What 6 things should you consider when organising your first online event? For newbies and seasoned event organisers

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What is the largest webinar audience on record? 

Let me set scene, you’ve never organised or hosted a virtual event and now here you are a Zoom veteran overnight! If you haven’t found yourself in these shoes yet, it is a possibility in our “new world” you may. 

Take it from me it’s an all in experience where to you get to explore new technology, build new relationships and hone skills new and old. This was certainly true when I organised and hosted Splento’s first roundtable discussion in April 2020 exploring how business owners are managing during COVID-19, check out the highlights here.

If you find yourself in these shoes, you are in the right place because here are my top 6 tips for organising your first virtual discussion: 

 1. Research is your foundation

Who cares that you haven’t done this before, you can learn. Read books, articles and watch videos on discussions which inspire you but also guide you on what to avoid. Take the time to learn about the topic of discussion and how to host like a pro. Don’t get too lost in your research because you have to take action! 

 2. Enjoy the process 

Action alone will get you across the finish line, focus is also required. Mapping out what you have to do is crucial. Apply what you have learned from your research and generate additional tasks, you think you’ll need to do. Of course you won’t think of everything first time round but you have to start somewhere. Talking of new technology, to assist with keeping me on track I used ClickUp to manage my process. 

 3. Technology is your friend

An online project management tool was just the start, next it’s a video conferencing cloud platform. Enter Zoom stage left. This is your new stage and learning your stage directions still applies. There are so many cool features you can get bedazzled by but for your first event don’t forget the basics. Consider running a test run of your event to ensure you’ve got a strong handle on the basics of your chosen software. This also includes how can it support your marketing efforts. 

 4. Marketing hat firmly on  

With no marketing you guessed it, your event only exists to you and your colleagues. Create a buzz by selecting the necessary channels to spread the word and be to sure leverage the network of your panelists too. Remember the buzz doesn’t stop when the event is over. Once all is said and done, create videos, infographics, blog, posts etc about your event to continue the discussion but first it’s showtime! 

 5. Fueled for execution 

Notes and questions prepared, check. Lighting, audio and video quality, check. 20 minute pre brief meeting with your panelists, check. You are good to go. All the research, task execution and marketing has resulted in you hosting your first virtual event. Let go of any imperfections and simply enjoy the amazing event you’ve created. 

 6. Review – exhale and inhale 

Exhale, all good things come to an end but some we can re-create! Look, even if your event was not as successful as you wanted it to be or you did not garner the largest audience on record that is not a reason to stop. Gather feedback from colleagues, panelists and audience members on what went well and how you can improve in the future. You’ll thank them when you sit down to prepare your next event, inhale. 

If you are wondering what the largest virtual audience on record is, it was 10,899 attendees hosted by Hubspot on 23rd August 2011 discussing Zarrella’s science of social media and contagious ideas. Now who doesn’t love a target to reach, happy planning!