Virtual meetings and other online events will be commonplace by the end of 2020 if they aren’t already, and having a successful online event is important for you and your business. With virtual learning and work-from-anywhere initiatives holding steady through the summer, you want to ensure your remote employees, colleagues, and clients are not wasting time during ill-prepared Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls.

We’ve outlined some things you should consider when planning and executing a successful online event.

Consider Your Event Length and Timing

Whether it’s a quarterly board meeting or a weekly check-in, it’s important to consider what the best time and length will be for your virtual event. Some of this will depend on the considerations below, like engagement level and hosting platform. It’s easy to think of an instance where a meeting was too long and how detrimental that was to your day or workflow, but having a meeting that isn’t long enough can be just as unhelpful.

Be sure to think through the purpose of the meeting and brainstorm what timeframe would best serve your objectives. Is this a meeting to share some quick announcements or policy changes? A shorter meeting would be fine. But if you are looking at something that is more collaborative, say a monthly status update for a large company project, allowing more time for discussion and questions may be more beneficial than a quick recap-style conversation.

It is also worthwhile to consider the timing of your meeting: early mornings are great for quick meetings, but diving into an immersive and interactive discussion might go better if it’s scheduled later in the day.

Keeping event length and timing in mind can set your audience or participants up for a good experience before the event has even started.

Consider Your Preferred Engagement Level

Another important variable in the formula for a successful online event is the expected engagement or interaction level. Streaming a speaker with content-heavy monologues will not elicit high engagement if you don’t prompt your audience beforehand or allocate time sprinkled throughout the session for questions or comments.

If you are just looking to give event participants a lot of great, curated information, then your focus on engagement (keeping your audience’s attention) is still critical but your allotment of time for interaction and active participation can be minimal. It may be wise to remember, however, that in a world full of screens, our natural reaction to watching a program that isn’t stimulating is to search for outside activity or another screen to escape to.

If you are going for an immersive or collaborative event like a brainstorming session or a panel discussion, it’s important to spend time building a schedule that offers large enough blocks of time in the presentation to facilitate good conversation. Give your participants time to familiarize themselves with the expectations so they can feel comfortable contributing to the group discussion.

Pick the Best Platform/Technology

With the advent of the novel coronavirus, hundreds of virtual event businesses changed overnight to offer all the things instructors, conference directors, and office professionals needed to keep operations up and running.

To execute a successful online event, you should research multiple hosting and scheduling platforms. It could save you a lot of time and headaches on the day of the event. Finding the best video conferencing software for your business is easier than ever before – you have hundreds of resources, blog articles, reviews, and peer experiences to pull from before you make your final decision.

Don’t forget: just because you’ve always used a specific service doesn’t mean you have to keep using it. Don’t be afraid to upgrade as your needs and the needs of your business change.

Bonus: Consider Hiring a Professional Service

Dreading the thought of making all these decisions and preparations for your next event? Consider hiring a professional service to ensure you have a successful online event. These services can range from tech support to specific event scripts and schedules, and they can do the heavy lifting for you while you just focus on being a valuable asset during the event itself.

Every online event is different. Check out Meet Me In The Cloud’s event assist services.

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