We’re on a mission to make managing virtual events easy, fun, and engaging! We’ve been talking to awesome event organizers who jumped right into hosting their first virtual events in the last few months to find out what works and what doesn’t. This is a completely new landscape for many, but we can all learn from each other to shed light on the challenges and also the benefits of going online with your event.
A Large Live Event
Out of Chicago is the first and largest annual, midwest photography conference in the United States. The conference also creates multiple destination conferences each year. The COVID-19 pandemic created many obstacles in the production of the event uncertainty as to whether they would be able to hold the live conference they had grown accustomed to.
The Founder’s Vision
Chris Smith, the founder and organizer of Out of Chicago, knew their community still wanted to learn and have experiences together. The team stuck behind their mission of bringing together a diverse, leading line-up of instructors together to help train the craft of photography.
A Fateful Decision
Chris and the team decided that they would shift their conference to a completely virtual 3-day conference: Out of Chicago Live. The event was an overwhelming success, primarily due to the passionate and curious instructors. They encouraged the audience of photographers to keep learning something new and transform their craft.
This first virtual event experience also taught Chris and his team four valuable lessons for first time virtual event organizers.
- Map out the Online User Journey
- Get familiar with all tools and technology
- Automate everything you can
- Be sensitive and accommodate all levels of interaction
1. Map The Online User Journey
From registration to event-day access, have a clear picture of what the full experience will be for your attendees.
2. Get Familiar With All The Tools and Technology
Spend extra time educating yourself and your team on all the technology and platforms that will be used throughout the event. Troubleshooting isn’t just for the IT or AV department anymore. Make sure every speaker and panelists has a dedicated presenter or co-host in their session to help address technical issues and provide backup plans.
3. Automate Everything You Can
You won’t have time to manage inviting attendees or creating new virtual conference rooms during your event. Create automated systems to help make everything run smoothly.
4. Be Sensitive & Accommodate All Levels of Interaction
Some attendees may not feel comfortable with using video and some will be very excited and into virtually engaging. Be prepared to deal with all levels of comfort and offer options for how your attendees can engage.
A Successful Virtual Experience
Chris Smith’s Out of Chicago was an overwhelming success. Incorporating his tips and advice into your next virtual event can help make sure your next (or first!) virtual event is a success too.
Interested in learning more?
Check out our webinar How To Run Successful Virtual Events. This fast paced, 60-minute webinar will help you become a virtual event maestro answering questions such as:
- How do I prepare and plan for my virtual event?
- Who do I need on my team to ensure my virtual event’s success?
- How do I create an interactive experience with my virtual event?
- What software, equipment and infrastructure do I need to organize and run my virtual event?
- What are the best ways to market my virtual event?
- How do I follow-up with attendees after the event is over?