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Setting Up a Virtual Conference

April 16, 2020

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With face to face meetings and events currently on hold, many event organisers are considering their options. You may have read our blog about how important physical events are, but in the current climate, a virtual event is an option that event professionals are considering. So how do you get started?

It’s best to approach your event much as you would if you were holding it at a conference centre. Think about what your delegates while preparing the content of your keynotes and breakout sessions.

There is higher risk in losing your audience throughout a virtual event than at a physical event. If the content isn’t focused or in the presence of barriers to the delegate’s enjoyment such as technical problems, then you risk losing their attention!

If you want your audience to stay engaged from start to finish then consider opening your event with an overview of what is coming up. Provide teasers as to what delegates will learn and emphasise the calibre of the speakers and presenters. At the end, provide a recap and clearly set out where viewers can access presentations and further information.

The best events are interactive and allow delegates the opportunity to directly question speakers, creating a debate. When preparing an online event it’s important to pick a platform that allows as much interaction as possible. You will also need to consider the cost of using

Here are some options to consider:

  • Facebook Live and YouTube Live allows your audience to ask questions and interact with each other either through audio or text
  • Microsoft Teamslets you connect with your audience and gives you the opportunity to share files
  • Cisco Webex, which is the preferred option here at 99 City Road Conference Centre is a secure videoconferencing and screen sharing platform offering end-to-end encryption

If your event requires breakout sessions or smaller, more niche seminars this is also possible in a virtual environment. One way to facilitate this is to create an event website providing links to all keynote and breakout sessions, allowing delegates to make a choice between sessions. You have the freedom to use multiple webinar platforms depending on the speaker’s preference and how interactive they want the session to be. If a speaker wants a small number of people to engage fully with a session then you can ask delegates to register and provide a limit on numbers.

It’s impossible for delegates to network as they would during breaks at a physical event! But you can create opportunities for people to learn more about each other and encourage interaction.  Upon registration for the event you could ask delegates to upload a photo of themselves, providing information about their role and you could ask them three key questions that would reveal their thoughts on a particular topic or sector. With their permission, this could be published in a dedicated delegate’s area on your event website and will encourage attendees to connect with each other.

If you’re waiting to run your conference as planned, then we can work with you to re-book your event. We are taking bookings from September onwards. Please contact the team via conference.centre@inmarsat.com for more information.

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