As the COVID pandemic has changed workplaces worldwide, one of the big takeaways for businesses was just how much we can do virtually. Seemingly overnight, entire offices switched to online platforms for their daily operations.

But it’s not just the office that’s found its feet in the virtual world. More and more, we’re beginning to see a variety of live events hosted online. 

If that sounds like something that could benefit your business, then we’ve prepared some helpful tips you can use to create and host the best possible virtual events, such are:

  • Set clear goals and timeframes.
  • Choose the right platform.
  • Choose the right time. 
  • Promote your virtual event. 
  • Include moderators.
  • Prepare for troubleshooting.
  • Follow up.

What kind of virtual events can I host?

With the number of features many platforms have, you can do just about anything virtually, such as:

  • Training courses.
  • Conferences.
  • Awards ceremonies.
  • Team nights.
  • Hiring events.
  • Virtual shopping events.
  • Seminars.

Why host a virtual event?

As we mentioned up top, one of the biggest reasons people are switching to virtual events is COVID. That said, virtual events are also great because of their general flexibility. 

With a virtual event, you can host from the UK but still invite people from all over the world. In a similar vein, it’s also much more convenient for participants because they won’t have to factor in things like travel time and accommodation. 

Finally, in a practical sense, a virtual event is less of a full-on commitment than an in-person event. Anybody can just log on from their living room, make a cup of tea, then come and go as they please.

How to host a virtual event

The idea of hosting any kind of event can be nerve-racking. And if hosting virtually is a new experience for you, it can be even more daunting. Although, with the right kind of preparation, you can rest easy knowing your virtual event will be a smooth operation. 

Set clear goals and timeframes

You may have been in a situation before, like a team meeting or a Q&A, where nobody is talking, and there’s just awkward silence. Well, in virtual events, that awkwardness is even worse. 

The best way to prevent this is to set clear goals and plan out each section of the event to relate to those goals. In your plan, have a step by step guide that you can refer to. Then, if you sense a stall coming in the discussion, you can just check your plan and move on to the next section. 

As an additional backup plan, prepare some relevant talking points that you can jump to at any moment. For example, if you throw a question out to the audience and nobody answers, have an answer you’ve prepared yourself and dive straight into that. 

At the very least, it prevents those uncomfortable moments. But sometimes, people just don’t want to speak first, so kicking things off yourself will encourage others to contribute themselves.

Choose the right platform 

A simple platform like Zoom or Microsoft Teams could do just fine for smaller events. But you might need to look into a more in-depth platform if you want some advanced features.

There are loads of options for hosting platforms out there, so it depends on what you’re planning to do. Some things to consider when researching a hosting platform are:

  • Moderation tools. 
  • Co-hosting. 
  • The number of participants you can add. 
  • Software plugins. 
  • Interactive features for audience members. 

Choose the right time 

If your event is advertised internationally, you need to factor in different time zones. Try to choose a convenient time for as many people as possible.

Promote your virtual event

A virtual event doesn’t have much value unless people show up, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to advertise it.

Feature it on your business website and social media pages, and sign up for event directories like Eventbrite.

Include moderators 

Appoint online moderators to keep everything under control. For example, they can have control of the virtual room functions to display images and videos at certain times, send relevant links in the group chat, and look up information to help answer questions.

They’ll also act as crowd control should things get out of control. Hopefully, this won’t happen, but you can’t count on everybody to be polite, so it’s good to have somebody ready to mute people if the need arises.

Prepare for troubleshooting

Things don’t necessarily go to plan with organised events. And when you’re using a virtual platform, that’s just one more thing that could go wrong. 

As per usual, preparation is key. Make sure you know your hosting platform well enough to fix any audio or video issues on the fly or find somebody else who does. 

You may even want to prepare more than one platform just in case. Then, if things go completely off the rails, you can relocate to the new platform and ask everybody to sign in again. People might be a little annoyed, but it’s much better than cancelling the whole thing. 

Follow up

After you’ve finished your online virtual event, you’ll want to measure the success of the project. Send out some surveys and ask for feedback from the participants, ask them what they thought worked and what didn’t, and let them know where they can access the recordings.

Manage your finances with a simple app

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.