KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL EVENT
Are you getting ready to host your first virtual Zoom event and stressing over how make it successful and run smoothly? We have some crucial tips and tricks we learned from Virtual Public House we'd like to share to help ensure your event's success (and your sanity)!
Communication is key
Set expectations with your event speakers prior to the event. Let them know this is more like a TV interview - keep answers concise and to the point.
Send out a ‘best practices’ info sheet to all your speakers ahead of time. The one we sent to PPPH panelists is attached.
Send an email out to all registered attendees the day-of the event, walking them through ground rules and explaining event flow. (The one we used for Packard Place Public House is attached)
Prior to the event
Gather all your panelists at least 15 minutes prior to do a dry run and work through any technical issues.
If anyone is going to share slides, they should do it from their laptop to control the advance. They should practice screen share ahead of time. You can share straight to a presentation so you don’t have to see their desktop. They also need to turn off all notifications or dings.
It helps to setup the event with 2 hosts - one managing the 'backend' like sending out poll questions, moving people in from the Waiting Room and sending people to the breakout sessions. Another to play the “emcee” and facilitate the meeting flow.
You have to have a paid account to host or co-host.
Zoom Host Tips
Make sure to enable the Waiting Room function so eager attendees do not login as you're rehearsing with your panelists.
It helps to send a quick note to those hanging out in the Waiting Room that lets them know when the 'event doors' will open and that they are in the right place.
Make sure you set your host account to have participants enter on mute and have their cameras disabled. People logging in during the event can be very distracting if they have video on and take away from the focus of the event.
As host, you can force attendees onto mute and no-video. Keeping video off for all non-panelists is a best practice throughout the event until Q&A and you can allow just that one person to video for Q&A and then turn them off again.
Smile and have fun! It’s just like TV. You have to get use to ‘giving’ energy to the camera when nothing is there. It takes practice. It is a lot like being in a TV studio. If you have never presented without any audience feedback, it can really throw you off.
Have Slack or something else set up so your team can tell you if something is wrong because it is hard to tell when you are Emcee and there is NO feedback coming in.
Walk attendees through the ‘process’ at the start. It’s still new for everyone. Use a presentation to communicate ground rules and other information you want to convey. Having a presentation also helps you remember what you have to cover. Explain how to ask a question, use chat, raise your hand, mute and unmute, etc.
Give attendees a ‘run of show’ so that they know what is coming and when. Otherwise it can feel like it will go on forever. Let them know what to expect.
Facilitate the conversation like a TV show, not an in person panel. Engage all panelists by calling out their name and giving them a heads up you about to put them on the spot. Watch how great TV hosts do it.
You can ‘crowd source’ info in real time. If someone asks a question you or your guests don’t know, ask if anyone in attendance does. Ask them to raise their hand. Remind them to keep it short and concise on answers.
Polls can only be done one at a time even though you can have multiple questions in one poll. Have your poll questions planned ahead of time based on the flow of your meeting and have them typed out in Word so that you can just cut and paste on the fly. This should be done by the “backend” person not the “emcee”
If you're doing a live poll during your Zoom event, always make sure to add 'n/a' as an option to certain questions, as answers to all questions are required and forcing someone to answer a question that is not applicable will skew results.
If you want to transition into virtual events but do not have the means to do so, please CLICK HERE!