Winning with Webcam
The recent shift to hosting events online is one trend which ARMA has had to readily adapt to. Our recent record of virtual events includes this year's AGM, our recent Regional Briefing and our 2020 Annual Conference which saw over 340 delegates login.
Each event requires a tailored approach to ensure delegates can benefit from the experience as much as possible without being physically present. Based on learnings, we have compiled 10 top tips for those in the industry hoping to move their next event online. In no particular order they are:
- Stick to a Schedule - Timeliness is key - ensure speakers are prepped and ready for their allotted time to avoid confusion for those logging in late or early.
- Audience Participation - Think about how audience questions can be taken. A chat box will make collating audience questions easy.
- Suppliers - Sponsors can still be a key part of your event. Consider sponsored prize draws for delegates and rolling adverts before the event starts, and during breaks. Adverts can also appear in other communication channels with delegates.
- Dress Rehearsal - Test the equipment beforehand as much as you can to avoid any technical hiccups. Try and setup a rehearsal with each speaker.
- Recordings - Consider recording the sessions so they are available to those who couldn’t attend.
- Pre-Event Questions - Get to know your audience. Use the registration or booking form as an opportunity to ask questions whilst also encouraging attendees to submit their own questions before the event.
- Think Outside the Slide - If you’re presenting, don't just think about slides - no-one likes death by PowerPoint! Use videos, drawing tools and polls to ensure variety and keep your audience engaged throughout.
- Tea Breaks - Staring intently at a screen is exhausting - allow regular breaks and don't make the sessions too long. Keep online webinars or meetings as short as possible and if you're planning a webinar longer than an hour, schedule a 10-15-minute comfort break.
- Reminders and Troubleshooting - Send frequent reminders containing the conference link and clear joining instructions. Circulate a troubleshooting guide to help those who might have technical difficulties with the chosen webinar platform.
- Dress Code - Ensure speakers are aware of any 'dress code'. At a time when so many are working from home, you need to be clear on this; if it's a formal conference or event, you may want to advise 'business attire' for those speaking or presenting.
Whilst the pandemic has thrown up several challenges, the world of online events doesn’t have to be one of them. With proper planning, an online event can prove to be a profitable venture which provides a rewarding and beneficial experience for delegates.