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Top Five Mistakes When Planning Your Virtual Event

These are the most common mistakes event managers, speakers and companies make when putting on virtual events…

Jugo’s parent company, GDS Group, organizes around 100 hours of virtual events for senior business executives every working week (we even have a podcast about what we learn from these immersive experiences). Unsurprisingly, we’re all obsessed with this new digital frontier and the increased opportunities for shared learning that virtual event experiences can deliver.

But you should note the “can”. Because event people talk, and we’re hearing some scary stories from industry folk, speakers and sponsors about putting on, attending and presenting at virtual events.

Here’s a handy list of the top five mistakes other people have made, so you don’t have to…

Crickets/tumbleweed. Avoid silence.

Audience interaction is the holy grail for shared learning, which is (or should be) the holy grail of the business event. Silence is very much NOT golden.

Virtual events can offer a range of tools to help create and drive interaction – but just having a tool doesn’t mean your audience will use it. Interaction happens by design. Every session you create should encourage dialogue. And every signal you send should let the audience know they can get involved.

For example, if you’re going to run a poll, talk about it afterwards, and have something to say. If you poll the audience and gloss over the results or – worse? – respond with banalities (‘yes, very interesting, but as I was going to say…’), you’re letting them know you’re on broadcast, not receive. And they won’t forget.

Poor speaker briefing

Webcams are unforgiving things and most virtual events make liberal use of them. Is your speaker obviously reading from notes? Looking off screen? Sitting in front of a bright window? This is the fault of whoever briefed them.

Virtual event briefings are more complex, not less, than briefing for physical events. Because you have all the usual information to impart (what is the event about, how does your presentation fit in to that story, how long, tone of voice, etc.), plus the format-specific stuff. Be prepared to spend some time, be patient, create a handy how-to.

Bad storytelling

We’ve noted with genuine interest how much less patience virtual audiences have for events that lack coherent narrative. We don’t know exactly why; we do have a working theory… Virtual events happen on screens. We think they are being held to the much higher storytelling standards of the other media we consume on screens, television, games, etc.

You may have your own theory, and we’d love to hear it. Either way, your event must tell a compelling story, from start to finish. And every component should fit into that story – or your audience will perceive a lack of care and consideration.

Wrong platform choice

Jugo is an immersive virtual event platform. You would expect us to believe that platform choice is a top consideration. But you’d be wrong.

It’s not just a top consideration. It’s vital to your event’s success.

For us, the key is that word “immersive”. Does the event environment work brilliantly? Are the interactivity tools where I would expect them to be, when I would expect them to be (don’t ask me to click out of a room to talk with someone in the room)? Can I ask questions quickly and easily? Can I ask them in person or via chat? Does it look good? Does it sound good? Is it a fun place to hang out for a few hours?

It’s 2022. Would you launch a product via beeper and fax? Exactly.

Always ask an end user

Are you going to talk about your product? Stop and ask: can an end user talk about the product instead? Lovely. That’s 90% of boring sessions sorted.

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.

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