Written by Simon Scriver
We spend a lot of time at Everywhere+ talking to clients and potential clients about their upcoming virtual events and hybrid events. We share with them what we’ve seen work with other events and we support them in any areas of the process they might not have the time, resources, or experience to deal with.
Often people start with some preconceived ideas of what a virtual event can be. We’ve all been on countless run-of-the-mill Zoom webinars.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that’s what a virtual event is and that’s the limit of its possibilities.
So I wanted to share 3 of the most common ideas that we challenge clients to think of when building their event.
Keep these in mind and you’ll bring your livestream to the next level.
1. Embrace the fact that your virtual event can be anywhere
When lockdowns first hit and in-person events started getting cancelled many people lamented the fact that their events were no longer taking place in beautiful (and not so beautiful) venues around the world. We assumed we were stuck behind our desks with the reality of our hectic lives on display behind us to the rest of the world.
That’s just not the case.
Virtual events allow your speakers and audience to be anywhere.
Think beyond your speakers simply talking to their laptop camera in their office or home. With a laptop or a smartphone your event speakers can now present from anywhere.
We’ve seen speakers live and pre-recorded from their gardens, parks and other outdoor spaces. We’ve seen speakers bring their virtual audiences to the doorstep of projects and venues that attendees couldn’t otherwise access. We had a speaker talking about Notre Dame Cathedral’s fundraising efforts while he was on location in Paris! Cirque du Soleil is investing more and in to their virtual event offering because the cameras can get within the performers space.
2. Remember that a little bit of production goes a long way.
Live is great for the instant feedback and interactions. But it’s inevitable that large parts of your event don’t need to be live and don’t need any two-way interaction with the audience. For those parts we generally recommend pre-recording
Pre-recording removes a lot of the unknowns and reduces the chance of technical problems. When done well, pre-recorded content can be weaved into your livestream so that attendees often can’t tell the difference.
Pre-recording also gives you the opportunity to edit and clean-up elements you’re not happy with. And you can be creative. One of our clients’ speakers used basic editing to create a session where he interviewed himself – amazing! These pre-records also allow fancier transitions, graphics and effects. You should certainly consider it.
Whether it’s live or pre-recorded, sound and good lighting are two of the most important things to invest in. Get yourself a comfortable microphone – it doesn’t have to be expensive. But your laptops built-in microphone isn’t going to cut it. Without a proper microphone your sound can be irritating – and that’s a big reason for people to switch off.
At Everywhere+ we offer a ‘virtual recording studio’ where you’ll be greeted by one of our team to talk you through the recording process. We’ll ensure the recording quality is doing you justice and take care of any edits or inserts you’d like. And you don’t have to be an Everywhere+ client to get use of it…it’s open for public bookings.
We also offer regular demos and soundchecks for your speakers and hosts to ensure that nothing goes wrong on event day.
3. Accept that you are not your target audience
You might like your events where everyone has their camera on and is visible. Your attendees might not. You might not personally use subtitles. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that closed captions are a non-negotiable. You might prefer to speak live but your video quality could suffer. We must ensure we put our audience needs first. Our work is for them, after all.
When we support our clients to deliver their virtual or hybrid event, our account managers are very focused on what the audience is experiencing. We need to consider that an event isn’t longer than the average user’s attention span. We need to make sure we’re not overcomplicating things for those attendees who aren’t fully comfortable with technology. We need to be accessible.
If you’d like to chat about how our team at Everywhere+ can help you bring your virtual event to the next level then please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.