Tips for a Successful Virtual Event

Posted November 20, 2020 by Alyssa Stahr

With little to no in-person events and interactions happening in 2020 — and likely heading into 2021 — we have more digital nomadic numbers than ever before. People are working from home, social distancing and missing the human connection and interaction that office life brings on a daily basis. Webinars are hardly a new concept, but in the past several months my inbox has been inundated with invitations to trend webinars, informational webinars, promotional webinars, sales webinars — you name it, there’s been a webinar for it.

So, how do I decide what webinar not only to register for, but then to actually clear my schedule and take the time to attend?

  1. Serve up what’s advertised. First, sometimes my attendance decision is simply determined by the subject matter. I look for food and beverage trends and any other subject that looks like it will be pertinent to what my content needs are at Brightly Creative. However, that doesn’t mean that once I click on the link that the webinar is as advertised. Hosts have done a great job of providing agendas, but sometimes the subject matter isn’t exactly as informative as I would have liked or didn’t quite fit the description offered. The result? Clicking out of the webinar.
  2. Make it interactive. Unbeknownst to me, I lost interest in a recent webinar where all I could see was one host, no attendees, no question and answer, just the person talking for 45 minutes straight. As soon as the second person came on and I realized this was going to be a theme, I kept getting distracted by squirrels and completely lost interest. I honestly couldn’t even tell you one thing the presenter discussed. If you have a short attention span like yours truly, you’ll provide some sort of interactive element to keep people engaged.

Point two brings me to what we have been doing here at Brightly Creative. We have been heavily involved in hosting webinars, from the Virtual Honey Editors Summit to the Honey Industry Summit. Notice how neither of those had the word webinar included? Down to the name itself, these were highly interactive, informative events that with hopefully no bias included in the statement were the most interactive virtual events I’ve attended as of late. How did the team pull it off?

  1. Go above and beyond with interactivity. Part of our in-person events includes honey tastings. We sent honey boxes to registered attendees ahead of time, allowing for the most interaction possible. We tasted together, laughed together, spoke about every flavor profile from barnyard to cotton candy, and connected virtually on another level. After all, we are in the food and beverage business. There are so many opportunities to have attendees taste test the subject matter!
  2. Plan ahead. Obviously sending honey boxes to attendees means limiting the amount of attendees and forward thinking. Our team did an amazing job of gathering addresses, speaking personally to attendees and following up with shipping issues. Is it more work? Of course! But, the payoff is so worth it. And, it’s always fun to get a box of fun sent to your home. 

Part B of this tip includes the technology side. Issues happen, and practicing ahead of time, especially if there are multiple presenters, can make all the difference and help avoid embarrassing outages. 

So far during this blog, I have spoken about the attendee side of things. For the hosting side, I turned to Alison Conklin, account director, for her tips for a successful hosting experience.

  1. Have a moderator. While you may have just one speaker, having someone else to keep time, ask questions and even answer simpler questions from the chat as the speaker talks makes a huge difference.
  2. Be respectful of people’s time. I would love to know if there is a sweet spot for how long a webinar should be. We have found 90 mins is the sweet spot for us. While webinars are a lot more accessible and everyone is at home on their screens, there are so many more meetings being made and schedules filling up.
  3. Be mindful of time zones. I recently was on a webinar from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. CST. While that might have been nice for PST people, it was horrible for all people in the Midwest.
  4. Also build in breaks. People don’t like to log off or miss anything. And everyone needs a minute to get up and walk around. You’d be surprised what a difference 5 to 10 minutes makes.

Need more tips on how to host a successful event or want to get more information on our webinars? Contact Brightly Creative!

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