It is in times of uncertainty that the creativity juices start to flow in a way for us to adapt to constant change. During this COVID19 global pandemic, the events industry has undoubtedly been one of the most impacted sectors due to restrictions on public gatherings. Event companies have had to find new ways to host and engage audiences in events.
Our team at Nectar have not been immune to the current circumstances and we have had to expand our knowledge and increase our skills to continue catering for our clients and making their events possible during this time.
We are excited to say that we have the solution for you in the shape of virtual events! Nectar has found great success in turning full on in-person events to full on virtual events. We have become well-versed in this after hosting multiple events online across various platforms. These include from fully integrated event systems [which have the ability to host virtual exhibitions, poster presentations, networking and much more] to low-key webinars.
If this is something that you have been thinking of moving towards, we want to share some of our tips to help with your growing pains when transitioning from in-person to virtual events!
THINK ABOUT YOUR TIMING
The time you choose to hold your virtual event can either make or break it. The beauty of online events means that you have a larger audience, with the means to have people tune in globally. You will want to make sure that your event is not too early or too late in the day and ideally you will want to host it closer to the middle of the week. This means that you will also need to take time zones into consideration, not only for your delegates but for any international speakers on the program. We have personally found that the timing has made a significant impact on the attendance and success of our virtual events and always take this into consideration when commencing our planning.
OUR ATTENTION SPAN IS MAX 45 MIN
They say that the human brain can concentrate for 40 – 45 mins at a time. This means that you will want to plan your online event over the span of a few days if it is more full-on than a one-off webinar session. When hosting an in-person event, it is standard to have it go on all day over 2 – 3 days, but this is not the case when it is online. As it is so easy to get distracted, you don’t want your attendees to drop out in order to get some work done or simply just become too bored to watch on their laptops a 9 – 5 event. I would suggest 3 hours max per day over however many days you need to present your content.
SPICE IT UP
When planning your content, you want to think about the way it is going to be presented, who is presenting it and at what intervals. Audience engagement is key especially when hosting an online event. Nobody wants to listen to one-person drone on a monologue for hours with nothing to break it up in between (remember those UNI days?). Think about having more panels/presenters on your program, encourage live Q&A and ask those poll questions – maybe even hold a 5 min exercise break between each session! With hundreds of free online events out there, you really want to give people a reason to invest their time in attending yours and make it stand out from the rest.
WE’RE NOT ALL TECH SAVVY
In this new age, we are under the assumption that everyone is tech-savvy and can intuitively work any user interface presented to them – this is not always the case. I recommend having one person from your team dedicated to assisting your delegates with troubleshooting issues acting as tech support. Sometimes it is as simple as providing them with their misplaced login to investigating why their screen is not showing the presentation. The goal is to make the user experience as seamless as possible for the delegate. At the very least, provide an informational video at the beginning of your event on how the system works.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Practice, practice, practice! I want to drive home just how important this is to the success of your event. You will need to make sure that your presenters are confident in how to work the platform you are using, especially if they are not professional speakers who have had the opportunity to previously present online. You need to make sure that they know how much screen time they have, how to access live Q&A and how to connect with the AV staff should something go array. Not only this, but you will need to check that they are using the proper lighting, are focused in the camera frame and make sure their screen background will work. The last thing you want is for your presenter to feel uncomfortable and have this come across the screen to your attendees!
We hope these tips and tricks help you when hosting your event online. We have a number of e-guides that may also be of interest during your planning stage, otherwise, the Nectar team is happy to take the stress away and put on your online event for you!