How to Master the Art of Virtual Events with Pre and Post Event Strategies

You’re ready for your next virtual event. You’ve chosen a theme, lined-up speakers, developed an agenda, and prepared materials. Time to sit back and relax, right?

Not exactly. A big part of making your event a success comes from what you do before and after the event. With a little extra effort, you can GREATLY increase how many of your invitees:

  • Show up
  • Pay attention
  • Apply what’s discussed

Preparing your audience beforehand and following up with them afterward can make all the difference in pulling off a successful virtual event.

Pre-Event Prep

There are several things you can prepare before the big event. Pay special attention to how you prep the following 3 groups of people:

1. Attendees

Taking time to prep attendees in advance increases success as it leads to:

  • Higher attendance rate
  • Increased engagement
  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • More participation

Technical Prep

Don’t assume all of your attendees are tech-savvy.

You don’t want participants trying to figure out how to log in, join the chat, or use audio/video features while you’re giving your introduction during the event. Instead, do yourself a favor and prepare them in advance.

What you can do: Send out step-by-step instructions on navigating the event, from log-in instructions to a list of features that will be used throughout the event. If the platform is particularly challenging, or your audience is significantly techno-impaired, consider sending out an instructional video. 

Share Ergonomic Tips

Sharing tips to improve audience comfort during the event goes a LONG way in their engagement.

It’s hard for your audience to concentrate on what you’re saying if their backs and necks are killing them. So give some friendly tips to help attendees stay comfortable throughout the event, such as:

  • Raise the computer to eye level
  • Maintain good posture. No “slouching”
  • Keep shoulders and arms relaxed
  • Minimize forward reaching by sitting close to the table
  • Keep feet firmly supported on the floor
  • Avoid pushing the head forward toward the screen. Keep it upright above the neck

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Share a diagram of proper office ergonomics with attendees. Proper set-up and position will help attendees avoid fatigue during the event.

Build Anticipation

Build excitement for the event by giving attendees something to look forward to. You know how much this event is going to benefit your attendees. So share that enthusiasm with them in advance!

The agenda is a great place to showcase the event:

  • Will you have guest speakers?
  • Are there any key tips that the audience will walk away with?
  • Will there be any participation sections that will make the event more enjoyable?

Put these on the agenda! All of this gives attendees not only a reason to show up but the excitement to be engaged throughout it.

Consider creating a giveaway for the event. Make it something simple and crowd-pleasing (think Starbucks or Amazon gift cards). A small blurb on the agenda about the giveaway will do a lot to build excitement for the event.  

2. Guest Speakers

Guest speakers are often a highlight of virtual events.

Sometimes attendees will join an event simply because a guest speaker is presenting. How can you make the most of this advantage?

Practice Run

Sometimes in life, you can “wing it” and get by just fine. This is not one of those times. Nothing will lose your audience’s attention like a guest speaker that can’t figure out how to unmute.

Make sure everyone is prepared and on the same page by doing a practice run beforehand. Use this opportunity to ensure guest speakers:

  • Can successfully navigate the event platform
  • Are aware of and adhering to the timeline
  • Know how to share any materials (i.e. through screen sharing, the chat feature, or another method)
  • Understand the plan for audience Q&A
  • Are prepared for breakout rooms or any sections that will involve them engaging the audience
  • Have a background and appearance that you approve of

A practice run is also a great place for guest speakers to freely ask any questions that they may have about the event and their role in it. This open discussion will put both their and your mind at ease with everyone knowing exactly what to expect on event day.

3. Your Event Team

A good event team is the backbone of any successful event. They keep things running smoothly behind the scenes so you can focus on inspiring your audience. Members of the team might take care of things like:

  • Muting and unmuting participants
  • Disabling participant videos when necessary
  • Admitting people from the waiting room into the event
  • Messaging those who have questions or raised hands
  • Assigning breakout rooms

Prep members of your team in advance by going over roles and answering any questions. And remember, practice runs are helpful to ensure your team is prepared. If you aren’t confident about the capability of your team, it might be worth it to bring on some extra help.

Post-Event Follow Up

After your event, you can celebrate a job well done. But don’t forget to take advantage of a few bonus ways to benefit from your event.

Share Event Recording

It’s inevitable that at least a few of the invitees won’t be able to make it. Help them benefit from the information presented by sharing the event recording, keeping them on the same page as the rest of your team.

In addition to the video recording, develop a written summary of the event. This can be used as a quick reference for you and your team members as well as a basis for blog posts and newsletters.

Show Appreciation

We all like to feel appreciated, but a quick ‘thank you’ email does more than make your attendees and guest speakers feel good. Showing gratitude makes you stand out above your competition making people more likely to come to you in the future.

Ask for Feedback

Even if your event went off without a hitch, there’s always something that could be improved. Send out a post-event survey to attendees to gather their feedback on things like:

  • Engagement level of the event overall
  • User-friendliness of the event platform
  • Quality of the speakers
  • Tips for future events (such as workshop or group participation ideas)

If you have guest speakers at your event, gather feedback from them as well. Any suggestions they have can improve the guest speaker portion at your next event.

Encourage Networking

In a recent study, 76% of over 8,000 participants said in-person events were important in order to network and make connections.

Virtual events certainly change the WAY we network but they don’t have to eliminate it. There are several ways after your event to bring back that sense of community.

Create a group on Slack, LinkedIn, social media, or a channel of your choice to:

  • Share insights on projects and topics discussed at the event
  • Share photos or videos from the event
  • Discuss topics and ideas for future events

By encouraging networking after the event, you provide a place for attendees to further discuss what you presented. This allows it to sink in a little deeper and inspire additional collaboration, reaping even greater benefits from your hard work.

Bring in the Big Guns

Here at Virtual Velocity, we’ve made virtual events our life’s work. Whether you’re new to virtual events or are just feeling a little in over your head, we’re here to pick up the slack.

From making an agenda, sending invites, and handling technical issues to getting the most out of your event by following up with attendees afterward, we’ve got your back.

Would you like to learn how we could help you make your next event one for the books? Set up an appointment with us today and we’ll bring our experience and passion to your next event.