Having worked in the realm of virtual events planning and implementation for many years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to ensure success when providing virtual programs. For example, when an attendee decides to join a virtual event, they expect their personal experience to be priority #1. They want quality content, good customer service, and the ability to interact with their peers and have their opinions heard and their questions addressed. And, most importantly, they expect technology to enhance—not hinder—their program experience.
But, how often is that the case? And if it is not often enough, how can we do better?
Understand the Expectations
We must understand all perspectives of the key players for a remote program. Our clients, trained speakers, and recruited attendees all have unique objectives, needs, and expectations when logging on to a Web conference.
For clients, they expect a virtual events team to work with their project leads to make sure they understand the purpose, goals, and specifications for each remote program—and to make sure each program will run seamlessly and will convey the medical content they need their audience to hear and retain.
For presenters, they need to feel connected with the audience and with the client, as well as comfortable with the content and familiar with the technology of the delivery platform.
For attendees, they want to get placed into their correct call as fast and smooth as possible. No one wants to be the attendee holding up the start of the program due to technical difficulties. They also want ample opportunities to engage in question and answer sessions and to know that the client will be able to retain their feedback.
Key Planning Tips
- Be prepared to work around presenters’ schedules and walk them through everything they will need to know in order to effectively give their presentation. This includes technical tips and support, such as optimizing sound or video quality.
- Take the time to talk through how the actual event will flow, including interactive Q&A, and review how to address off-label questions.
- Offer a “lobby” room for attendees to actually join in the meeting room and view content before the start of the call.
Partner With Your Vendors
One thing that is absolutely vital to facilitating quality virtual events is having a close relationship with your vendor partners. The quality of your vendors reflects on the client, and participants and presenters may not distinguish between the client and its vendors. For that reason, it is important for the virtual events team to inform and consult with vendor partners to ensure the clients’ goals are accomplished.
In summary, understanding the client’s purpose, assisting presenters, and supporting attendees, and partnering with vendors, helps to facilitate a positive experience for all. Being flexible, asking questions, and anticipating the needs of each party involved, are the keys to success. With diligence and learning from the past, we will continue to facilitate an excellent experience for all.