Thinking you’ve forgotten something is one of the worst feelings, especially in a professional setting. There are so many resources out there to ensure you never have to feel this way, and you want to make sure the advice you’re being given is helpful and correct.
Migrating event solutions to a digital platform offer unique opportunities and challenges, so here are 10 quick tips for your online event that will help you make your experience a good one.
1. Check Your Connections – All of Them
Technology is multi-faceted and optimized for the user experience, but accidents and issues can still happen. Make sure all of your tools are connected and set up correctly. This means all elements: video (webcams, screen sharing, projectors), audio (test microphones through your event platform to check for feedback or other issues), and internet (wifi, hard connections, VPN, etc.).
2. Remember You Are (or Will Be) LIVE
Remote work offers a lot of freedom in terms of desk and office setup, wardrobe, and general atmosphere. Set reminders for yourself and your event participants to take a hard look at their surroundings and optimize them before the event to minimize unwanted distractions.
Check your outfit and your surroundings. Large jewelry could jingle, strange things in your video background could distract listeners while you’re talking, and having inappropriate or strange items on your shared screen will, at best, cause some embarrassment and at worst violate company policies or codes of conduct.
3. Send Out an Agenda
Give participants an agenda so they can follow along and have an idea of what to expect before the meeting starts. This can help them prepare and will also discourage wandering eyes or cellphone gameplay during the event.
4. Embrace the Tradition of Pre-Show Announcements
Do you know the pre-show announcements at the movie theater telling people to please silence your cell phones? Along with sending an agenda, be sure to give a brief statement at the beginning that outlines the expectations of the meeting or event. This is an important online event tip because each attendee is in a wholly different environment from you. Outlining these expectations first can help you enforce them when you notice someone has stopped listening and started texting or petting their cat.
5. Take Advantage of the “Mute” Button
In line with tip #2, there will be things that you don’t anticipate happening, so take advantage of the “mute” button. This is a great reminder to add to your pre-show announcements. Remind yourself and your participants to mute those mics when someone else is talking or presenting.
6. Increase Engagement by Assigning Roles
In presentations or meetings, you can assign roles to ensure more people are actively engaged. In your agenda or at the beginning of the event, assign roles like note taker, timekeeper (to keep any one participant from monopolizing the “stage”), and chat mediator (this person can monitor a live chat feed by weeding out redundant or off-topic comments and voice questions and comments participants don’t feel confident voicing themselves). Take some time to come up with a list that makes sense for your event.
7. Don’t Forget About Eye Contact
It is very easy when you are speaking and on video to look at your notes or fail to initiate virtual eye contact. Though it will feel odd at first, remember to move your eyes up from your screen and look directly into your camera lens so listeners are compelled to pay attention.
8. Keep the Speeches Compelling
As you are thinking about the goals and information that will populate your event, remember that no one likes to watch someone read PowerPoint slides word-for-word. Make notecards or jot down some talking points, and practice speaking to your virtual audience. Framing information in a story format is usually more compelling than listing statistics or jargon-laden objectives, so take some time to add a few anecdotes to your presentation.
9. Don’t Play the Waiting Game
If your meeting or event is set to start at 9:00 a.m., keep to that schedule. Waiting for “just a few minutes while everyone gets on” only serves to disengage all the participants you are currently talking to. Start right away with your content and maintain a steady pace to keep energy and engagement high from start to finish.
10. Mix in Fun Polls and Practices
Break up the monotony a bit by sending out polls or creating interesting practices to keep people on their toes (think about all those “jumbotron” games that can be played using your video conference software). They can be icebreaker-style games or questions that let participants learn a little bit more about each other.
Still on the fence about your upcoming online event? Let Meet Me In The Cloud help with their collection of event assist services.