Top tips from over 10,000 hours of event hosting experience.
The first thing you should know about hosting a virtual business event: it is rarely, if ever, about you. That said, while it does feel a bit strange to be writing about what we do (we being an award-winning team of virtual event hosts), here are some tips and tricks from well over 10,000 hours of presenting, introducing, questioning, occasionally padding, frequently summarising, and always enjoying ourselves.
Clarity and excitement
Explain what is going to happen over the next hour, 90 minutes, whatever – but don’t just read the agenda. If a host can be replaced by an Excel document, you’ve hired the Microsoft paperclip.
Attendees deserve to be reminded what this thing they’re at is all about and why being here is a great decision. They deserve to know who’s speaking and the benefits they’re bringing. And they deserve to know how to get the best event experience – should they mute themselves, is someone curating the chat for excellent questions, can they ask a question directly?
Be kind to future you
Current you is preparing to host a virtual business event. Future you is hosting a virtual business event. Be nice to your tomorrow self. Write a script or bullet point all housekeeping items, speaker names and job titles, interesting or fun facts, genius questions. Because future you might have a brain fart only current you can cover.
Look at the camera, remember the first 30 seconds
I don’t expect my business event host to have everything memorised. I don’t expect them to be world-class performer perfect – especially as they’ve probably got complex statistics and lengthy job titles to get right (hell hath no fury like a senior vice president shorn of seniority). But I do expect eye contact.
This is the advice I was given fifteen years ago, and it’s the advice I give to this day: look at your audience and remember the first 30 seconds. And after the 30 seconds, give yourself a reason to look at your notes. “We’ll be talking about… *checks notes*” “According to Gartner… *checks notes*”. You get the idea.
(And if you don’t get the idea, get an autocue).
Get out of your own way
In her brilliant book Bossypants, Tina Fey lists a load of rules learned from her time on Saturday Night Live. I’m shamelessly stealing one of them. If you have food on your face, people will spend the entire time you are on camera staring at the food on your face and not listening to what you have to say. Have a clean face. Don’t wear the pantomime horse outfit.
What you have to say is important. Let people focus on that.
Have some fun
Energy is infectious in a good way and if you’re having fun, there’s a much better chance your audience is too. I mean, don’t go full Berlin nightclub. But unlike funeral directors, this is a job you can (and should) look like you’re enjoying.
To learn more about how Jugo’s virtual event offering can help you to address the shifting virtual world, check out some more of our insights below.Back to resources