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How To Run A Virtual Event (+ EXAMPLES)

In a crowded sea of remote events, it’s more important than ever to make yours stand out.

But not only do you want it to be memorable, you want attendees to remember your event for all the right reasons.

We’ve got all the tips and tricks (and tech!) you need to help your next remote event run smoothly and capture attendees’ attention throughout.

But first, let’s talk about some of the benefits of running virtual events in the first place.

Remote event benefits

In many cases, remote events aren’t only beneficial, but they’re entirely necessary. As much of the world adapts to doing more business online, they’re also more popular than ever.

Let’s break down some of the biggest benefits of hosting virtual events rather than their in-person counterparts.

Efficiency

With the right tools on your side, you can make your virtual event a lot more efficient than an in-person event.

Think of the time it takes to set up a traditional conference. Place settings, snacks and refreshments, audio, video, location…the list goes on.

While there’s still some technical set up required for a virtual event, it’s dramatically less than what’s required for an in-person event.

Rather than finding the time to set up for an event or conference, you can use that time to focus on your presentation.

Cost

A lot of the elements of a virtual event that save time compared to an in-person event also have cost-saving benefits.

From the money you save renting a venue to catering the event and flying speakers out to present, it’s a lot more cost-effective to run remote events.

Safety

It’s pretty tough to run an in-person event with a venue big enough to accommodate for appropriate social distancing.

But with virtual events, your attendees are kept safe and sound while they attend your event from the comfort of their own home or office.

Virtual collaboration

If you work with or present to people from all over the world, you already know how difficult it can be to bring everyone together.

It’s not always realistic for someone to fly across the world to attend your event. But remote events allow you to collaborate with people from wherever they are without the worry of travel costs, time, and other logistics.

Feedback

From the moment you start running a remote event, you’ll see how much easier it is to collect feedback electronically than it is in person.

If you’re presenting live to 100 people and 20 hands are raised, it’s going to take a lot of valuable time answering all of those questions. But with a remote event, you can organize and group audience questions to make collecting feedback a lot simpler.

Best practices for running remote events

Now that we’ve touched on some of the benefits of remote events, let’s go over our best practices for making sure they’re a success.

Timing

When you present in-person, you might notice when your audience starts to look restless, bored, or distracted. You can take these cues to adjust your presentation timing accordingly and know when to wrap things up.

For remote events, it’s just as important to keep an eye on timing. If your presentation goes too long, you risk losing your audiences’ attention and your message will get lost.

Here are some general guidelines for optimal presentation lengths for remote events:

  • Limit the entire event to no more than three hours
  • Ask speakers to keep their keynotes half an hour or less
  • Allot for regular 15-minute breaks
  • Keep question and answer periods to 20 minutes or less

Goals

You also need to get really clear on your goals for a virtual event before it begins. Once you’ve got this vision in mind, you can craft a remote event that’s built around reaching these goals.

These are just a few examples of your optimal outcome for a remote event:

  • You want your audience to come away with plenty of new knowledge (i.e., a remote training event)
  • You want to hear from attendees and collect feedback so you can use this data for moving your organization forward and making the best next steps. (By the way, we talk more about collecting valuable employee feedback in this post)
  • Attendee collaboration: You’re hoping to facilitate discussion and collaboration between audience members to build bonds, brainstorm, and motivate.

Audience engagement

A remote event needs to be engaging to be successful. Otherwise, your message gets lost in the shuffle. Not to mention, your audience is left with a bad taste in their mouth and they wouldn’t dream of attending your next event.

An engaging event is one that keeps your audiences’ attention on the content, rather than the errands they need to run, the work tasks they need to complete, or anything else than what you have to say.

To keep your remote event engaging, focus on:

Interaction: How can you interact with your audience while you present? Calling for audience responses and interactions works wonders for keeping their attention.

Collaboration: How can your audience collaborate with you (and each other) during a remote event?

Discussion: Can your audience discuss event content with one another without disrupting the presentation? Can they talk to you, the presenter, and know they’ll have a chance to speak up and have their opinion heard?

Tools and tech

Timing, goal reaching, and audience engagement during remote events simply isn’t possible without the right tools and technology behind it.

Sure, your audience needs smartphones or computers to tune in.

But as the presenter or host, you also need software that allows you to engage your audience, collect real-time feedback and data, run virtual quizzes and polls, and whatever else it takes to make your event stand out for the right reason.

