Introduction:

"Virtual events will not only help you reduce your carbon footprint, they also allow you to increase the reach of your message across the organization" - Five Challenges of Virtual Events, Workz

After months of hard work and planning, the day has finally arrived. The day of your virtual conference.

Virtual conferences are set to take over from traditional, real-life trade shows and conferences. 

Why? 

Cost for one. According to technology company ON24 founder, Sharat Sharan: 

"One of our biggest technology clients had a sales meeting earlier this year where they generally spend $5m (£3.2m). They spent a tenth of that by holding a virtual conference" - Rise of the virtual conference, BBC News

Think about the cost savings you could make by running your conference remotely; you wouldn't need to fork out for hotel rooms, airfares, meals, and conference space.

Talking of airfares, this is another reason to go digital with your conference.

Virtual conferences reduce the carbon footprint by removing the need for attendees, hosts, speakers, and the conference team to travel to the conference venue.  

But perhaps one of the biggest benefits of running a virtual conference is the opportunity it brings to reach a wider, global audience. Everyone, no matter where they are in the world can attend your conference. 

However, despite these significant benefits, virtual conferences are sometimes harder to run than traditional conferences.

You have to work harder to create engagement opportunities and keep your attendees from zoning out and turning off. Not to mention the potential technical hiccups and having to manage a variety of speakers, hosts, and team members who are perhaps located in several parts of the world. 

To make sure your conference goes as smoothly as possible on the day, and your audience remains engaged throughout, Process Street has created this running a virtual conference checklist.

This checklist will make sure your team knows exactly what they're doing, the speakers and hosts are ready to go, each session starts on time and goes without a hitch, your technical equipment works, and your attendees have the best experience.  

Who is Process Street? 

Process Street is super-powered checklists. It’s the easiest way to manage your recurring tasks, procedures, and workflows. 

Create a template and run individual checklists for each member of your team.

Check tasks off as you work through them, set deadlines, add approvalsassign tasks, and track each team member's progress

You can also connect to thousands of Apps through Zapier and automate your workflows even more.

Enter checklist details

Enter the checklist details by filling out the below fields.

This will allow the conference planning team, or internal stakeholders, to pick up this process and know who to contact if they have any questions. 

Confirm conference details

Confirm the details of the conference in the fields below.

Before the Conference:

Arrange a group call with the planning team

Arrange a group call with the planning team to discuss the details of the conference one final time.

Run-through the following and make sure everyone knows what their responsibilities are: 

The top-level conference plan: {{form.Conference_plan/summary}}

Who will be hosting the conference: {{form.Host_name}}

Who will be speaking at the conference: {{form.Speakers}}

Who is sponsoring the conference: {{form.Sponsors}}

The order of events: {{form.Conference_schedule}}

The number of attendees: {{form.Confirmed_number_of_attendees}}

Who to contact with technical issues: {{form.IT_support_contact}}

Who to contact for customer service support {{form.Customer_service_contact}}

Who to contact with marketing questions: {{form.Marketing_support_contact}}

Go through everything with a fine-tooth comb!

Arrange a call with IT, marketing & customer service reps

Contact {{form.IT_support_contact}}, {{form.Customer_service_contact}}, and {{form.Marketing_support_contact}} to make sure they're on stand-by to support if there are any issues during the conference. 

Make sure they have access to all the communication channels that you're using for the conference. 

Arrange a 5 min call with the host

Discuss the details of the conference one last time with the host to make sure they know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it.

The top-level conference plan: {{form.Conference_plan/summary}}

Who will be speaking at the conference: {{form.Speakers}}

Who is sponsoring the conference: {{form.Sponsors}}

The order of events: {{form.Conference_schedule}}

The number of attendees: {{form.Confirmed_number_of_attendees}}

Remind them to contact you immediately if they have any technical issues 

Arrange a 5 min call with each speaker

As you've done with the host, discuss the details of the conference one last time with each speaker, to make sure they know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it.

The top-level conference plan: {{form.Conference_plan/summary}}

Who the other speakers are: {{form.Speakers}}

Who the host is: {{form.Host_name}}

Who is sponsoring the conference: {{form.Sponsors}}

The order of events: {{form.Conference_schedule}}

The number of attendees: {{form.Confirmed_number_of_attendees}}

Remind them to contact you immediately if they have any technical issues 

Check your virtual streaming

Check your virtual streaming platform is working as it should. Answer these questions to confirm. 

Contact IT

Contact {{form.IT_support_contact}} ASAP to resolve any issues!

Check your communication channels

Check all your communication channels/interaction tools to make sure they are set-up, working as expected, and ready to go.

Answer the below questions to confirm. 

Check equipment, platforms, tools, and browsers

Software and hardware come out with updates for a reason, these updates ensure that your product is operating smoothly, secure, and bug-free. 

Sometimes, if you’ve neglected to update the hardware or software to the most recent version, problems can arise, and the product won’t function properly. 

Check your products against manufacturer resources to ensure that they are updated. 

Check the content is ready to go

Do a quick dry test to make sure the content looks as it should and is in the right order.

This is the order of events: 

{{form.Conference_schedule}}

Answer these questions to confirm all is in order. 

During the Conference:

Open the conference early

Try to open the conference 15-30 minutes early so you feel ready and people can join early if they wish. 

While you're waiting for the attendees to arrive, run through the following list: 

  • 1
    Ask all speakers, hosts and team members if they're present and ready
  • 2
    Re-test audio and visuals and equipment
  • 3
    Re-check content is queued up correctly
  • 4
    Make sure all distracting applications like emails, slack are shut down
  • 5
    Open up the attendee communication channel/room/group so guests can start to network
  • 6
    Play some welcome music
  • 7
    Make sure the conference agenda is visible
  • 8
    Start recording

Prepare for potential issues

No matter how much you plan, there will undoubtedly be some hiccups during your conference, so it's best to be as prepared as you can. 

If there any unforeseen issues, use this process for troubleshooting virtual conference issues checklist to help you identify the problem and contact the right member of the team to help you fix it ASAP.

Start each session

Now the conference is underway, there might be some activities and tasks for you to do.

These might include: 

  • 1
    Start every session 15 minutes earlier to triple check the device and network
  • 2
    Mute/unmute and disable/enable video streams of host and speakers accordingly
  • 3
    Collect and moderate online Q&A
  • 4
    Answer any questions from the speakers, host, and attendees
  • 5
    Monitor and post on social media

After the Conference:

Thank your team, the host, speakers, and attendees

Thank your team (including your support contacts), the host, speakers, and sponsors for all their hard work and their contributions to making the conference a success. 

It's also important to send a post-conference email to attendees immediately after the conference has closed to thank them for coming and to let them know where and how they can access any of the conference materials.

It's also a great chance to answer any questions they might have, such as ''When is the next one?!" and also get feedback from them, which is the next task!

Collect feedback

Congratulations! You've made it to the end of your conference!

Now it's time to see what your host, speakers and attendees thought of your conference.

Post-event surveys are a great way to learn about the success of your conference, where improvements can be made, and suggestions attendees may have for the future.

Here are some questions you may want to ask in your survey: 

  • Please rate your overall experience
  • Please rate your satisfaction with the host
  • Please rate your satisfaction with the speakers
  • Please rate the quality of the content 
  • What are some aspects we can improve upon for next year?
  • How satisfied were you with the virtual networking opportunities?
  • How easy was the overall accessibility?
  • How easy was it to navigate the virtual event platform?
  • What were your favorite experiences or moments?
  • What topics would you like to see covered in future conferences?
  • Do you have any other suggestions or feedback you would like to share?

Sources:

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