Whether your upcoming event is fully digital or you’re taking a hybrid approach, including a virtual component has become the new normal. But, there are several things that you need to consider when working with your various speakers to provide an effectively engaging and technically competent experience for an audience who’s tuning in online. With that being said, there are many things you need to consider before streaming any given presentation – here are nine tips to help prepare your virtual event speakers.
1) Host A Virtual Speaker(s) Kick-Off Call
If you’ve hired one or multiple speakers, the first step is to host a kick-off call where you’ll run through your various requirements and expectations. Discuss schedule, rehearsal commitments, talking points, supplemental technology for delivering content, and so on. It’s also important to ensure that your speakers know how to offer a high-quality virtual experience with some basic best practices
2) Communicate Virtual Speaker Best Practices
Before rehearsal, ideally on the kick-off call, you want to communicate some best practices for online presenters – particularly if they’re more used to speaking at in-person events. With virtual events, the speaker has to also act as a quasi producer. Run through the various camera, audio and lighting components needed for a high-quality experience. Encourage them to use a high-quality camera (not a cellphone or computer camera), a high-fidelity microphone that’s built for voice audio, proper front-side lighting that’s aimed toward the speaker’s face, and neutral-colored backgrounds.
3) Set Up Virtual Event Rehearsal
You likely wouldn’t host an in-person event without first doing a dress rehearsal. Likewise, you should schedule a detailed rehearsal for your virtual event. With this, you do a dry run to assess everything from network connectivity to content delivery to speaker performance and beyond. This will help ensure that everything is functioning properly before the big day. Invite your staff, technical crew, speakers, and maybe even some exclusive guests who can provide feedback. Operate the rehearsal exactly as you would the real event, by timing everything, testing cues and transitions, and checking for possible technical problems.
4) Help Virtual Speakers Access Your Platform
It’s crucial that you assist virtual speakers with your platform if they’re having trouble. You can create a troubleshooting guide, in addition to providing them with a tech support contact. Whether using a third-party virtual event platform, a proprietary app or a basic website, provide them with instructions on how to access the backend in order to run rehearsals. You don’t want them doing it for the first time on the day of the event.
5) Test At The 30-Minute Countdown Mark
30 minutes before a speaker is set to give their presentation is the final chance you’ll get to double-check everything on both ends. Tell them to connect to your platform a half-hour prior to their speech to give your team enough time to ensure technology is working properly. This is also a good time to do a quick run through of presentation flow, any supplemental content delivery features or additional engagement items like post-presentation Q&A or live polling.
6) Prepare For Technical Glitches
Regardless of how much preparation you put into your event, glitches happen. There’s things that are simply out of your control – a change in wind direction affecting WiFi or electrical outages taking down your network, for example. If something goes down, don’t panic. Be prepared by hiring in-house or third-party technical staff that are specialists with virtual events. Make sure to have headshots and other stock photography available, as well as closed captioning, in the instance of a faltering video or audio connection.
7) Hire A Virtual Producer
If this is your first time hosting a virtual event speaker, you may want to hand over the main responsibilities to a virtual producer or a team of specialists. Not only will you avoid many of the major risks associated with a virtual event, but you can learn the ins and outs of providing a stellar experience for online attendees that can be applied to future engagements.
8) Help Virtual Speakers Engage Attendees
Rather than scanning the room as they would in a live setting, speakers need to maintain consistent eye contact with the camera as though they are speaking to a single person on the other side of the lens. Implement several essential steps to engage your virtual event audience, including live chat sessions, Q&As, polling and social media integrations to make your content work harder. And, remember that visual aids go a long way in keeping digital users interested in what’s happening on their screen. By using a virtual event platform, you get all these features and so much more in one, handy location.
9) Use The Best Virtual Event Platform
Not only do you get exciting features for delivering content and interacting with attendees, you get a variety of other benefits by using an intuitive virtual event platform. For example, with full agenda management, you can help speakers stay organized, provide alerts and allow filtering for easy schedule optimization. Additional analytics solutions give you more control over audience data and metrics, giving you more qualified leads, an optimized pipeline and automated follow-up for post-event outreach.
Searching for an intuitive virtual event platform?
Then look to Second Stage, the world’s leading hybrid event platform and provider, and engage your audience like never before. You’ll receive such beneficial features like live streams, recording capabilities, one-on-one session chats and a full lead-generating toolbox, right at your fingertips.
Create a meaningful virtual experience that doesn’t sacrifice human connection – contact us today to learn more about our event solutions or speak with a representative.