Many organizations and companies recognize the need for face-to-face interactions and communication for building relationships. However, offline interaction is often impossible due to various reasons, events, and issues. A prominent example of this is the Covid pandemic. As a result, most meetings and discussions have now shifted to online conferences, webinars, and events.
It can be challenging for some businesses to adjust to the virtual model, while others may have difficulty optimizing their virtual conferences. In this article, you’ll learn about some of the best practices to improve the virtual conference experience.
Alternatively, if you’re short on time, visit this page to understand how to host a virtual conference.
What Is A Virtual Conference?
A virtual conference is a subcategory of a virtual event. It combines features of both live streaming and virtual meeting. Compared to other virtual events such as webinars, virtual conferences tend to be longer, more information-intensive, and cater to a much larger audience.
Depending on how the organizer decides to host and break up the events, there are several virtual events–ranging from an hour or two to spanning over a few weeks.
You need to take care of certain key elements before you jump the gun and host a virtual conference, such as:
- Focus on a particular topic or theme that you can break down into multiple sub-themes, sub-topics, branches, and ideas.
- Agenda to decide themes, topics to present, and speakers
- Sponsors and exhibitors to fund your virtual conference
- Reach out and bring in well-known speakers in the field that have intensive knowledge about the particular topic. It’ll make your virtual conference more professional, and you can also benefit from the understanding that the speaker shares.
- Use a virtual event platform that aligns with your needs and interest, such as Zoom, BlueJeans Events, Webinarjam, etc. Check certain factors such as the number of maximum attendees, chat boxes, engagement tools and strategies, analytics, etc.
Best Virtual Conference Practices
Here are six things you must do to ensure your virtual conference is a big success:
Plan Your Reasons And Agenda
The first thing you need to do is lay down your reasons behind hosting a virtual conference. Then, zero in on a general topic and decide what you wish to get out of this conference.
Usually, you can use a virtual conference to build relationships in the field, discuss plans and projects, introduce a new product or service, or even establish yourself as a well-informed authority in a particular area or niche.
With your reasons in check, start outlining the overall plan. This will help you navigate problems and stay focused on your conference.
Build The Foundation
Now that you have a reason and agenda in place, you can move on to compile the necessary tools and resources required for the conference.
Allocate a budget beforehand, contact and discuss with your speakers and sponsors to clear doubts and queries, and lastly, seek a clear understanding of your role in the overall conference–whether you’ll just be a spectator or an active participant. This clarity will help you plan accordingly.
Set Goals And KPIs
To measure the overall success of your conference, you will need to set some goals and determine specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This is crucial as it helps you analyze your data and drawbacks to improve upon the next time you hold a video conference.
Avoid setting overarching goals; instead, limit them to be more realistic and measurable. This will give you a better grasp of what success means to you and your organization.
Intermix Various Sessions And Chats In Your Agenda
To better build trust and confidence among your attendees, you should encourage more engagement in your conferences.
However, you will need to decide how your sessions and conferences will look like; if they’ll be long or short, have multiple attendees or a smaller number for active participation, have one single speaker or multiple speakers. All these factors need to be considered.
There are a plethora of virtual events happening every day. This implies an even higher number of ideas that you can incorporate in your sessions. For example, you can set aside time for a Q&A at the end of your session or even host another fireside chat or webinar within the conferences–the possibilities are endless.
Offer Optimum Customer Service And Support
In a virtual or offline event, the two most important teams that run the show are the marketing and the customer support team.
The customer support team often guides and assists sponsors, speakers, and exhibitors before and during the event. They also need to support and guide attendees during the event.
With so much responsibility weighing on their shoulders, you will need to pick out the best possible support team from your staff and train them for the virtual event.
Promote Your Conference
Preparing and hosting a conference is not just about planning an agenda and talking to potential sponsors and exhibitors.
After all, a conference requires a handsome level of participation and attendance. That’s why you need to set aside time to market and promote your virtual conference to interest the audience.
Even if your conference has the best speakers in the industry or a visually immaculate presentation, you’ll be at a loss if the turnout is poor.
A virtual conference is a more sustainable, easily accessible, and budget-friendly alternative to physical events. Though there is a significant learning curve to it that you will have to go through, a virtual conference can help you perform the same functions and attain the same goals that one could achieve in a physical event.
While considering the recent paradigm of events and the advancement of technology along with all the benefits of a virtual conference, the virtual conference is an ideal model for engaging and building relationships with your prospective clients and customers. So give it a try and see for yourself!
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