Just in the past few months alone, I have led, participated and attended a large number of online events. A few of them were good. But most were terrible. As more events are moving online, there are a number of pro tips to make the most out of your investment and keep your audience engaged.
Here is a quick list of items to consider:
Before doing anything else, consider why you want to hold the event. If it is to sell, pitch or otherwise promote a product, solution or company, you may want to reconsider. Today’s audience is fickle and looking for relevance…quickly.
What is the best format for the outcome you desire? Should it be a meeting, webinar or online event? And how long should your event be? Should it be a single presenter? Panel discussion(s)? What about keynote presenters? Consider what you hope to gain from holding the event and go from there. Don’t forget to keep the audience in mind. Unlike physical events, the audience is unlikely to sit in front of a screen watching presentations for an entire day non-stop. Consider taking breaks between presentations too.
Select a tool that works well for your desired outcome. Keep it simple. Less is more. The more complicated, the higher the potential for problems and distractions. Consider solid, proven performers like Zoom, BrightTALK or GoToWebinar.
Ensure that all presenters are in a good location that is quiet, has a reasonable background, solid Internet connectivity and a good microphone. Bad audio will kill a presentation. A poor or busy background will distract the audience. And flaky Internet just adds insult to injury.
Live vs Recorded
Because of the potential for problems, there is a penchant to record sessions and simply play them back. Watching recorded video is generally not very interesting nor engaging. Live sessions are far more engaging than watching a video. There may be some segments that you consider recording. Best to keep that to a minimum. Ensure that your moderator is not recorded and is engaged in the session.
Speaking of moderators, consider an engaging moderator that is well spoken, articulate, understands the audience, content and is dynamic. A good moderator can keep audiences engaged between sessions and provide solid connective tissue for your event and discussion. Consider someone who has good energy and can connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
Questions and Answers
Part of keeping your audience engaged is by taking questions and answers during the sessions. Be sure to answer questions during the sessions to let the audience know you are listening, and they have been heard. Sometimes it may make sense to hold the Q&A session at the end of the presentation. That’s okay too. But ensure that you are reminding the audience to submit their questions.
Those are just a few quick things to consider before scheduling your next online event. Do you have other suggestions? Feel free to comment below!