How to plan an online conference: our advices

09 Nov 2020

Planning an online conference requires perfect scheduling and special attention to specific aspects. In this article we’ll see how to plan a virtual conference, avoiding the most common mistakes and taking full advantage of the potential of digital technology.

Speakers training

Depending on the speakers’ experience in speaking in front of a camera, you can ask them to pre-record their speech or to stream it live. In the first case you will have control over the quality of the presentation, but if possible it is always preferable to host live speeches, in order to keep the level of involvement of the participants high.

We recommend you to provide all speakers some detailed technical instructions on how to deliver the presentation (live or recorded). Make sure everyone has the required equipment: a video camera, a microphone and a good light source are usually sufficient. If not, you’ll need to send the equipment in advance so they can test it and learn how to use it.

Finally, organize a rehearsal with the speakers and moderators the day before the event: this way you will make sure that everyone correctly understood how to use the equipment and you will be able to prevent many technical mishaps.

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How to plan an online conference: technical aspects

Choose a digital platform that allows speakers and audience to interact via chat and audio-video connection. Select a stable and secure Internet connection that can support live streaming. Arrange also the recording of live speeches and the collection of all conference materials, to make them available to participants at the end of the meeting.

Finally, hire a technical team to test all the tools in advance and make sure everything runs smoothly on the day of the event.

Program

Plenary sessions, seminars, round tables…depending on the theme of the conference, plan the agenda around a single macro-theme. You can then decide to split the program into several blocks, based on the sub-topics that will be addressed.

Since the level of attention during a remote conference tends to be lower than during a face-to-face event, we suggest to plan short sessions with breaks and slots for games, entertainment or interaction with other users (see next point).

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Interaction

If the conference lasts several hours, you’ll need to include some timings when attendees interact directly. Q&A sessions, questionaries, polls or small “homework” assignments are great ways to engage your audience and raise their attention.

You can exploit social media to encourage the sharing of thoughts, questions and content about the conference through a dedicated hashtag. This way you will also increase the visibility of the event, without spending money.

Networking

If you are planning a virtual conference, you should include some time for networking among the participants. In this way, you will avoid private conversations distracting them during the speakers’ speeches, and you’ll be able to dedicate some space to presenting the various sponsors.

Virtual stands

Digital stands allow to give full visibility to sponsors, who can publish multimedia contents that can be downloaded directly from the platform. Moreover, it is possible to customize the layout of the presentations by adding logos, graphics and advertising banners even during the live streaming.

Our tips on how to plan an effective and immersive online conference end here.

If you need technical support in planning your virtual event, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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