Keys and tips for producing successful virtual events are similar to those needed to produce successful live events. However, even the simplest virtual events require different skills than those used to produce traditional events. That being said, producing any kind of event is not for the faint of heart. At least one team member should have a fairly robust knowledge of technology, sound, lighting, and event production. Each team member should, at the very least, have a rudimentary working knowledge of the key elements needed for the virtual event. Make sure you have access to electricity and a stable internet connection.
- Simplify every element of your event.
- Streamline your processes in as many ways as possible.
The key for us was to focus on a detailed understanding of what we needed to be able to do, when we needed to do it, and how to execute it. Live event and virtual event production share fundamental requirements for success: We produced several small events during a power outage. Because we had done several large and medium-sized events beforehand, we knew the drill. After experiencing an internet outage that lasted more than five hours, we knew to create backup plans and to test them extensively. Luckily, the outage started hours before the event and we were able to reroute everything before going live. But when the power came back on and we switched back to our regular ISP, the password that had been previously issued to participants did not function and we had to quickly get new ones to them. Since we hadn’t practiced a power outage and the effects it would have on our system, we had to improvise. There are fun improvisations and there are those improvisations that are somewhat less fun. This was one of them. Despite the difficulties we encountered, we made the most out of these situations. Key participants and team members were able to access information quickly and immediately share it with participants. Be sure to deliver the stated mission of your event. What is the event’s goal? Is everyone clear about it? Even if your delivery is flawless, the most important goal should be to support the event’s overall mission. Keep that goal top of mind and work to deliver it. What is the use of a ‘perfect’ event if it falls short of meeting its mission? An example of this: a children’s charity fundraiser. Help your client by letting them know what will communicate their mission most effectively. Not everyone knows which elements work best for virtual events. Our job as event producers is to share information with our clients about which elements and tools will best serve them in achieving their particular goals. A labor saving piece of advice from one of our not-for-profit clients: use an automated bidding platform. They contend that they are worth the investment. They were able to share their auction items in advance, track bidding, accept payment, and capture transactions, inventory, and delivery without investing more staff or volunteer time. As a parting piece of advice: when deciding on project assignments, treat your volunteers’ time as sacred. Let them take on tasks they find fulfilling that support your organization’s mission. Most importantly: enjoy your event!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with producing virtual events? What solutions did you find? Tell us!