It feels fancy thinking about how easy event planning is. To plan parties, corporate meets, expos, and whatnot. In reality, no job is perfect and has its own set of challenges.
Event planners and organizers out there who have been working in the events industry are very well aware of this reality. No wonder, I see so many event planning checklists bring promoted every now and then!!
Recently we had an amazing talk on EventTalks Podcast with one of the best influencers I’ve come across in the events industry — Ashanti Bentil Dhue.
The conversation was about how the state of events has shifted to virtual but still, all the stakeholders involved have to face numerous challenges before the event goes live and becomes a huge success!
Risk mitigation is a part of this process, but when we are still figuring out how to shift to a completely digital platform, how can we access the challenges, and design the risk mitigation strategy. But after this chat with Ashanti, we’ve got a multitude of things covered.
Let’s begin with the introduction of Ashanti — Ashanti is an Events Entrepreneur and Equity & Inclusion Expert — helping the Global Events Industry Become Diverse & Inclusive. She has been associated with EventMind, a virtual event production company based out of the UK. She’s also a co-founder of the global network, Black In Events and Diversity Ally.
Fun fact she is also the host of The EventMind podcast where she shares content which can help organizations choose the right virtual event platform and design profitable virtual and hybrid event
So let’s hop on to what we covered in our latest episode of EventTalks Podcast.
1. Choosing the right virtual event platform is a challenge that most of the organizers face, what are the things that organizers should keep in mind while choosing the virtual event platform for their event?
The first thing is knowing what your objectives are. Here comes the concept of the destination platform, so for the organizers, your virtual event platform is essentially the destination platform that acts as a base, a house.
So it’s crucial to know the goals and what you want your attendee experience to be like. This helps you select from the plethora of feature sets provided by different virtual event platform vendors out there.
You must also look at the customer service as this is the time where people are learning still and adapting to the digital change. So the question to be answered for the organizers is are they getting support from the platform? How will you determine the success of your virtual event?
These are the key things that must be kept in mind.
2. What are the challenges that organizers face while planning the budget for the virtual events and what should be the measures to overcome them?
The reality is virtual events can be cheaper than in-person events but they can also be as pricey depending upon the elements & feature set and how lavish you want your event to be.
The cost is not only just associated with the platform itself it can be an overall experience like the entire tech stack like using gadgets, Virtual reality, or any other integrations which can make it more expensive.
The key thing is to be clear what you want to get out of your event and prioritize what actually makes a difference in virtual events be it attendee experience or to the data and outcomes that you are trying to achieve.
3. Now that organizers have moved past the planning stage, a lot of things come into picture… like choosing the right speaker and training them. Along with this — assisting & connecting with attendees is also extremely important. So are there any speaker etiquettes & attendee etiquettes that can enhance the virtual event experience? and how can organizers manage that?
Here’s a brand new world now! Where speakers first used to visit events and speak at an in-person event, now the same has shifted to virtual. Speaking at a virtual event or in a digital environment is different as it has varied dynamics.
So the first thing is to keep aside some time and train speakers. Training doesn’t mean to tell them how to speak, that is their forte but how to use technology while speaking at a virtual event is something new for them.
Rehearsal time is not only about how speakers deliver their content but how well they understand the tech and how well they interact with the tech
How to engage a panel in real-time, putting out live polls, simultaneously replying to chats, and so on. The setting of where you are sitting and presenting, the lights, the sounds, your wifi, is the live stream working; all these dynamics hold importance in virtual space.
So devoting enough time to train your speakers and making them comfortable with the digital details is an essential part of this process.
4. And How can organizers facilitate speakers for virtual events as speakers do face a lot of challenges during virtual events.
So giving an example of an event in which I was a speaker, I received a pdf/video prior to the event that outlines very succinctly what is needed from me.
What information, what time they need me to turn up for rehearsals, etc. So for me as a speaker, it is a very clear message as it is not just one event I speak at but several and so if I know what I am expected to speak on, I will be prepared in advance.
- Help the speaker out with the event platform and details
- Send out all the links like session link, panel link
- Send a detailed pdf with bullet points to the speakers
- Ensuring all the parties are on the same page (be it speaker, sponsor, exhibitor)
- Providing a POC
- Providing an agenda or a detailed layout of the event
There’s a lot of work to be done on the speaker’s side so the audience is getting the best of the content, they are feeling comfortable and so they are asking questions. Ensuring this by design, by interacting with the audiences is very crucial.
5. What are the challenges organizers face in approaching sponsors and exhibitors? And what tips would you like to share for them?
Key is to think about value proposition when it comes to creating partnership or sponsorship. Think not only about the value of the platform because now is the time to think of that sweet 365 immersive experience
You are tapping into the beauty of evergreen content which gives your partners & sponsors more visibility over a longer period of time
You got to be very intentional and design the virtual event in such a way that you attain your goals and not throw the darts in the dark
Seize the opportunity, and keep building and nurturing your relationships with the key stakeholders
6.How can organizers or event planners take assistance from Client Service Management & technical staff to avoid any glitches during the event.
First of all, I definitely recommend building a good connection with the technicians. The customer success or sales rep must be available, accessible, helpful, even during the tiring moments like giving multiple demos.
Building trust, an open 2 way dialog so when problem arises you can work harmoniously with technicians, technologists and event organizers
Event organizers rely on the technical team highly and hence the trust factor holds more importance.
Stay tuned with us for more such informational and educative episodes with industry experts.
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