Producing a Virtual Event for Clients

By: Ruth Sturkey
Client Director – London
Paradigm Norton

I’ve just been involved in putting on a virtual event for clients. It was fun and very rewarding. But it had the occasional stressful moments. I thought I would share our experience here so you can learn from our mistakes rather than having to make your own.

Be clear about your objectives

Why do you want an event and what do you want it to achieve? Entering the event knowing what you want your outcome to be will help provide great clarity as you plan how the event is going to take shape.

It’s good to question everything before you invest lots of time in organisation. Is the event in line with your business objectives and brand? And are you the right person to be doing the presenting?

Be clear about your target audience and content

Is it just for clients? Prospects? Professional contacts? The general public? Who else could be involved. This will guide the content you produce and present. What do you want your audience to think, feel and do having listened to your event?

Involve compliance from the start

In the excitement of putting on an event it is easy to forget about compliance. Big mistake. Instead, bake compliance into the event from outset. Get your compliance team onside and let them guide you on the regulations you will need to consider. This can range from GDPR, to licensing to risk warnings.

Getting people to accept your invitation

In the virtual world you cannot rely on a snazzy venue or delicious dinner so your invitation needs to be creative and compelling. What will your audience learn or get from investing their time in attending your event?  Include an outline of the event, the bios of the speaker(s), clear dates and timings and importantly an easy registration process; make it easy for people to say yes. People may not respond to your first email so have a plan in place to send a reminder or two. And make sure your audience gets an acknowledgement of their registration, with clear joining instructions. It is always good to send a reminder 24 hours in advance of the event and ideally another 1 hour before you go live.

Nominate a technical expert

Regardless of your technical ability, I strongly recommend that you designate someone to be your driver of IT and your production manager. Think TV. You need to have someone who understands tech and who can make sure that everything is running smoothly on the night. 

Practice really does make perfect

  • Write your script (you will be glad you did if something happens).
  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • If you are presenting as a panel or team practice your handovers.
  • If you are using slides or videos know who is in charge and practice sharing your screen. 
  • Be sure your first speaker knows how to start the presentation!

Things do go wrong

In particular the internet. Try to limit the possibility of a dodgy wifi connection by plugging all computers into a router with an ethernet cable. If the worst happens, have an email ready to send to your attendees to explain what is happening or a pre recorded version of your event. A WhatsApp group can be really useful to keep your presenting and producing team connected and informed on the day.

Post event follow up

Let’s be honest, most of us are putting on an event to get an outcome. Be sure to have an agreed follow up method post event:

  • A survey. What did your audience value most?
  • An email. Are there any unanswered questions?
  • A phone call. Can you provide additional information or arrange a meeting?

Be sure to reflect on your event

What went well? 
What might have gone better?
What will you do differently another time? 
Should you start planning the next event now?

Prepare well and enjoy the performance! 

A version of this article was originally published in Voyant’s Magazine.


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