Virtual events have been popular, but you probably noticed them explode over the course of the pandemic.

There are several advantages for companies running virtual events, including that they get more reach and can include people who might otherwise not have been able to travel. Many companies have discovered that virtual events are something they want to continue into the future.

For virtual administrative professionals, the role of planning and organizing virtual events often falls to them. There’s a lot that needs to happen behind the scenes to make them successful, so here are some tips to make it happen:

Have a clear agenda

An online event relies upon well-crafted resources, including presentations, polls, and any other interactive component. To ensure that the event is kept interesting and that the audience remains engaged, you’ve got to have a clear agenda throughout. Anyone who thinks “we’ll just wing it” through parts of the event is setting themselves up for potential mishap.

As an AP, you can help to put together a clear agenda so that the event stays on-track. This is also important for attendees who may not be able to be there for the entire time; an agenda helps them to plan their own schedules around the event. Remember that online, you need to find alternative ways to keep people engaged through break periods than what you might do in-person, so consider how you will motivate people to keep coming back.

While you’re at it, be mindful of having “just in case” alternative plans. Good old Murphy’s Law can strike at any time, and you don’t want Murph to take the whole event down! For example, consider having backup moderators in case someone experiences technical issues. You could also have backup activities on-hand that you’re able to set up at a moment’s notice.

Invite the right people

Part of successful virtual event planning is making sure you’ve invited all the people you need to make it a success! There might be someone with particular expertise who you want to have onboard and you need to get onto their schedule in plenty of time.

One consideration for this might be people who are well-known, or who have a large following of their own. These people will usually promote the fact that they’re speaking at an event which will help when you want to gather registrations.

Publicize in the right places

If the goal of your event is to attract a maximum number of attendees, you’ll need to think about where and how to promote it early in your planning. This might be the role of marketing in your organization, but sometimes APs are pulled into the mix too.

Administrative professionals tend to have vast networks of contacts and can often make requests such as “would you mind placing this in your newsletter?” to get the word out. APs can also be responsible for any more personalized invitations to groups or individuals.

Promotion should happen well in advance of the event to get more participation. Use technology that will automatically send reminders to those who have signed up, too.

Choose a good tech platform

Virtual events run on technology, so a robust platform choice is essential. There are two basic criteria that we’d look at: #1. The platform should be reliable; and #2. The platform should be user-friendly.

Make a list of the essential tasks that you need from the technology. For example, you might include things like breakout rooms, booths, streaming on social media, Q&A, or multiple hosts. Having your key tasks listed helps you to narrow down your platform choices.

The user-friendly aspect is very important, from both a presenter and attendee perspective. If you’re asking participants to log in to a specific platform, it should be something straightforward that they’ll be comfortable with.

At the same time, hosts need to be comfortable with how everything works. It’s a good idea to run practice sessions ahead to make sure any hosts can seamlessly operate the technology. Consider the tasks they need to do - screen sharing, moving through a presentation, enacting a poll… Are they able to quickly move to each task?

Set out ground rules for participation

How will you keep order during the event? Encourage participation, as this is a great way to keep the audience engaged, but you need to keep the environment a safe one for all attendees.

Setting ground rules for participation ahead of time can help. For example, here are some common rules:

  • Keep comments civil. Any questions or comments via chat should stimulate discussion rather than seed contention.
  • Use a “raised hand” function (particularly if participants are able to unmute and speak out loud to everyone).
  • Remember that anything discussed in an online environment is now out there in the public domain. Avoid anything defamatory, threatening, abusive, profane, etc.
  • Observe any copyrights. Many events will have legal disclaimers that attendees agree to in order to participate.
  • Please do not record sessions or take screenshots. (You might inform your audience that recordings will be made available to them after the event.)

Have someone watching for chat questions

If you’re going to have audience participation in the form of chats or questions, it’s important to have someone monitoring that the entire time. People will give up if chat questions are missed or ignored!

This is something an administrative professional can do to help out during an event. They can monitor the chat and ensure questions are directed to the right event host for answering. They can collate questions to ensure that they aren’t repeated.

Have an event follow-up strategy

Any effective meeting usually has follow-up of some kind, and the same goes for effective virtual events. Your follow-up might include things like:

  • Emailing out recordings.
  • Emailing out attendee surveys.
  • Emailing out any offers that were made during the event.
  • Sending out resources or next steps.
  • Sharing content snippets to social media.
  • Thanking any guest hosts.

An administrative professional can help out with any of these tasks and can ensure that no one is missed out!

Final thoughts

Virtual events are here to stay and can be a great way for companies to reach a wider audience. Just like in-person events, they take a lot of planning and organizing to pull off well.

Be mindful of keeping virtual audiences engaged. The online environment is different in that engagement can be more challenging; however, with thorough preparation you can enjoy a successful event.

A virtual administrative professional can help ensure your event goes off without a hitch. Talk to Worxbee today about our brilliant virtual APs- we’d love to help you find the right match!