How To Host A Virtual Award Ceremony


At one point or another, we all thought that the typical awards ceremony was supposed to look like the Oscars. Okay, maybe not this Oscars.

But an award ceremony nowadays can look like anything you want it to be. Including a virtual awards ceremony!

How To Host A Virtual Award Ceremony

That being said, you might not be sure what exactly a virtual awards gala should look like. After all, virtual events can still feel pretty new to some folks.

That’s why we’re here to help you turn your online awards ceremony into a successful event that everyone won’t be able to stop talking about. And for all the right reasons…

See Related: How To Talk About Company Culture

What is a virtual awards ceremony?

Virtual award ceremonies sound like they ought to be hosted on a spaceship. But we promise it’s not actually that complicated.

They’re simply an awards ceremony hosted over a broadcasting platform. And there are actually quite a few advantages to that.

Not everyone is ready to attend an in person event just yet. So a virtual awards event allows you to still hold the live event, but with an even bigger audience.

Not to mention that an online award ceremony is great at measuring real time feedback and collecting attendee data. This way, the entire process is documented and with a group chat to boot!

Why host a virtual awards ceremony?

The obvious reason for hosting a virtual awards ceremony is that you can’t hold a live event. But remember – this isn’t just an event.

It’s an event built on recognition. So let’s take a look at some of the people you can recognize at your next virtual awards ceremony with a virtual comedian or host

Employee recognition program

There’s no question that remote employees have made some big sacrifices over the past two years. So doesn’t it feel like the right time to make them award recipients?

Besides, an event online like a virtual awards ceremony helps to break things up in the workplace. After all, they’re most likely used to the virtual space being reversed for a conference space or virtual meeting.

But an award show just boosts morale and adds excitement to the whole affair. And odds are, your employees deserve to be recognized for their efforts.

Donor recognition awards

Maybe you’re looking to host a virtual event for donors who’ve supported your organization through thick and thin. Well, hosting a virtual one ensures that as many people can attend as possible.

Especially since they don’t have the excuse of not being able to make the physical event. Besides, people attending virtual events get to enjoy it just as much as live events.

But with some extra virtual interaction. And maybe even a social media audience to share the event with!

Top tips for a successful virtual event

So, are you ready to take on hosting your virtual award show? It’s a big undertaking. But these tips will help you ensure that your award function runs smoothly.

#1. Define the purpose of your virtual award ceremony

Award ceremonies need to have a clear purpose in mind. So before you get event organizers going on the logistics, brainstorm what exactly you want all the attendees to come away from the event with.

Going virtual means that you get your event delivered to people's homes so remember that you are a guest in their house

Is it offering a deserving team member a spot in the limelight? Or a chance to enhance marketing efforts for your organization overall?

Establishing this purpose will help guide your award show. And it will give everyone in attendance a meaningful reason for being there.

Besides, every event needs a direction. And this will help your planning process too.

#2. Determine what award categories to include

Virtual events really run the gambit. One virtual event requires corporate entertainment while another… actually, scratch that.

All virtual events should have some form of entertainment. But what we’re really trying to say is that your award functions can look different from others.

It’s just a matter of choosing how you want to go about manning your virtual stage. For example, you might want to create fun categories for employee awards like, “Best Coffee Maker” or “Best At Fixing The Copying Machine.”

On the other hand, you could go a more serious route and invite well known judges. All in all, your virtual event is what you make of it.

#3. Find the right virtual platform for you

There are dozens of virtual platforms out there for you to host your event on. And again, this will boil down to what kind of event you want to host.

If you’re giving out gift certificates as awards, you probably won’t be needing that special server equipment. But who are we to say?

You may have a key aspect of your presentation that requires an establishing network that’s much stronger than your typical Zoom session. Either way, figuring out this platform early in advance will help you determine how to run the rest of your event.

#4. Hire a comedian to open and close the awards ceremony

Sometimes, it can be tricky to get your audience engaged. Especially when it’s not an in-person attendance kind of event.

So what’s the best way to make sure that your audience is left laughing and enjoying themselves? By hiring a comedian, of course!

A comedian may also act as a great emcee to your virtual event as well. They’ll know how to adeptly interrupt acceptance speeches that go on for just a little too long.

And all without making the award recipient feel bad. And if it’s an employee recognition event, they’ll be able to announce the award winner in a fair manner.

(Office politics happen. But Clean Comedians® will make sure they won’t dampen the evening.)

Bonus: How Does Humor Help With Mental Health?

#5. Start advertising on social media platforms

Once you’ve got all of the logistics planned out for your virtual event, start advertising! Use your social media to generate buzz.

