The Art of Muting and More for Impactful Virtual Events
After a year-plus of social distancing, we’ve all become more familiar than we ever anticipated with virtual events, meetings, and webinars. Hopefully, by now you’ve mastered the art of muting when you’re not speaking, and figured out the optimal angle at which to adjust your web camera. However, mastering the etiquette of attending remote events is only one component of being a marketer. If you are considering hosting a virtual event as a way to market your nonprofit and connect with potential donors, volunteers, and/or customers, you need to learn how to do so successfully. Keep the following five tips in mind and you’ll see your way to an engaging and effective virtual event.
Get to know your platform of choice. Nothing is worse for virtual attendees than that awkward moment when the host does not know how to silence a noisy guest or share their screen. Whether you are using Google Hangouts, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any other such video platform, make sure that you and any presenters are comfortable with the functionality prior to the day of the event. Take some time to read up on tips and tricks, and even consider scheduling a test run to ensure that any technical difficulties are smoothed over in advance. In any event setting, preparation is key, and this couldn’t be truer in the virtual world.
Distribute a compelling event invitation. With virtual events accessible to so many people and organizations, we are currently experiencing an over-saturation on online things to do. In order to break through and convince attendees to carve time out of their day for your organization, promote the event just as you would any live event. Consider out-of-the-box promotional techniques, like an engaging video invitation distributed to your email list or blasted on social media. Whatever you do, ensure you are getting your point across in a concise, yet unique way, and sharing with potential attendees what value they could derive from spending their online time with you.
Create a run of show. Just because the online environment feels more casual than a formal in-person event doesn’t mean you can just ‘wing it’ and expect your event to be a success. Great online events require careful planning, especially with the lack of context clues like body language to help you and your co-hosts navigate your way through. Plan a detailed run of show with suggested timing and topics of conversation. Going into the event with a solid plan in place will allow the hosts to speak more confidently, and attendees to feel more engaged and at ease.
Include time for Q&A. We are all spending a lot of time online nowadays, and it is natural for attention spans to wane. While a great event does include structure, it is always a good idea to include time for audience participation in the form of a question-and-answer session. Allowing for participants to ask their burning questions will bring some energy and life to the event, while making it more useful for attendees. If an open Q&A does not fit the vibe of the event or host, consider other ways to get the audience involved, such as the host asking for audience participation or by sending attendees into breakout rooms for small group discussion.
Plan for things to go wrong. Most people have a love-hate relationship with technology. It’s great when it works, and not so great when it doesn’t. In order to set yourself up for success, you need to allow time and space for things to go wrong. Internet connections may cut out, microphones may be fuzzy, family members may pop into your background uninvited, and you can still have a great event. The most important thing to remember is that everyone has experienced similar issues in the last year. Expect the unexpected to happen, and you’ll be able to deal with unwelcome disruptions in a calm manner, and quickly get back on track.
How CLASS Can Help Whether you need help familiarizing yourself with an online event hosting platform or would like some assistance outlining a virtual event run-of-show, CLASS has several practices at the ready to help make your web events a success. Having worked virtually for over a year now, the CLASS team is well versed in the ins and outs of successful online engagements. Reach out for a kick-off meeting today.
About The CLASS Consulting Group
The CLASS Consulting Group is a trusted advisor to the board of directors and senior leadership of the bay area nonprofit organizations. It is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides consulting services to senior management and board of directors of nonprofit organizations and offers community leadership opportunities to professionals.