Virtual Events – Insights from an Event Manager


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Virtual Events – Insights from an Event Manager

Georgia Perillo, KE’s Virtual Events Creator

In the worlds of Justin Timberlake – Ayooo, you’ve got me using technology.

Well, if there was anything positive to come out of 2020, it has to be the development and evolution of technology, especially in the events industry with the introduction of new ways to deliver events via virtual and hybrid platforms!

Gone are the days of Zoom webinars – with our state of the art event software ONAIR, (created by the award winning EventsAir platform) we are able to do 1:1 delegate networking, online exhibitions, interactive panel sessions, live polling, quizzes, Q&A and live stream presenters from all over the world, even outta space! (Believe me, I’ve done it).

I’ll be honest, planning my first virtual event was daunting! With the sudden cancelation of the all face to face events around the world event management companies, including our very own, KE Creative Events, had to fast-track learning new software and systems to keep the lines of communication open and the excitement around events alive for our clients.

As opposed to a face to face event, as an Event Manager, it feels like a lot of the control is out of our hands. Having to rely on internet connections, external on the ground management and the system being able to handle 500+ delegates on in the portal at one time without crashing can make the most confident of us waiver.

What I do put mind at ease when delivering a virtual event, is making sure my virtual platform is set up well in advance. Pre-planning and rehearsal is key to enabling me a good night’s rest prior to kick off! With running a virtual event, a lot is in the hands of the presenters’ broadband (if they are presenting remotely) – ensure presenters are hardwired into their router, personal hot-spotting is a NO NO!! Also ensure there are no distractions in their home or office (kids, phone calls etc) and that background noise is kept to a minimum.

As an event virtual manager, a must have is multiple screens. You will feel like a bit for a 2000s gamer, however, the more visibility you have over the aspects of your virtual event, the better. I have one screen as my host screen, to be able to direct content on the main stage, a screen showing my attendee view and I also have my laptop to keep an eye on the live support feature. One must wear many hats when delivering a virtual event.

In additional to above, here are my handy tips for delivering a virtual event:

  • Engage with your attendees, this is what they have been craving! Encourage your presenters to incorporate live polls, Q&A, quizzes and prizes. With our virtual AIRCast, you can even live stream to one of your attendees and have them ask their question / contribute to the conversation live on the main screen
  • Make sure your MC is engaging, well spoken, understands the content and is well versed with your platform. I like to spend a little extra time with them to ensure they are comfortable with their role in bringing the event together and to really push the benefits of the platform – ie make sure they know how to use the networking features and encourage guests to visit the exhibition area
  • Make sure you’re not on mute! We’ve all been there.

After something a bit different, here’s a few ideas that will wow your next virtual audience:

  • Virtual entertainment: think a live 8 piece band coming to you live from NYC.
  • Real-Time Illustrations: Bring on a talented digital illustrator to digitally scribe your presenters talk – this is a great way to keep attendees engaged, ensure your presenter is heard and appeal to multiple senses.
  • Incorporate some feel good stretches in before heading into the refreshment breaks
  • Send your attendees a goody bag. E.g. Tasting bottles of gin to do a gin tasting during the networking element of your event. Or a food bag and have a live streamed chef to do a lunch time cooking tutorial.
  • Integrate a gaming platform (a simple game such as Pacman) and have a competition, highest points wins a prize! This could be provided by a sponsor.

The reality is virtual events are not going away anytime soon so it’s best to embrace them and find new and exciting ways to deliver your content and captivate your delegates!