Small Business Brief

Business Advice

Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Virtual Conference or Online Event

When the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm, the world had to make a few adjustments. One of these adjustments was figuring out what to do about events.

For businesses, conferences are often crucial. They help educate current or future employees, help with networking, and help with business negotiations. In other words, you can’t go without them.

This is where a good online event or conference comes in. 

While online conferences and virtual meetings are easier to plan than “real life” ones, there are a few mistakes that can disrupt your event. Keep reading to learn about the mistakes that you should watch out for.

Using Inadequate Platforms

Online video-chat platforms have been around for over a decade. There are so many to choose from, and the pandemic brought even more to life when companies saw a need for innovation. 

You need to choose the right platform for your purpose. Virtual conference platforms need to be able to hold a lot of people, control mic capabilities, and potentially even show media to the entire group (like videos or music). 

Choosing the wrong virtual conference software or platform will result in technical difficulties, if not full cancellation. 

Not Rehearsing

Just because you’ve moved your conference to the web doesn’t mean that you don’t need to plan for it. 

It’s easy to feel like the event is more casual when you know that half of the attendees are likely in pajama bottoms, but this is still a professional conference.

Make sure that you know your objectives and schedule ahead of time. Make the schedule accessible to everyone.

On your own time, go through the schedule to make sure that your timing is right and that you know what you’re going to say at any given time. The good thing about a virtual conference is that you can have notes, but don’t rely on them alone. 

Not Modifying Your Plans

You can’t expect that your virtual event is going to be the same as your in-person events. There are things that you aren’t capable of when you’re working online.

You won’t have the mixers, the smaller networking opportunities, or the ability to attend all day. No one wants to listen to a conference for 8 hours even if they’re willing to go to a day-long conference in person. 

Instead, make modifications. Cut down on the amount of information that you want to convey to the attendees. Consider encouraging breakout groups in separate chats so people are able to network with each other.

You aren’t mimicking the real-life event experience. You’re making changes to move it online. 

Make Your Next Online Event a Success

Avoid these mistakes next time you’re trying to plan an online event or host an online conference. There will be roadblocks even with the best planning (after all, this is new for everyone), but by avoiding these mistakes, you can make it great for all of your attendees.

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