Even use social media to collect votes for award winners. This is a great way to start off a virtual event because guests’ initial interactions with the event are indeed virtual as well.

And besides, even after the event has happened, you can share an acceptance speech or two on your feed. Just to remind folks of how great the event was.

But in the meantime, remind them that the maximum votes wins!

#6. Expand your target audience

You may have your ideal audience in mind. But virtual events will teach you that the sky’s the limit when it comes to who can attend.

Going virtual also means that more people can see your event so take this opportunity to increase brand awareness and spread the word about your organization

So use this to your advantage! There are plenty of opportunities to expand your target pool while also increasing brand awareness.

And who knows? You might even generate a little bit more for your own sales. Just because you can’t present physically doesn’t mean you have fewer opportunities at your disposal.

#7. Use interactive technology to your advantage

You probably noticed at the last couple of in person events you attended that technology played a huge role. Well now, with a virtual award ceremony, it plays the pivotal role.

Use these virtual tools to engage with audience members directly. Or even encourage folks to shout out other employees in the group chat.

This will help to generate buzz around the whole event. And it’s much more interactive for folks who are sitting at home.

Additionally, these kinds of tools help audience members to feel included. So if you’re going for a community feel to your virtual event, then consider these tools your secret weapon.

#8. Live stream the virtual award ceremony on social media

You may have another virtual platform already picked out. But that doesn’t mean you can’t expand your audience by live streaming on social media too!

This way, you get double the exposure. And on social media, people can share screenshots or event highlights more easily than from a conference call.

Not to mention that you open up your target audience to an entirely new demographic. Remember: when you go virtual, you’re coming into peoples’ homes.

So make use of every door and window they have open. Whether it’s a browser tab, a social media profile, or a livestream on Facebook.

#9. Pre-record award ceremony content with invited guests who can’t attend

Every kind of virtual event requires advance planning. But perhaps none more so than a virtual award ceremony.

Pre-recorded content will help to smooth out transitions at your virtual event and it serves as another opportunity to plan ahead so that you don't have to worry on the day

So, if you can, try to pre-record most of your content before the event itself. This way, you won’t have to worry about any hiccups in the middle of the award ceremony.

And if there were certain speakers who couldn’t do the virtual event live, then it still gives them the opportunity to have their presence known. Besides, when it comes to timing, pre-recorded content will help you out in the long run.

#10. Rehearse the virtual award gala with speakers beforehand

If you have a lot of moving parts to your virtual award ceremony, then you’ll want to rehearse with everyone involved. Well, the only exception being the award recipients themselves.

This way, you can get everyone on the same page. And if there’s a host in charge of introducing guest speakers, they’ll have a clearer idea of how to phrase their introduction.

And on a personal note, these rehearsals are our favorite part of the process. Because we get to see multiple minds coming together to create an unforgettable evening.

Even if it’s only happening on a computer screen. Every moment of your virtual award ceremony counts, so do your prep work and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

#11. Keep the virtual awards ceremony short and tight

We’re all guilty of watching the first half of the Oscars, then shutting the TV off and going to bed. And that’s simply to say that awards ceremonies shouldn’t be that long!

Yes, they’re a fun event for folks to celebrate together. But the ceremony itself shouldn’t drag on and on, waiting for the next award recipient.

So make sure that whatever bits you have planned in between awards are purposeful and tight. After all, the focus should be on the winners themselves.

Not the comedic bits in between. So do both yourself and your audience a favor by making the show only as long as it needs to be.

#12. Invite attendees to share about the event over social media

Earlier, we mentioned the power of social media in relation to your virtual event. And guess what?

We’re here to tell you again! Just because the event has concluded doesn’t mean that you can’t keep celebrating.

Hiring a clean comedian to facilitate and entertain at your event is a surefire way to get the audience engaged while also ensuring that they laugh and have a good time

So invite attendees to share their experiences of the event on their own profiles. Even create an event hashtag so that you can find everybody’s media in one place.

This is not only a great way to continue engaging the audience past the event. But it’s great for your brand recognition and for the award recipients.

Because let’s be honest. The phrase “All good things must come to an end” is a bit of a downer. And we want to keep the party going for as long as we can.

A night to remember

Awards ceremonies are always a fun affair. And by going virtual, you’re simply amplifying the fun.

With as many technological tools at our disposal, it seems like a no-brainer to do a virtual awards ceremony. So give your deserving employees, donors, and guests a night to remember!

Keep Reading: What Are The 4 Types Of Corporate Culture?

Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.