of your presentation
Since you can’t out-plan a technical glitch, pre-recording is your best bet for limiting how much can go awry. Bonus: there are a lot of ways to present your pre-recorded message so that it seems live. If you must present live, consider using a professional production team to troubleshoot technical issues as they arise.
2. Keep your presentation to 30 minutes or less
We know. That’s not a lot of time. We’ve found that people are often curious enough to tune in, but are quick to tune out. The short timeframe ensures that you stay focused and on message, which is always a good idea anyway.
3. Stick to the schedule
Make sure speakers (pre-recorded or live) are brief and to-the-point. To accomplish this, assign topics and time limits beforehand and consider a dry-run to suss out any potential problems. Limit the amount of giveaways, speakers, and other transitions so that the presentation doesn’t feel rushed and chaotic.
4. Anticipate and extend the experience
Build out your event with a series of social media posts and emails prior to the date and follow-up with a similar series afterward. This gathers anticipation beforehand and keeps the “after glow” going once it ends. It also expands your communication window beyond the 30 minutes of your event. Additional ways to build out your event would be to send a postcard invite or, once the event concludes, create a new Facebook group of attendees to keep the conversation going.
5. Choose your date strategically
If it’s a social or fundraising event, experts agree that Saturday evening is the ideal time to host your event, virtual or otherwise. Attendees will be more relaxed, their kids aren’t likely to have competing extracurricular activities, and people’s moods are better than during the work week. Thursday evening is the second best option. There’s general agreement that Friday evening is the worst time to host an event as people would rather unwind on their own after a full week. For educational or instructional events, consider lunch time on Tuesday or Wednesday.