When you’re running a virtual event, you want everything to be flawless. From the use of event planning software to your presenters, there are a lot of things to consider. As an event planner or event coordinator for your brand, you may be wondering what could possibly go wrong.
One thing that could go wrong is that your presenters and your attendees are awfully confused, don’t understand the technology, or are in the wrong places at the wrong times.
In order to avoid confusion or mistakes at the time of your event, it is helpful to take some steps to prepare each presenter and the incoming virtual attendees. Both parties will need to know different things, and you should plan early on to educate both the presenter and the attendee groups so that they are up to speed.
Here is our guide to preparing presenters and attendees for your next virtual event!
What Your Presenters Need to Know
Your presenters are your virtual event’s bread-and-butter. This means that the attendees and sponsors are likely interested in what they have to say. Online participants might be signing up simply to see one or many of the presenters you have lined up. Therefore, you know that your presenters will be facing the attendees and you want to make sure that they look good and that they don’t reflect poorly on your brand.
Presenters will generally be worried about a few things:
- Navigating and being familiar with the event platform
- Being aware of cues from the event organizer, other presenters, session chair, and online audience members
- Managing the technology (i.e., manning a PowerPoint presentation and operating it)
- Their own internet or technological issues
- Speaking points and personal cues
- Timing and scheduling
- Aesthetic and appearance
When you bring this all together and bring any personal distractions they may have, this might be a lot to handle. At any moment, your presenter’s internet could fail or they might not feel comfortable with the technology, which could negatively reflect onto your brand.
Steps to Prepare Presenters Ahead of Your Virtual Event
Naturally, we can’t account for all of these potential problems. However, there are some things that you as a brand can do to make your presenters feel more comfortable and to prepare them for “need-to-knows” prior to the event.
Here are some steps that you should take to prepare presenters ahead of your virtual event:
- Run a dress rehearsal of the entire event
- Set up one-on-one meetings so that presenters can ask questions
- Clearly set up a schedule for the virtual sessions that informs presenters about the roles of moderators, emcees, presenters, and remote attendees
- Encourage presenters to enroll in speaker and exhibitor training webinars
- Ask that your presenters video record their virtual presentation or do a live presentation with your crew
- Schedule a mock Q & A with the moderator
- Practice how breakout sessions will go, if applicable
- Assign your presenter with a liaison who will help them if they have any questions; they will also keep track of this individual when the time comes
Ensuring that you have resources on hand for your presenters should be top-of-mind when you start to run your virtual event. Setting up these steps for success early on will encourage presenters to sign up, especially since they will know that they have support staff on hand throughout the entire process.
In preparing your presenters, you want to highlight a) key aspects of the technology platform that you are using, b) key timing cues that the presenters need to know, and c) roles of the individuals on your team so that they are comfortable reaching out to members for support.
Your presenters want to feel confident. If they have never used your virtual event platform before, then you want to walk them through it. While a platform like Accelevents might be intuitive, you don’t want to assume that your presenters want to think this through at a stressful moment. You also only want them focused on certain aspects of the software, such as signing on, setting up the PowerPoint presentation, and the platform’s screen share, video, and audio functions.
Timing cues are also helpful for the presenter, especially since most will likely be working with an emcee, moderator, or presenter. If the moderator plans to introduce the presenter, but the moderator is waiting on the emcee, then your presenter will want to know that. They want to know exactly when they are needed so that nothing goes wrong.
And lastly, be sure to designate certain stakeholders to touch base with the presenter before, during, and after the virtual event. Just having someone that they know that they can reach out to will make all the difference. In this regard, pretend like you are bringing a friend to a party and they don’t know anyone! You don’t want them to feel like an outcast! While this might not be the case in reality for your presenters, having this touchpoint or body there will make them feel reassured about the whole process.
What Your Virtual Audience Needs to Know
When it comes to your virtual event, your attendees will likely be eager to see what you have in store for them. If one of the goals of your virtual event is brand awareness or lead generation, then you are probably already focused on the information that your attendees need to know. However, there are likely some things that are falling through the cracks.
In preparing your registered virtual attendees for your event, they will be wanting to know the following:
- Start times, scheduling conflicts, and if there is any deadline to pay mind to (like a deadline for registering for the platform)
- The presenter calendar (including name, business association, and topic or abstract information)
- How to work the virtual technology platform (if there is anything that should be considered)
- Basic functions of the virtual platform, like will their video camera be on or off
- Operating system requirements so that applications can be updated prior to the event
- If there is the ability to get notifications for presenters
- Whether or not a physical event is also occurring alongside the virtual event portion
Don’t focus so much on each participant as potential sales leads, and remember to put yourself in their shoes. Identify what they need to know and the resources that they will need in order to make the event more enjoyable.
Steps to Prepare Attendees Ahead of Your Virtual Event
Preparing the virtual attendee will depend on what it is that your attendees need to know. If you are using a new event software platform, like Accelevents, then you should send out early emails to remind your attendees that the event will be hosted through this platform to ensure that their web browser suits the necessary operating requirements and provide any details that you want them to know.
Many of the steps for preparing attendees simply require early notice. Here are some things that your team should do to prepare attendees and help them feel welcome:
- Send them a confirmation email upon registration
- Try to include as much detail as possible about the virtual event software in the confirmation email so that registered participants do not have to go searching through their emails for important information; include this information in any event reminders you send as well
- Inform the guests about the schedule as soon as it is confirmed
- Promote big guests, like the keynote speaker
- Inform them if there will be pre recorded content
- Send out questionnaires before and after the event as this gauges audience engagement potentials and room for improvement on the attendee experience
- Invite guests to join the Accelevents platform during an “open play” time so that attendees can go into the platform and see what it looks like
- Encourage attendees to create questions based on certain topics, themes, or presenters
- Engage with potential attendees through social media, asking them which presenter they are most excited for
- Ask questions of your attendees, either on social media or via email
- Send out regularly scheduled reminders prior to the event
In this busy age, your attendees want to have all of the links, necessary information, and event details conveniently available. This means that important information should be available in multiple spots (such as on the webpage, on social media, on the event landing page, and in emails).
Your attendees will be largely focused on a few things: a) finding and collecting the information related to the event, b) knowing there is support staff while at the event, and c) tutorial or walk-through of the event platform.
Send out a few “big” emails that contain a lot of important information rather than small bits of information in multiple emails, as these smaller emails might get lost. You might also want to think about the email address being used and the subject line – is it easy to locate in an email app? And will attendees know what to type in when searching for it?
Early communication will be key. Additionally, attendees will want to know who to talk with during the event if they have any questions or issues. Be sure to post information on the platform, like an FAQ or Contact section so attendees can quickly connect with IT or support staff.
At the attendees’ first sign in, they should clearly see tutorial markers and walk-through information. These will be easy to read and clearly direct attendees to the key areas of the virtual event technology that they need to know. Add additional tutorials and resources in your FAQ or resources section, and even on the event website!
Planning your virtual event is a lot of work, and you want to make sure that your presenters and attendees are fully prepared to go into the event. With these steps prepared ahead of time, you will be able to quickly and effortlessly set up these necessary checks so that you know that your presenters and attendees are prepared.
Consider hosting your online event through the intuitive Accelevents program. Accelevents also hosts presenter and exhibitor training webinars, so you can outsource this aspect of your event planning. See today how event planning through Accelevents can make your hybrid event or virtual event a success!