How To Organize Successful Virtual Events: Guide For Beginners

In many situations, working remotely with employees, customers, and various service providers can be essential to keep your work flowing. But, organizing an event remotely, whatever it is, cannot be improvised, it requires a minimum of preparation and organization.

Continue reading to learn how to organize successful virtual events for beginners.

How To Organize Successful Online Events: Guide For Beginners

Why you should organize an online event?

An emergency situation, a material obligation, a specific context, a digital communication strategy aimed at reaching a larger number of prospects, publicizing your company or its services, participants dispersed geographically are all elements that can favour virtual events over physical ones. 

Step by step guide how to organize virtual events

Specify Your Goals

Depending on the type of the virtual event organized, objectives will differ. Overall, hosting an online event aims to:

  • Save time and offer flexibility: faster organization, requiring the mobilization of a reduced team and which can be easily postponed if necessary.
  • Gain visibility: directly communicate in the same place, thus, allowing a considerable number of people to attend a conference, training, etc.
  • Strengthen the relationship between the company/ team and its customers when no physical store exists or with contacts spread over the world.
  • To overcome the impossibility of organizing a physical event: when the participants are too widely dispersed geographically or when exceptional circumstances completely prohibit a real meeting (Covid-19).
  • Provide an eco-friendly option: fewer logistics, flyers, printed documents, brochures, etc.

Benefits of virtual events

  •  Less time-consuming and less expensive to organize than a physical event
  •  Expanded target/audience
  •  Enhanced interactivity
  •  Increased flexibility
  •  Optimization of return on investment

Limits of virtual events

  • Technical issues
  • The participants need to have some equipment to be able to join (laptop, internet connection, etc.) 
  • Distractions
  • No face-to-face networking

The different types of virtual events

There is a wide range of possibilities in this area, which is evolving at high speed, offering new tools day after day, all more efficient than the others. Depending on the objectives, you can choose the most suitable type of virtual events. Here are the most popular ones: 

  • Conference calls: telephone calls to more than 2 people
  • Webinars: online conferences, podcasts
  • Virtual fairs: interactive online fairs
  • Workshops: workshops on a specific subject
  • Moocs (massive open online courses): online courses/training
  • Chats: discussions on specific subjects
  • Remote meetings: meetings with some or all participants geographically dispersed

How to organize a virtual event as a beginner?

Preparing for the event

Whatever the type of the virtual event you want to organize, below are the main steps briefly described. 

– Definition of objectives: expectations, expected benefits, etc.

– Planning: date, time, duration

– Articulation/structuring: modalities, articulation of the event, thematic approaches, shared documents, etc.

– Promotion: invitation or a dedicated website, description of the event, appropriate communication

– Reminder: a few days before the event, then 1 hour before, a reminder of the connection links, identifiers and necessary documents if necessary 

– Setting up and running of the event

– Acknowledgements: answers to questions asked, annexed documents and a summary – sometimes a complete video – of the event.

– Debriefing: what worked, the difficulties encountered, what can be improved, etc.

Different types of virtual events

Conference Calls

1. Determine the subject, objectives of the discussion and the various points to be addressed.

2. Choose the right software.

3. Set a date and a call time.

4. Choose a quiet location suitable for a conference call.

5. Contact the participants, thank them for their presence, state the subject to be addressed, the objectives of the call, recall the rules of good conduct for the conference call.

6. Conduct the discussion taking care not to interfere with the speech of others (surrounding/ keyboard noise). 

7. End the call by thanking all participants.

8. Send an accurate report of the discussions to all participants and possibly to third parties included.

Webinars

Webinars are interesting solutions for businesses as they allow mass communication, publicizing expertise, promoting a new product/service, etc.

However, all participants must be equipped with adequate hardware and software to be able to follow the conference in the proposed format (microphone, speakers, headphones, a webcam may be necessary) and high-speed internet.

1. Define the objectives and choose a subject and presentation likely to attract the target audience.

2. Plan a date, a schedule, and a duration.

3. Send an invitation to register for the webinar.

4. Send a reminder 1 hour before the webinar to all registrants and specify the connection methods.

5. Unroll the webinar: welcome, presentation of the content (the animation must be dynamic and interactive).

6. Encourage participants to participate (react, give their opinion, ask their questions ).

7. Respond to questions within a defined time. Invite participants with other questions to send them by email.

8. End and thank them.

9. Send a summary of the webinar and/or a link to re-watch the conference.

Related: 6 Metrics That Tell You If Your Webinar Was Successful

Podcasts

The podcast is an essential element in the digital communication strategy. It allows the company to approach a subject related to its activity, to gain visibility, and to work on its image with a large panel of prospects. 

A podcast can be presented by a single person, expert in their field or a group of experts.  

1. Define the podcast’s objectives and the subject

2. Elaborate the subject and possibly look for experts to join

3. Prepare the precise plan and/or script

4. Record the podcast: bring the various speakers together if necessary

5. Produce the podcast (editing, a presentation text, online)

6. Prepare the promotion and disseminate (email, website, social networks, etc.)

Remote meeting

The remote meeting is a common practice in many companies; it can be audio or video. However, the camera can be one of the limitations as some people can be shy or uncomfortable to reveal their personal environment.

Overall, these virtual meetings are organized as follows: 

1. Preparation: planning, a definition of the agenda and content, preparation of various necessary documents, sending of invitations and terms

2. Holding the meeting: The challenge is to maintain everyone’s attention from start to finish. Allow everyone to express themselves and listen to others. Besides, appropriately allocate speaking time

3. Debriefing and follow-up: share the report of the meeting with the participants, list the positive points and things to improve in the future ones

Workshop

Online workshops have been on the rise for several years. They allow gathering a certain number of people around a specific subject, opinions, ideas, proposals; and subsequently, solutions can be easily exchanged.

When the collaborators of a team are geographically dispersed, it may be appropriate for the manager to organize an online workshop. 

 1. Define the objective of the workshop (to teach a new skill, to experiment something new, to discuss a specific topic, etc.), the reasons behind it and its target.

2. Determine the content of the workshop and select the participants (minimum skill level, sector of activity, etc.).

3. Define the course of the workshop (overview, introduction, subjects addressed, rules of interaction, duration of the different phases).

4. Prepare any resources (studies, miscellaneous data, courses, definitions, etc.).

5. Choose the tools that will be shared and used by all participants.

6. Virtually bring together workshop participants.

7. Determine each person’s role, objectives and tasks, deadlines and methodologies.

8. Dynamically animate the workshop to prevent the distraction of the participants

Mooc

In brief, the objective here is to put online one or more courses or training that participants or subscribers can follow at their own pace. 

1. Build a multidisciplinary project team with varied skills. For example, subject matter experts, multimedia designers, graphic designers, computer scientists, marketing, etc.

2. Define your target

3. Determine what the objective of the Mooc is: teach, inform, etc

4. Outline the content

5. Define the technologies and tools that will be used

6. Design the content: content and form, resources, videos, exercises, homework, various tutorials

7. Design communication media: press, social networks, web page, mailing, digital marketing, etc.

8. Test the Mooc and correct any bugs and malfunctions. Also, check that all the resources made available are working properly

9. Launch the Mooc

10. Promote the Mooc