Tips for Highly Productive Online Events

Friday, 9 October 2020


With the rise of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and with so many people working from home, the online business meetings became an integral part of any organization’s daily schedule. 

Whether we want it or not, online meetings are there, and most of the companies are using different tools and platforms for organizing valuable online meetings, training, and conferences. Now, the online events are trendy: the question is, are you and your company ready for this challenge? The famous proverb says “there is no bad without the good”: so let’s presume that “digitalization” and “online activities” are one of the few benefits  from the pandemic times.

We see tons of online events happening around daily – Online (virtual) events should be planned and carefully delivered.

This blogpost is specifically produced based on a real-life experience of the FEAS team during the coronavirus pandemic. It covers all the steps for online event organization: initiation, before, during, and after event actions.

Before starting the event, we need to determine the main points:
1. Type: The setup and preparation action of the online event is different for each type of it. Meanwhile, the main checkpoints and actions should be done for all the types.
2. Business model: The main point for the event organizers is to determine the business model of the event: free or paid attendance, subscription of membership, sponsorship.
3. Community: limited group or open, one community, or more than one community.
4. Participants: high (C-level), mid-level managers, entry-level employees, the general public, groups by topic/profession, other specifications.
5. Delivering party: organization, individual, several speakers.
6. Platform: Several platforms for the online event, choose the best one for your company’s needs

A. Before the Online Event: Am I too stressed?

After deciding about the main business model, type, participants, delivering party, participants, and relevant technology, the preparation of the online event starts.

Below are the actions to be carried before the online event day (start):
1. Topic: Choosing the topic of an online event doesn’t differ much from onsite event topics. Keep in mind:

  • There is no limitation of the topics based on the organizational type.
  • Be as much into a special topic as possible. General topics work well for big onsite events and conferences, but when a person chooses to spend some time in front of the camera, s/he would like to have a more specific discussion rather than a general overview.

2. Date/time: Participants of online events are more flexible: no logistics, planning, travel, just turn on the device and you are there. So, when choosing date and time keep in mind from what countries the participants will be.
3. Agreement with the third party: Be ready with the documents beforehand for each type of event.
4. Presenter: get in contact with the presenter. As an organizer, you will need to have the photo and short bio of the presenter, a short introduction of the company (if the speaker represents the company). Agree on direct contact type (mobile, email, messenger if applicable). Agree on main points: presentation, materials, delivery type, feedback, recording, personal data protection, communication style, question session, other points per each case.
5. Participants: As mentioned above, participants can vary for each event. They can be restricted, restricted with the exception, unrestricted with invitation/registration, unrestricted open to the public with registration, unrestricted open to the public without registration. For each event, the participants’ type is being agreed with the speaker/delivering organization.

6. Platform and Connection: Choose the right platform for your event
7.  Administration: Create the event on your platform.
8. Test, test, test: Two days before the online event, and, one day before the online event, test a full setup with all the parties except participants.
9. Translation: Online events sometimes will require translation. For example, the Zoom platform has an option for delivering simultaneous translation during the event.
10. Promotion: For each event, a special promotion and announcement plan is prepared based on the main principles.

B. During the Online Event: I am definitely stressed!

When homework of event organization is done properly and all the pre-event actions are in place, during the online event there is not too much to do rather than monitor, navigate, communicate, and participate.
During the event, it is important not to forget anything that was planned. Create a checklist for you, and keep it close to your computer, for not missing any valuable point.

C. After the Online Event: Stress is gone!

When the organizer switches off the screen of the event for all, the next step of action comes into force. The successful online event should have also successfully finalized with feedback forms, materials delivery, and completion announcements. Send a “Thank You” email to all the event participants, and, don’t forget to include the feedback form. For online events also, the feedback is very important for improving the quality and understanding the mistakes (if there are some).

*D. Lessons Learned

Here are some lessons learned from FEAS previous online events:

– always have Plan B, C, D
– don’t look to the different places, keep looking at the camera
– put the camera lightly higher, on the level of eyes
– keep interacting with other participants with the help of the chat tool, most of the online platforms have this tool
– do not be afraid of mistakes
– test, test, test
– remember to thank your participants in the end, for participating in the online event.

Of course, there are other tips and guides to follow when organizing the online events, but we have covered the most important ones for the beginners. For details on how to organize online meetings feel free to contact us at email. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback with us.

by Armenuhi Hovakimyan 

Cover Photo by Pawel Chu on Unsplash