At the same time, you also need these tools to be reliable and secure. When you know you’ve got powerful, secure technology backing you, you can focus on your presentation rather than stressing about all the other details.

Successful remote events

Let’s recap our best practice for running remote events: They need to be appropriately timed, aligned with your goals, engaging, and backed by the right tools.

Now we want to hear from you. Think about the remote events you’ve attended. What made the best ones stand out from the rest? Comment below and let’s chat!

1. London and St. Thomas Real Estate Association (LSTAR) — Annual General Meeting

Annual general meetings (AGM) don’t take a break, regardless of whether we’re in the office or stuck at home. We can put them off for a little while, but sooner than later, many of them are legally mandated by organizations. LSTAR’s was no different. 

The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® is one of the 15 largest Real Estate Boards in Canada with a membership of over 1,900 Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons working out of 187 offices.

With an organization of several hundred individuals, an AGM to hold, and several important motions to vote on, LSTAR used ExciteM and their virtual events platform to run through an entire virtual AGM, including video delivery, a custom designated landing page, domain and ssl.

Live, real-time analytics were used to gauge viewership and ensure quorum. Audience participation was used to propose and vote on motions, allow for viewer Q&A and chat between the presenters and viewers. 

2. The rAVe Agency — LAVNCH Week Virtual Event

LAVNCH Week is a five-day event where each day represents a vertical market or customer category based on either technology or application hosted by The rAVe Agency. LAVNCH Week is a platform for AV and IT professionals to learn more about the newest technologies, trends and topics impacting our industry. The five-day virtual event draws crowds of AV and IT professionals by hosting quality, educational sessions, providing them with an opportunity to hear from the experts on new technologies and trends and supporting virtual networking through our online community.

LAVNCH Week is hosted on a responsive website, delivering video, chat, and audience participation in the form of Q&A and trivia throughout the week long event, all developed and delivered by ExciteM.

Registration was required to access the site, and content was streamed live each day, while presenters used the familiarity of a Zoom login as the presentation room, through our native API integration with the product (one of our many “presenter room” integrations available — including our own in-house option.

Product videos were hosted behind this same registration-wall and allowed virtual attendees to not only see the products covered during LAVNCH Week but also new products that are related to the topics discussed.

In addition to the live-streamed content, post event recordings and product videos, virtual attendees were able to eventually join in discussion breakouts and even text chat or video chat with manufacturer representatives.

3. Summit Racing Equipment — Burnout Rivals PPV

With their entire audience stuck at home, and no chance of them filling a stadium, Burnout Rivals and their partner Power Auto Media relied on ExciteM to deliver their live PPV (Pay Per View) burnout competition to thousands of their fans.

Burnout Rivals is a Freestyle drift and burnout competition between Cleetus McFarland, Vaughn Gittin Jr., Adam LZ, Chelsea Denofa, Taylor Ray plus others, recorded and streamed live at the Freedom Factory.

Gating access to those who purchased a PPV ticket, the event drew crowds of thousands and generated significant revenue for Burnout Rivals. Fans watched the competition live, on their desktops or cell phones and were able to vote on their favorite racer, using our integrated audience polling & engagement tools, delivering an exciting, immersive experience — all from the comfort of your home.

4. National Federation Of The Blind — Annual Conference

Hosting a major annual event, coordinating a national organization is no easy task, however the National Federation For The Blind and ExciteM came together to run NFB20. The National Federation of the Blind National Convention is the largest gathering of blind people in the world.

It is the premier event for training, support, and information for the blind community. It also serves as a governing body, democratically electing ourleadershipand establishing each year’s organizational priorities.

Although the convention was open to all, their constitution states that only members of the NFB have the right to participate in decision making when it comes to organizational policy. This required ExciteM to use their audience engagement tools to whitelist certain candidates that were allowed to vote on particular items throughout the NFB20 event. Although viewership was opened up to everyone, voting events on corporate governance required ExciteM to whitelist eligible voters, so that NFB could allow for real time voting on corporate governance items, motions and elections of key stakeholders throughout the NFB20 event.

ExciteM not only helped NFB organize and register all conference registrations ahead of time, but helped them facilitate the restricted governance voting portion of their event, allowing NFB to run their event and business as usual, 100% remotely.



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