Virtual conferences include networking opportunities, discussion forums, chat rooms, exhibition booths, and more. Hosts use virtual conferencing software that delivers a highly visual experience to connect with participants.
The success of virtual conferences depends on proper planning and execution. Planning a virtual conference is similar to preparing an in-person conference, minus the physical venue. Virtual conferences have all of the same moving parts such as speaker sessions, breakouts, networking, exhibition booths, and more.
Tips on How to Plan a Virtual Conference
Here are some handy tips on how to plan a virtual conference:
1) Create a Virtual Conference Agenda
Your first step in virtual conference preparation will be planning the conference agenda. A typical virtual conference is 1-3 days in duration. Each day should not be longer than four hours since attendees are joining from their computer or mobile device.
If there are too many sessions to fit into the schedule, consider adding concurrent tracks by topic so that attendees choose what is relevant to their needs. Any missed sessions can be viewed on-demand.
2) Choose the Virtual Conference Format
Determine if your virtual conference is mostly session-focused or if there is a need to include other rooms such as an exhibit hall with booths, networking room(s), etc.
Ideally, the virtual conference format should cater to your attendees’ and overall goals. Organizers can also incorporate a variety of innovative designs for the virtual conference to make it as visually appealing and as engaging as possible.
3) Establish the Content
A very crucial yet highly ignored aspect of a virtual conference is the audience. It’s critical to identify your target audience beforehand, as it helps organize the content and format.
If the event caters to multiple audieces, the platform can be set up to either allow the attendees to self-select the sessions, rooms, booths and content to access or use role based access capabilities to control attendee access.
4) Choose the Right Virtual Conference Platform
The virtual conference platform is by far the most important factor to consider when hosting a virtual event. There are many software products available, and hosts find it hard to choose the most suitable one.
Start with the attendees and goals, then back into the desired audience experience . This will help organizers select the appropriate virtual conference platform.
5) Promoting a Virtual Conference
Organizers can use the same channels to promote a virtual conference as those used fora physical event. Examples include social media, email campaigns or other out-reach strategies.
The Bottom Line
These tips can help plan a successful virtual conference. Proper time and effort should be taken to create an agenda, sessions and content to meet the needs of the attendees in a virtual environment.