Make your virtual event a success

The event industry is in constant evolution and is constantly using technology to achieve its many goals and meet new needs. From communication and marketing tools to event platforms (oh yeah) and technological innovations, the event industry has never ceased to surprise us over the last few decades.

However, the crisis caused by COVID-19 has created a real upheaval within this sector :

  • Mass Event Cancellation
  • Prohibition to gather until further notice
  • Need to reinvent ourselves urgently

Without information about the precise date of the resumption of events, in addition to the climate of mistrust that has developed during this crisis, virtual events seem to be the best recourse for continuing to keep this sector. So how do you make a virtual event a success?

Preparing your virtual event

First of all, you need to know your audience and adapt the content.
As most of the time, the content is the key factor in the success of the event. Content conveys messages, emotions and creates memories. This is even more important in the context of a virtual and online event than in a real room. The distance, distraction and lack of sensation means that the audience needs to be even more captivated and stay captivated. The format of the interventions and their content must therefore be adapted to keep this objective.

1. Be more concise

A 45-minute plenary should not last more than 20 minutes online. Assume that participants will be distracted. So don’t get lost in getting the messages across. Speak the same language as your audience and be more direct than usual.

2. Use visuals, not bullet points.

Do we need to call him back? Screen sharing should be a tool to illustrate the speaker’s words and not a text recited by the speaker.

3. Taking breaks

Like everywhere else.

4. Connect a microphone

  • Use discreet and good quality headphones.
  • Buy a tie (or lavalier) microphone compatible with computers and smartphones

5. Pay attention to your environment

  • Avoid the reverb effect. Prefer a room with fabric and carpet to avoid reverberation of sound. If this is not possible choose a room with furniture and test by talking loudly in the room. Choose one that gives the impression of a more muffled atmosphere.
  • Warn those around you not to make any noise during the recording and systematically turn off your microphone if you do not intervene.
  • Do not stand in front of a door, it could open during your intervention!
  • Do not stand in front of the window overlooking the boulevard, a 30-ton truck could pass by!
  • Switch your smart phones & watches to airplane mode. Not only for the noise, but also to avoid being distracted.
  • Do not type on your keyboard, do not move the table.

6. Avoid backlighting at all costs…

Backlighting is when you film yourself with your back to the sun, so the lens is “dazzled” and you only see your silhouette.

We do not always realize the harmful effect of backlighting when we make a video-conference because our eye has a dynamic range much wider than the sensors of cameras and camcorders. Our eye therefore accepts greater contrasts of light and sees almost correctly all the elements of the scene.

7. And the shadows that frighten

Shadows are due to directional lighting that illuminates only part of the face. This can have a beautiful effect but it can also be frightening. Positioning oneself well in relation to the light and using fill light helps to avoid this.

8. As in photomatons

Adjust your seat… or the height of the camera. The speaker looks at the lens, he is at the same height as the lens, and is almost centered on the screen (the best is a little bit off). This will increase his charisma. It is also necessary to avoid backward shots, bad framing.

9. Do not impose the download of an application.

Simplicity! This means that you don’t have to download any software (i.e. the chosen video solution must be browser-compatible).

10. Be clear

  • Repeat the access link for each communication, be very clear if there is a need for a code or login credentials.
  • Announce in the communication emails if the replay will be available. It is not a secret and the question will be asked.

11. Open the doors before the start

Invite participants to log in 15 minutes before the start of the live show. This will avoid some delays, it can initiate discussions in the chat and it’s the opportunity to put on music, see the room filling up scroll through videos or visuals.

12. Be punchy, from the beginning

As in real life and as in short journalist formats, the first 10 seconds are very important to captivate your audience.

  • Don’t start immediately with practical and logistical information, save it for later.
  • Don’t mention logistical or technical issues when they don’t directly concern the audience.
  • When there are several of you, don’t ask the audience if they can hear you, trust your co-presenter to inform you of any problems.

13. Keep your attention

Chat is a great opportunity to engage the audience instinctively and instantly. Use it to re-engage participants regularly by asking simple questions. The chat can be used as a catchphrase in addition to the spoken word.

14. Always TEST

  • Always set aside at least 30 minutes for testing, well in advance of the event.
  • Also allow 15 minutes for testing just prior to the event.