Virtual events may sound like the company motto from 2020. But odds are, you and your company experienced a successful virtual conference or two.
Top Tips For Hosting The Best Virtual Conferences
- Determine the best virtual conference platforms to use
- Hire a corporate comedian and funny keynote speaker to engage attendees
- Promote your conference sessions online
- Make contingency plans in case things go awry
So much so that virtual events and virtual conferences are no longer to be thought of as a pandemic detour. But rather a normalized option going forward.
In case you need a refresher or two, we’re here to offer our tips on how to plan your next successful virtual conference once again. Because there’s always a lot to be gained from going back to the basics.
#1. Determine your virtual event platform
There are, of course, several different webinar platforms and virtual platforms to choose from. But at its core, you’ll want to make sure that your virtual platform is user-friendly and able to take on both your small and large-scale virtual conference needs.
As the first to-do on your event planning list, this is your time to shop around. See which webinar platform offers what features and which virtual event platforms have gotten the most praise.
At this point, you can bet that people are familiar with most virtual conference platforms out there, including the features they like and dislike. So take in what they’ve learned to choose the best virtual event platform for your virtual conference needs.
What engagement tools do you want event attendees to utilize?
If you hosted a successful virtual trade show with a specific virtual platform, you may not want to change things up. But consider these factors when looking into a virtual platform for your next online event.
Having a video chat might seem somewhat overwhelming if you’re hosting events on a large scale. But for a virtual meeting, for example, having a chat feature can eliminate unnecessary banter.
As speakers give their presentations, other attendees may offer up new ideas in the chat without disrupting the speakers’ flow. And at online conferences, attendees can feel more connected to each other through digital communication.
When folks can’t gather a physical location, small features like this help to bridge the gap. And if you’re hosting networking events, then a chat feature is a no-brainer.
A virtual conference platform with a mobile event app to boot is definitely a plus. Hosting a virtual conference requires balancing a ton of moving parts.
And while an app might seem like yet another moving thing to balance, it can actually afford greater accessibility for those wishing to attend virtually. This way, they can literally tune in from a mobile device.
And not have to worry about being tied down to their desktop computer. Plus, with greater access to your event online, you may even see a larger audience turnout.
Some companies are used to having booths when they host their in-person events. And not only do booths offer attendees a variety of content, but it also allows sponsors to market their product or organization.
Luckily, just because you’re hosting your event virtually doesn’t mean you can’t have a similar setup. In fact, there are a number of virtual conferences that allow for multiple booths.
Implementing this setup and feature just boosts the variety that your online conference should have in the first place. After all, you want the virtual environment to be rich and diverse, don’t you?
Virtual waiting room
As folks wait for the event to get started, it’s only right they have a place to gather amongst themselves. A virtual waiting room is a perfect space to build excitement for attendees before opening the virtual conference doors.
And it can even provide networking opportunities for attendees in the meantime. A successful event is one that focuses on the entire attendee experience.
You don’t want them to hang high and dry until the virtual conference officially gets started. So just remember that hosting a virtual conference takes into account every second of the attendees’ time.
Audience spotlight tools
We’re guessing this isn’t your first virtual conference. In fact, we’re banking on the fact that you’ve been around the block when it comes to virtual events.
But just in case you haven’t, another tool at your disposal is the option to spotlight certain audience members at the drop of a hat. No, we don’t mean embarrassing your guests but rather turning on their video when they ask a question.
Or allowing other attendees to see who’s up in the live Q&A session. This can help to replicate the feel of in-person events while still offering the benefits that online events have to offer.
Virtual hand raising
Yet another tool to implement at your virtual conferences is none other than virtual hand-raising. If you’re hosting a virtual conference with an auction or simply want to make the space more interactive, hand-raising offers that in-person event feel.
But without disrupting the speaker or other activities the event planners have organized. Now that sounds like the best of both worlds.
Lastly, when you host a virtual conference, you want to add some variety to the mix. And breakout sessions are a great way to do that while also encouraging attendee networking.
Besides, at a physical event or in-person conference, you’d likely be circling the room to meet others. Well, breakout tools such as these offer a similar experience for events held online.
#2. Hire a corporate comedian to draw attendees in
Every event needs some kind of a “wow” factor. And hiring a corporate comedian is the exact kind of “wow” you want to inspire guests to utter.
(And not the sarcastic “wow,” but the genuine in-awe “wow.” That’s like music to our ears!)
Why include entertainment in your virtual event?
You’ve likely been prepping for your online conference for quite some time. So how exactly can a clean comedian help you achieve your event goals?
