Not too long ago, a ‘virtual event’ might have seemed unnecessary or even futuristic to some. But, as those in any event industry can vouch for, no amount of planning can predict certain setbacks like, say, a global pandemic for example. In these turbulent times it’s important to remain flexible and be willing to adapt to new ways of connecting with others, including your employees, colleagues and clients. With a variety of user-friendly ways to host virtual meetings or events, losing touch because you or your business is not yet ‘online’ is no longer an excuse.

What is a Virtual Event?

If you have used platforms like Skype to call a family member who lives far away, then you are already familiar with the concept. A virtual event is any organised meet-up that takes place online and ranges from a small Q&A session to large-scale business meetings or conferences with thousands of attendees. Hosting online webinars has some direct benefits, allowing you to reach more people, reducing expenses like travel, vendors and venues and additional online tools that help to keep the conversations going.

Choose the most Suitable Technology

Depending on the aim or goals of your virtual event, you’ll need to decide which hosting format will work best. Webinars are a great option when hosting an online presentation that is held in real-time but can also be shared and viewed afterwards. A presenter can share their screen while going through slides or demos and participants can ask questions by voice or through a chat feed if the presenter allows this option. Some examples of these platforms are Crowdcast, Zoom and Demio.

For more formal virtual events such as conferences and networking, there are platforms that offer suites of tools that include livestreaming, chatrooms and more such as 6connex, Hop In and Run the World

Tips for Hosting your Virtual Events

To keep things running as smoothly as possible it’s important to have a strategy in place. Ask yourself questions like, ‘what is the aim of the webinar?’, ‘Where do I want the content to be seen?’ ‘What are the outcomes I’d like to achieve from this?’ and so on.

Choose the right time to host the webinar. Make sure there are no competing events or holidays that may interfere with attendance. If you are expecting people from other countries to attend, be mindful of time zones.

Remember to share the details of the webinar in advance and make the objectives and goals clear so that the attendees know what to expect and what information they may need to present, if necessary.

Be prepared for any technical errors or glitches that may occur. Test your internet connection, audio settings and prepare backups of visuals and presentations in case a file decides to self-destruct or disappear. Not everyone is tech savvy so ensure enough time for all attendees to log in.

Encouraging engagement is important because it’s easy for attendees to get distracted or ‘zone out’ during a webinar. Take requests or suggestions and create an interactive environment for attendees.

Hosting a webinar or online event has become easier than ever before and is a great tool to use for staying in touch for business-related purposes. At DIGA, we’re already ahead of the online business game, having offered online accounting and bookkeeping services for many years. If you’d like to get in touch, please contact us at info@diga.co.za