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8 top tips for planning a virtual awards ceremony

The Covid-19 pandemic may have forced us to turn to virtual meetings and events, but it was also an opportunity to discover a new way of doing things and embracing the virtual world! Many companies are adopting to new ways of working and a virtual awards ceremony is the perfect way to celebrate success and recognise and reward your people. As an experienced virtual event management company here are our top tips to ensure your virtual awards ceremony is an amazing experience for everyone involved.

1 Make sure your virtual awards ceremony has high production values

A Zoom call might be fine for an informal team meeting, but will it come up to scratch for a company-wide event that should be highly polished? 

To ensure your event has high production values, you’ll need some of the following technology and equipment to ensure your content can be professionally delivered. You need the ability to live stream content, vision mix, create seamless transitions from one presenter to another or switch to video content. You’ll also want to consider pre-recorded content to insert within the live content – not only does it help remove some pressure from your speakers, it also adds more richness to the content overall. Not only does this level of expert technical support result in a professional event, it will also remove any stress from you.

Working with an experienced event management company for your virtual event will immediately ensure your awards ceremony is elevated to a slick and sophisticated level, consider working with one early on in your event planning.

virtual awards ceremony2 Brand it!

From digital invitations, registration websites, virtual backdrops, presentation slides, graphic animations and lower thirds to an inspiring show opener, everything about your virtual awards ceremony should be branded consistently – this is integral to making your event look as professional and engaging for the viewers as possible. It’s particularly important if you are more used to running awards ceremonies in person, because the online experience will need to equal or exceed that experience! Share your corporate brand guidelines with your event company and their design team will make it happen.

3 Choose an appropriate platform

This will depend on your budget. If budget is tight, your virtual awards ceremony can be delivered via a platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, while still utilising some of the high production value elements. If you can go bigger, then consider hosting your virtual awards ceremony on a bespoke and secure website. Anything is possible!

4 Keep it (relatively) short and sweet

Obviously, timing will be dependent on how many awards are being made but avoid running into hours and hours – after all, there’s a reason why we only see the edited highlights of the Oscars on TV! A virtual awards ceremony will be a different experience to being present at a live event, so it can be more difficult to retain audience attention. Don’t forget people watching from their homes may also have distractions in the background, such as family members moving around or children wanting attention. Take inspiration from a 24-hour news channel, note how they keep viewers engaged. Employ similar tactics for your event and your audience will thank you for it!

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5 Keep your audience fully engaged

This links closely to the previous tip! Keep the content punchy, and each section of the event short and snappy, to maintain a high level of energy, which will then help keep the audience fully engaged. If you can introduce a level of audience participation, even better. This might be as simple as encouraging everyone to take to Twitter during the event or running polls or instant chat messaging so that everyone can respond live to each award – maybe one award could be ‘as voted for by the audience’!

6 Add some talent

There’s nothing quite like adding a celeb into the mix to make an event better than anyone might imagine. From booking a big name to host your virtual awards ceremony to a surprise guest performance halfway through, we’ve worked with the likes of impressionist Rory Bremner and comedian Milton Jones to add an extra dimension and delight audiences. We’ve even arranged specially recorded personal messages by celebrities, something that could work really well in a virtual awards ceremony.

virtual awards ceremony7 Consider throwing an after-party

All good awards ceremonies have an even better after-party and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same! We’ve put together some great ideas for entertainment and activities that will make your virtual awards ceremony even more special.

8 Build anticipation

A great idea to raise levels of excitement and anticipation ahead of the event is to send out something to everyone who will be attending. It could be a branded item that will become a useful keepsake, it could be healthy treats to eat during the event or something more indulgent, or it might be a kit for an activity that is being run after the awards. And don’t forget to send out emails or a fun internal comms campaign in the lead up!

Planing a virtual awards ceremony?

Looking for inspiration? Why not take a look at some of the virtual events we’ve delivered over the last year – better still, give us a call and find out how we could make your virtual awards ceremony an enjoyable and memorable event! You can contact our team on 01932 22 33 33 or by email, hello@mgnevents.co.uk


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