By Beth Becker, Global Meeting Services Manager, Attune
Many planners today find themselves scrambling to transition their in-person events to virtual platforms. Below are five areas to consider when converting your event:
When hosting a virtual meeting content is king. Content will attract attendees, maintain audience engagement, successfully communicate your message, and promote sales. Virtual meetings should promote collaboration; however some content or activities may not transfer well to a remote environment. it may be necessary to adjust your content slightly to accommodate a virtual setup and maintain attendee engagement.
Deploying a virtual attendance platform typically involves buying a license (or licenses) for virtual meeting rooms and determining how those rooms will be utilized during live events.
There are quite a few platforms available on the market today, most of which are capable of sharing content. Choosing the right platform should be dictated by the nature of the content. If it’s purely informational, shorter in duration, or has 50 or more attendees, a webinar format may be your best option. For content that is more interactive, a two-way platform may be a better choice as it will better replicate a live, in-person environment.
3. Peripheral Equipment
Virtual meetings can be conducted using the built-in camera and microphone that come with most modern computers. However, upgrading your equipment can go a long way in improving presentation quality. Items to consider include: a high-definition video camera, external microphone, external lighting, larger monitor, and enhanced bandwidth. These items, with the exception of bandwidth, are easily accessible at local stores and online.
4. Delivery and Support
Just as with in-person events, proper planning, preparation, support, and backup plans are essential to the success of virtual events. Many planners underestimate the value of technical support. Unless you have a dedicated IT department that has both the knowledge and bandwidth to support your event, you’re better off working with a meeting delivery specialist, like Attune, to help you plan, deliver, and support your event.
Whether you choose to go it alone or work with an event delivery partner, here are a few key considerations as you plan your event.
Presenter Training: How familiar are your presenters with technology and virtual platforms? Conducting a training session with an experienced virtual technician can help presenters feel more comfortable with the technology and reduce delays or confusion during the live virtual event.
Attendee Support: Attendees can occasionally experience challenges logging in or staying connected. An established protocol and dedicated support team will ensure maximum participation, attendee engagement, and satisfaction scores.
Rehearsal: One of the benefits of virtual events is the ability to conduct unlimited rehearsals. This allows you to work out the kinks and address any technical difficulties ahead of time. Inviting a few colleagues to attend the rehearsal as audience members can provide valuable feedback prior to going live.
Backup Plan: It’s important to establish a backup plan in case encounter problems or an internet outage occurs. Many platforms offer a dial-in option that enables the user to listen in and take part in the conversation, though they won’t see any video or content being shared.
5. Optional Features
There are many optional, interactive features offered by today’s virtual platforms. Items such as live chat, polling, and built-in surveys can be useful for gathering information and maintaining attendee engagement.
In today’s uncertain environment, virtual attendance platforms can provide viable options for delivering live events. Planning, technical support, and back-up plans are a must to mitigate failure. Planners should seek assistance from an event delivery partner who can assist in the set-up and support of the virtual event.
To learn more about converting in-person events to virtual, Attune is currently running a webinar series on this topic. Click here to register one of their upcoming webinars.
Beth Becker is the Global Meeting Services Manager for Attune and has more than 20 years’ experience in the travel/hospitality and meetings industry.
Active in the Meeting community, Beth currently serves as a moderator for MeCo and Global Correspondent and Talent Bench member for i-Meet. You can connect with Beth via Linkedin.