Boost attendee engagement
Virtual events can feel somewhat dull without the right kind of engagement. But a clean comedian fixes that problem for you.
With family-friendly jokes and fun activities, our lineup of corporate entertainers ensures engagement at both your virtual conference and live event. Besides, they’re very funny if we do say so ourselves.
Encourage attendees to interact with one another
Entertainment at your internal hybrid events or virtual conferences might seem trivial on the surface. But that shared experience gives attendees something to talk about and bond over.
Just think of any in-person event you’ve attended where the entertainment was as memorable as the connections you made with others. There’s a reason why those two things go hand in hand.
Increase audience participation
Sometimes, it can be difficult for guests to speak up at a virtual conference. But if you open your event with a comedian who already encourages participation, then they are far more likely to speak up after the act.
After all, participation needs to be coaxed out. And a corporate entertainer knows exactly how to do it, and artfully so.
Multiple hosts can facilitate networking
Let’s say you’ve hired multiple comedic hosts to help steer the direction of the event. While you may be familiar with the phrase “Too many cooks in the kitchen,” it doesn’t necessarily apply to a virtual conference with a large number of people attending.
In fact, having multiple hosts can help to give individual attention to guests, making the event feel more attentive and intimate. So in this case, we’d suggest you go along with the phrase, “The more the merrier!“
#3. Promote your virtual event through event marketing
What’s the worst thing that can happen when you host a virtual conference? Nobody shows up.
So to make sure that doesn’t happen, get your advertiser’s cap on and start marketing. Blast info about your event through email subscriptions, social media, and other digital ads.
And make sure that everyone knows when, where, and at what time your virtual conference is taking place.
How can you garner a global audience?
We’re not saying this part is simple. But there are a couple of ways you can maximize the chances of your virtual event receiving a large audience turnout.
Advertise external hybrid events on social media
A virtual conference alone can sometimes feel a bit limiting. But luckily, when you host virtual conferences that also feature in-person elements, you can maximize your audience right away.
Of course, hosting a hybrid event is a little different than going purely virtual. But if you decide that your event goals include getting a particularly large turnout, then a hybrid event will be sure to fit everyone’s criteria and needs.
Go hybrid to satisfy face-to-face interaction
Some people have come to prefer a virtual conference over an in-person one. But others aren’t quite so convinced.
So satisfy both parties and make a compromise. Besides, a hybrid event really is the best of both worlds that can satisfy peoples’ desires and schedules.
Create an event website to keep attendees informed
The more information you can put out about your virtual event, the better. Because guests like to know exactly what they’re in for.
So, maintain a website that lists agenda items. Or keep your social media feed updated on important event announcements. Either way, your guests will appreciate being kept in the loop.
#4. Make contingency plans for your virtual conferences
Technical difficulties are an inevitability. But just because they’re bound to happen doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared.
So as you plan out your virtual conference, start creating backup plans to counteract any bad juju in the air, like hiring a comedian to ease the tension and give you some buffer time. And if that bad juju happens to touch down at your event, you’ll already know how to solve the problem before it even occurs.
How can I troubleshoot before the virtual event itself?
When it comes to virtual events, you’re going to want to go with the mindset, “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Sure, this might seem somewhat cynical but when you’re able to counteract an error in the speed of light, you’ll be grateful you adopted such a critical attitude.
Use pre-recorded content to buffer any hiccups
Interspersing pre-recorded videos throughout the event can help to fill time and redirect attention in the event of an error. Think of it as having filler material for the times when things go awry.
Besides, having too much content is better than having too little. So err on the side of caution and gather as much pre-recorded content as you can.
While you may want a large audience turnout, you don’t want just anyone to be able to get into the virtual conference room. Pre-screening your attendees can ensure that only those registered for the event are allowed to enter.
So no unexpected heckling occurs from an attendee who just wants to mess things up. This added precaution will ensure smooth sailing amongst your attendees and that way, all attendees can continue to have a splendid time.
If you’re hosting a virtual conference, you don’t want to play a pre-recorded video all the way through. Instead, use pre-recorded video only as needed.
While it may be a virtual event, folks are still expecting a live show. Because that’s what makes the event so exciting itself – the spontaneity of it.
If we assumed correctly and this isn’t your first ever virtual conference, then we hope these tips have brought you back to the basics for an enhanced understanding of what you already know. And if this is your first virtual endeavor, good luck!
We know it can feel overwhelming at first. But just knowing that your event will bring people together no matter what should be enough motivation to keep you going.
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.