Hello everyone! I'll be hosting a virtual conference for our company and I'm trying to learn as much as I can to ensure that I host this online event successfully. I already read about some of the best practices when it comes to hosting a virtual conference from this blog https://viafoura.com/blog/how-to-host-a-virtual-conference/ and they placed heavy emphasis on integrating a live chat platform for their participants. Should I go for something like this as well? I noticed that most media brands and online publishers also provide a live chat feature for their online events so I'm really considering this. Any other tips and suggestions would be very much appreciated.
Yes! Here are a few more tips that may be useful when planning and hosting a virtual conference or online event:
1. Choose a date that is both feasible and convenient for participants - You don't want your conference to be too difficult to attend, or too inconvenient for participants. Choose a date that is both reasonable and accommodating.
2. Decide on the type of event you would like to host - There are many different types of virtual events available, including webinars, web conferences, video conferencing, and roundtables. choose the type of event that will best suit your needs and the interests of your participants.
3. Choose the right platform - Once you have decided on the type of event you would like to host, you need to find the right platform. There are many different platforms available, and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for your needs. Consider what features are necessary for your event, as well as how easy it will be for participants to access and participate in your event.
4. Plan Ahead - One of the most important factors when planning an event is preparing ahead. Make sure to have all the necessary materials ready (speakers’ bios, initial agenda items, questions for panelists), as well as any promotional materials (posters, flyers). This will help ensure smooth execution of your event and minimal disruption during its run.
For some innovation, I can suggest Microsoft AltspaceVR. You do not need a VR headset, yet it provides for an immersive environment.
If you are looking for traditional channels (Teams, Zoom, and the likes), my best advice is to remain creative and engaging. This means, you can get all of your audience to dance prior to, and every 15 to 20 minutes during your presentation, as corporate as the environment might be, it is sure to keep people energized and attentive to your message. Otherwise, loads of creative ways to seek engagement online.
Hope my outside the box, provides for some useful creativity space.
How much interaction do you plan to have between attendees? Consider the platform best suited to your requirements, rather than trying to make the square peg fit into the round hole.
If it is mostly one-way, essentially like television with a presenter and everyone else passively listening, occasionally with a raised hand and question, then a Zoom webinar is sufficient. I've used this myself.
But if there are to be multiple simultaneous subjects, you'll need breakout rooms or a different kind of tool.
Should people be meeting in pairs or small groups, rather than everyone in the same group...and you want them to have mobility? Apps like gatherly and gather.town let participants walk around as if they are on a city block or in a large room. As they approach other people chatting, the sound of that conversation picks up.
Do sponsors need booths? Airmeet might be the answer.
If you are going to be a presenter, perhaps the keynote speaker, then I strongly recommend hiring a master of ceremonies or manager to keep track of timing, segments, moving people to rooms etc. Your mind needs to be on being seen, not managing things. These are two different jobs.