6 steps to organize an online event that will solve your business task
The process of organizing an online event is similar to the structure of an offline event and consists of 6 steps:
- Briefing. Description of event goals, format and target audience.
- Creating the concept of the event, preparation of the script.
- Technical part organization.
- Creation of content: video clips, presentations, graphics, search of speakers and performers
- Test runs.
- Holding the event.
Many start with technical part organization because it is the most difficult one: transforming offline activities into online format, choosing a suitable platform for translation, choosing a contractor and other problems. But such an approach limits creativity and forces you to find a compromise. That is why start with briefing not to deprive yourself of an opportunity to organize an event that would fully satisfy the needs of your audience.
Time of reading: 2 minutes.
Step 1: meeting, consulting, briefing
At the stage of briefing it is important to set the limits and choose the right vector, so that the further creative process would evolve in the right direction. That is why you need to answer the following questions:
- Goal and tasks of the event.
- Event format: business conference, party, staff meeting, show, etc.
- Target audience: who will participate in the event and what is important for them?
- The core message of the event. What should a person feel, think and do during and after the event?
- The structure of the event: which parts will it consist of?
- Interaction with the audience. Is it necessary? If yes, in what way?
- The duration of the event.
- The budget of the event.
- The date when the preparation starts and the date of the event
It is important to understand that briefing is necessary both if you will hire contractors or organize an event by yourself. Brief is a skeleton, based on which you will create the structure of the following steps.
Step 2: creative concept
Based on briefing results, start the creative part of the preparation. It is important to create as many ideas as possible.
At the first stage forget about the criticism, it is the next step. At the beginning you need to write down everything that reflects your vision of the event. Even if some ideas would seem strange or difficult to realize.
Start from the very beginning - from the idea and the core message of the event. And then move to the script itself: presentations of speakers, elements of show, interactive parts, etc.
When you feel that generated enough content, move to step two. Here you need to "ground" your ideas in accordance with online format, unite all elements into one script, where everything is logical and interconnected.
What should be kept in mind when creating a script for an online event?
- The duration of each programme block. The audience's attention in online format is lost in the snap of a finger, and if during offline events a speaker can work with the audience for several hours, in online format we need a frequent change of activities appearing on the screen. If a speaker is going to speak for a long time, break his speech with a stylish presentation, video clips and interaction with the audience.
- The presence of interactive elements. Interaction is everything that presupposes active engagement with the content or with other people. As a matter of fact, this is what differs an engaging online event from watching a stream. Interaction provokes strong emotions and remains in memory
What interaction should you choose for your event? Everything depends on the audience and the number of participants. If 20-30 people take part in the event, the host of the event can devote time to every participant, including personal communication. But if we have 1000-2000 people, the task becomes more difficult. The simplest example of interactive mechanics: surveys. It is organized either with the help of special services or on the platform for communication between the participants (Telegram chat).
A more difficult option: when the participants do the tasks of the speaker. For example, make something with their hands (make a cocktail, draw a picture, etc.). You should be guided by your audience in particular and the format of the event.
As a result of the second step you will have a detailed description of what is going to happen during the event.
Step 3: technical part organization
Now, when you understand WHAT is going to happen during your event, ask yourself HOW to realize it. In general, there are two strategies: do yourself or hire an experienced technical contractor. The first option is more difficult and riskier if you don't have experience of organizing online events.
Taking into consideration a big number of issues, it is better to find an experienced technical team. Working with experts you will get the necessary experience and organize future events on your own.
Let's have a look at the plan of action when organizing the technical part of the event:
There are two approaches: first - organize a translation without interaction with the audience, second - organize an event that presupposes interaction with the participants.
- Choose a platform.
In case you decide to make a translation, you need to find a studio and choose a platform for the event (YouTube, VK live or similar services).
If the event presupposes interaction with the audience, the task becomes more difficult. The main criterion for choosing a platform is the realization of interactive mechanics. The majority of such events are now held in Zoom. This platform permits, for example, to demonstrate on the screen other participants of the event, make surveys or communicate in the chat. The number of Zoom functions constantly expands, and if you decide to use it, it is better to consult an expert.
In general, if you don't have any super specific goals, in 99% of cases you can definitely choose Zoom.
After choosing a platform, edit your script, bearing in mind how interactive mechanics will be realized on the platform.
2. Write the route of the participant.
Start with who and how will inform the participants about the event: will it be a newsletter, post in social media or alternative ways. Also, you will need a communication channel where you will be able to quickly pass all the actual information to the participants: where the event will be held, how to prepare for it, etc. Think about how you will send a link for joining the conference to the participants as well as technical support contacts in case they have any difficulties.
If among other platforms you chose Zoom, think about writing an instruction for downloading the app and what is the most important - for adjusting sound and camera settings. Do not hope that everyone will cope by themselves: take care of the people. Also, if except Zoom the participants will need to join the chat, add a link.
3. Organize technical support.
There are always some problems with joining the conference, with sound and video. Organize technical support for users and don't forget to inform them whom to contact if any problems occur.
Step 4: creation of content
Now, when the script and technical base of the event are ready, it is time to work with the content. In accordance with the script start the production of the video, graphics, presentations, music and everything necessary for organizing the interactive part of the event.
Visual materials and music also create the atmosphere, that is why the content should be created especially for the event in one style, corresponding to the format of the event.
If the format of the event presupposes materials from the speaker - ask them in advance and store them in the cloud, so that those responsible for the translation could have quick access to the materials.
Step 5: test run
Pay special attention to this step
Regardless of the fact whether you organize the event on your own or with the help of a contractor, it is necessary to make 2-3 test runs, depending on the complexity of the event. The bigger the team taking part in the event, the more coordinated the cooperation between its members should be, the more test runs will be needed.
Before organizing a test run, make a summary table with an access for all the team members. This document should contain the following points:
Before the test run, create a communication channel for the team because during the translation you will need to communicate promptly. You can use Discord app enabling communication between the team members in the manner of walkie talkie.
- Detailed script with timing
- Column "what appears on the screen"
- Processes occurring simultaneously with the translation (for example, sending an informational message to the chat for the participants)
- On a separate sheet there should be contacts of every member of the team for emergency cases, as well as links to the materials used during the translation.
When a summary table is ready and the communication between the members of the team is organized, start the test run.
During the test run the following tasks are performed:
Record all the difficulties that occurred, so that you could make a feedback session after the test run and not repeat the same mistakes during the next test.
- Cooperation is established between all those involved into the organization of the event.
- Technical part is checked, as well as interactive patterns.
- The script is tested, including the timing of every block of the event.
After organizing test runs, make a final run 2-3 days before the event. During this final run the team should act as a single mechanism because there will be no more chances of improving anything.
Step 6: holding the event
On the day of the event:
- Remind the participants that the event will be held today, if you didn't send them a link, send it.
- Contact the speakers and every member of the team to make sure that everyone is available.
- Check the work of technical support.
- Before the translation starts, check the sound and the quality of the video.
- Check the content.
- Check the connection in Discord one more time.
- All the members of the team should arrive in advance, minimum 1 hour before the event
Here the preparation process is over, and all that you need to do is to hold an event and enjoy the accomplished work.
Remember that qualitative pre-production is 90% of the success of your event. If you have any doubts, contact professionals.