25 May, 2020 - HK
Recently, our schedules have been filled with dozens of interesting webinars and tiring video conferences (or maybe that’s the other way round?). Online events have become the social activity of choice across the world, and whether for business or personal growth one driving factor has been our ever-present need as humans to connect and build community.
As an innovative co-working space operator / long time Zoom users, we quickly moved our events from offline to online at start of the virus outbreak, working with our partners here at Garage to drive conversations and engagement around the challenges covid19 posed for brands, remote working, virtual business opportunities and other hot topics under the situation, and learning a lot along the way.
If you’re looking to crest the wave of webinar activity that has swelled up within the ecosystem and want to craft an event to remember we’re happy to share our top five tips to keep those viewing figures up during your stream!
If you plan to go solo during the entire event, we suggest you write a blog post instead - it’s way more cost-effective than hosting a webinar. You’d call a talk show an event, but does a solo podcast classify as an ‘event’? No matter how much information you need to share with your audience, remember to always spare enough time for audience participation to keep your viewers engaged and build a sense of community around your ideas.
In a webinar setting, a Q & A session at the end of the presentation is the most common way to interact with your audience. Depending on which platform you use, polling, breakout room features, and chat rooms are also a good idea to get your audience involved.
Let’s assume your tech team (which might be you!) has taken care of the... technical part (internet connection, camera, audio quality etc) Let’s focus on you, as an event host.
No matter which online event platform you choose, you should know your tool well enough so you’ll have everything under control and make the most out of it. Also, ensure that your speakers and participants are familiar with it too. If necessary, schedule a dry run to walk through the platform with all your speakers at least a day before the event, and don’t forget to include an introduction of the platform in your welcome speech. Be brief, but precise.
A picture perfect MC is often energetic, witty, talkative and outspoken. This can be true...but not everyone feels comfortable with this style. It’s good to keep up the energy level to make your event more alive, but it’s more important to be authentic and use a conversational tone for the whole time. After hosting a couple of events, believe us, your unique style will start to shine through. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not.
As a host, you’re leading the conversation, interacting with your guests and audience, catching all the spotlight. Yes, it’s a one-man show to your audience, yet there is often a whole-team’s work worth of prep to carry off a seamless webinar.
If you want to focus solely on your audience, you need to make sure the following tasks are taken care of:
Co-host: manage participants, including monitoring any unpleasant guests, allow access to any conference room features and communicate with other team members and speakers instantly in the chat.
Insider: post questions and share information in the chat, respond to participants and participate as an attendee to encourage the first move
Technical support: equipment setup, and troubleshooting tech issues
Cliché as it sounds, being a great host is a process of trial and error. Attending or hosting one webinar is probably more practical than reading 100 articles about it (thanks for reading though!). More than how others engage participants during the online event, you might also want to pay attention to event promotion, registration process, and post-event engagement.
If you don’t have enough time to join every webinar out there, you can follow the event page of a community or organization to keep up with the industry trends and innovative online event ideas. Here at Garage, we host regular online and offline events for our community to connect with entrepreneurs and working professionals in the startup ecosystem.
It’s interesting to see how virtual gathering has become such an important thing in our life all of a sudden. Moving your event offline to online could be a big challenge, so we hope these tips could help you smoothen the transitioning. Tag @GarageAcademy on Facebook, or @GarageSociety on LinkedIn to share your upcoming events with us!
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