6 Steps to Take Before Opening a Big Conference to Virtual Attendees
Apr 18, 2017

Before diving into what you should do before opening a big virtual conference, it is important to look at what makes an online conference different from a traditional conference. An online conference means that your group does not have to miss important information just because they cannot make it to a meeting. A virtual conference can be archived, and made available to those who were not able to attend the live presentation. The people who are attending can watch the content whenever they are available.

Enjoying the Live Experience

For the people who can attend the live event, being able to interact in a live question and answer session allows the presenter to better guide the presentation to suit the needs of their audience. In comparison with ground based conferences, a virtual conference provides:

• An improved learning experience and increased participation of the audience.
• Instant participation regardless of location.
• Interactive formats, including text, streaming video, conference calls, and asynchronous discussion threads.
• Minimal expense in reaching an international audience.
• Can become the foundation of ongoing professional development.
• Maximum, high-value content at minimum cost.

Now that you know the benefits of online conferences, let’s dive into the six steps you should take before you dive into live event webcasting, such as the options provided by BlueJeans.

Know Your Audience

The heart of any live event is creating audience participation. Before you lock yourself into a live event, make sure you have the right content in mind for a broad audience. Once you understand your broad audience, focus in on your target audience. Identify the type of people you want to reach and focus you event content accordingly. Consider the various topics and themes you feel your audience will be the most interested in. What benefits can your live event provide and who you should reach out to as guest speakers to attract your desired clientele.

Ensure You Have Adequate Lead Time for Planning

If you are planning a live event, you should provide yourself with a few months to focus on the various planning and logistics that go into a live event. An online event can easily become a complex situation, and you will need to be prepared. It also allows you time to gather the right guest speakers for your event, create and edit the presentation, and set up a website to market the event.

Design an Event Offering a Variety of Content

After you have created a buzz about your online presentation, maintain their interest about your event. Send emails to the people who have reserved a spot and create more appeal.

When you are creating your content, keep in mind the different learning styles that people have. Set up your email list to provide statistics of how your viewers respond to text, visuals, and audio. Make sure your content is presented in a way that all audience types have their needs met.

Make sure to meet the needs of your attendees by providing the following:

• Live video webcast
• Presentation archive
• Live chat
• Pre-recorded pieces of presentation
• Streaming video
• Ability to call in via telephone

Provide a Chance for Interaction and Connection between Attendees

Creating a successful online conference depends on the ability of attendees to interact with one another. It is important to promote participation by creating a time for the audience to interact with each other. This interaction can take place on any of the following:

• Live chat
• Message boards
• Breakout sessions during conference calls

These opportunities can have a very powerful impact on your conference. It can also promote deeper connections between attendees. By creating a sense of community, you will make it more desirable for people to attend.

Work with Dedicated Event Coordinator and Online Conference Vendor

If you are new to hosting online conferences, having an experienced event coordinator can assist in the planning process. Make sure that your event planner can work closely with the platform vendor. They will be better able to anticipate what will be the most attractive aspects to attendees, help design the site, create appropriate visual interest, and ensure that design aspects are in place.

Take Time to Train Yourself in the Software
If you are working with an experienced, partner-based conference platform vendor, make sure you opt for the training, technical support, and any other hand-holding they offer. By taking this training, you will feel more at ease with online conferences, and be better able to provide content to your attendees.

Understanding the Online Conference World

If you are new to live event webcasting, following these six simple steps will ensure the success of your conference. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you have everything in motion, you will feel more confident in your hosting abilities. Using customer-focused technology allows you to suit the needs of your attendees, provide a wealth of knowledge, and a sense of community support.