The internal comms manager’s guide to planning a successful internal virtual event
Over the last 12 months the quality of virtual events has rapidly evolved. Innovation and advances in technology have seen production values rise to match the standards of live television, making holding an internal virtual event a serious option. No longer just because of Covid-19, no longer a case of making do in the absence of live events, virtual events are becoming a feature of companies’ internal communications strategies and a positive way forward post-Covid.
Virtual events bring with them a certain agility when responding to a need for a team-building session, a request to set up a monthly ‘town hall’ meeting or a company-wide conference to communicate a new corporate vision and direction. And the great news is that virtual events can work for any and all businesses, no matter how large or small.
Connect more easily with all your offices
Remember the logistics of organising events that would be attended by teams from regional or international offices? Virtual events have removed a huge headache, as well as freeing up a big chunk of budget that would have to cover travel and accommodation. Now, everyone can connect in real time within seconds, interact and respond to presentations – no matter where in the world they are.
Plan well ahead
You may not have to worry about researching and visiting venues to find the best one for your event, but planning time is still important if you’re serious about creating a really positive experience for participants.
Choose your platform wisely
Fantastic as it is, Zoom is not the only option! Before deciding on the platform you’ll use, think first about your internal virtual event. Some questions to ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of the event and how many people will be attending?
- What requirements do you have? Will the event be live streamed? Do presentations need to be shared? Does recorded content need to be integrated? Will you be running surveys?
- Will there be realtime collaboration such as screen sharing?
- Do you need to broadcast information that is a mix of recorded video and live presentation? And how will you ensure a dynamic experience that involves attendees?
- Will you need virtual breakout rooms where teams or groups can work together on a task?
- Based on the above, what network bandwidth capacity will you need?
- Will you need the event recorded so that it can be viewed in the future?
Armed with this information, you can then make a considered decision about whether you can use a simple video conferencing platform or whether you need a bespoke and more sophisticated secure staging platform.
Create engaging content
Virtual events need to work a little harder than a normal event to keep people engaged, simply because not everyone is in the same place – and some may have distractions going on in the background. But there are so many tricks to keep levels of engagement high and an internal virtual event can be even richer and more rewarding. The amount of tech available makes it easy to encourage audience participation, be it via polls for instant feedback, running Q&A sessions where people can take an active part or inviting conversations on the platform’s chat function.
Ensure your agenda is fit for a virtual event
This is not a live event, sessions should be shorter, using a mix of video, presentation, graphics – all expertly vision-mixed – to ensure the viewer is not quickly bored by watching the same screen for 10 minutes!
Great content is key to a successful event, and this is the same as a virtual event. So consider your audience. Would multiple tracks of content be better than everyone consuming the same content? Plan sessions for the entire audience and consider also curating content specifically designed for departments or teams. Ensure any breaks match across all tracks. Keep the agenda fast and flowing.
Include breakout sessions
Choose activities that inspire, reward, entertain and keep participants fresh. Alternatively, you could end the event with a bang by booking some fantastic headline talent.
Don’t forget the virtual swag
Rather than sending pointless single-use conference swag across the world, keep your carbon footprint lower by offering digital goodies – free downloads, PDF guides, wallpapers, virtual backgrounds, consider what will be most useful for your teams and create content they will value.
Set up a registration process
Carefully consider what info you need to capture when signing people up. If you plan to send items in the post, get their consent on registration. Ensure your platform allows the delegates to curate their own agenda, especially if you have multiple tracks of content. Registration software is also a brilliant tool for measuring success – it can track user engagement, what content they’ve watched and which areas of the event they’ve visited.
Work with an events management company
The amount of technology involved to make a virtual event run smoothly and professionally will be at your fingertips if you involve an events management company. Not only will they understand the importance of internal communications events, they will be able to add value in terms of technical wizardry and great ideas to make your event compelling and unmissable. Working from a professional virtual studio they will be able to build in high production values and manage the entire event, meaning less stress for you and more brownie points from your senior management!
If your virtual event needs to be accessible across different countries and time zones, an experience events management company will be even more essential to deal with the logistics.
Maximise impact and get a great return on investment
Cutting the expense of travel is an obvious bonus when it comes to a virtual event. But it also means that you might potentially be able to reach more people or include teams in other offices that wouldn’t normally attend a normal event. That’s the beauty of a virtual event and a gift when it comes to internal comms projects! We’ve seen some amazing achievements through virtual events over the last year, bringing people together regardless of geography or facilitating collaboration and exchange of ideas –virtual events really do open up new opportunities!
Planning an internal virtual event?
If you’d like to find out more about how your next internal comms event could be held virtually, why not get in touch for an informal chat. Contact our team on 01932 22 33 33 or email firstname.lastname@example.org