As anyone in the event industry knows, no amount of planning can predict the weather, a venue or artist cancellation, or – as we’re currently dealing with – a global pandemic. When unexpected setbacks derail your event, a contingency plan will help you decide your next move. But what if you don’t have one?

The bottom line is, despite your expertise and experience, adaptability is still the most beneficial skill you need as an event professional. And with a variety of digital formatting options available, you can more seamlessly pivot to meet any given challenge.

Some call it a livestream, others call it a webinar or virtual summit. All that matters is that your attendees’ expectations are satisfied – or, better yet, exceeded. Read on to find out how.

Look on the bright side of online events

As well as giving you the ability to salvage your event in the face of changing circumstances, there are other benefits to using an online format. You can:

  • Open up your event to more people.
  • Save on costs like travel, vendors, and venues.
  • Leverage social tools and chats to keep the conversation going.

Determine if your event is suited for an online audience

What works offline in the real world might not in the virtual. But that doesn’t mean your online workshop, class, or seminar has to suffer – providing a quality experience is possible in any format.

A concert or performance livestream is perfect for the digital experience because it broadens the scope of your event beyond physical boundaries. It also makes online guests feel like they are part of the live action. By contrast, an arts and crafts workshop that requires attendees to use physical materials they don’t own wouldn’t work. Events that are based around discussion and thought leadership, like a forum on closing the gender pay gap, could add similar value in an online format.

And if you’re worried about losing the benefits of networking, don’t. By encouraging guests to engage in the comments and chat section, you can provide a space for people to interact, share their thoughts, and discuss the event, in real time.

Choose the right technology

You need to decide on the platform you’ll broadcast your live event or online presentation from. If you’d like to display your venue’s set up and background – or feature a performer – a video streaming service like Facebook Live is most appropriate.

Sometimes you’ll need to adopt a tool that prioritises event-goer participation. For this format, we recommend Zoom, which allows you to:

  • Integrate with Facebook and YouTube.
  • Interact with chat features and Q&A polling.
  • Include virtual hand-raising and track how interested your audience is in your content.

Of course, if you’re looking for a seamless registration and ticketing experience, you’ll need an advanced ticketing platform that will allow you to create a pricing strategy and offer multiple ticket types. Modern ticketing and registration platforms like Eventbrite make promoting your online event effortless, with registration and marketing integrations for Facebook and Instagram.

Don’t skimp on production equipment

Part of feeling like you’re at an event is having a seamless audio and visual experience. Here are a few things to check to make sure your audience remains engaged.

  • Test your video and audio before your event: This way, you’ll be able to fix any issues before they impact your guest experience.
  • Use a good-quality camera and headset: The camera on your computer will get the job done, but it’s important to remember your audience. People attend live events and gatherings for the rich, immersive experiences they offer. So invest in a quality camera and microphone to ensure your presence on their screens is sharp and clear.
  • Make sure your connection is solid: It’s far from ideal if patchy WiFi means your live music set cuts out every three minutes. Quality is usually best on a solid wired internet connection, but otherwise, make sure you have reliable, strong WiFi.

Hone your presentation skills

Working with a live audience is quite different from engaging digital guests. Consider these tactics to make sure you keep their attention:

  • Look at the camera: This will mimic the in-person feeling of eye contact. Gauge reactions by glancing at the screen, but looking at the camera will mean the audience feels like you’re really talking to them.
  • Use engagement tools: When it’s appropriate, incorporate screen sharing, annotate shared content, send out polls, and ask for feedback in the chat window.

Manage the logistics of going from live to virtual (for Eventbrite Creators)

Now that you know how to host an online event that will rival an in-person experience and wow your attendees, take a look at some of the logistical things you’ll need to manage when making the change.

Change your event from live to virtual

If you need to change the location of your event from a physical address to a virtual one, follow these steps:

  1. Click on your event under “Manage events” in your account.
  2. Go to “Basic info” on your Event Dashboard.
  3. Select the pencil icon next to your event location.
  4. Click on the dropdown “Venue” and select “Online event”.
  5. Follow the steps to create a livestream event page.

There are a couple of extra steps you’ll want to remember when you change your live event to a virtual event:

  • Make sure to communicate the changes to your attendees.
  • When you change your location from live to online, Eventbrite won’t automatically send the link of the livestream to your attendees. You can include the link in an email to attendees, or send it out at a later time.

In summary

Putting on a great event isn’t easy. But with these tips – and your ability to adapt – you can offer attendees an online experience worth paying for. Find out more at Eventbrite for Organisers.

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