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Can you still create an engaging experience when IRL is not an option?
Cancel everything has become the motto across Europe, and for good reason. We teamed with France 24 Correspondent Dave Keating for a live chat over how to take events virtual in the best possible way. Catch the full replay of our live session and right-click to save some handy checklists as images.
Cut your long agenda down to only the most essential components. Aim for 2 hours, 3 if you must. Think about how to tweak the format of each session, preferably together with the event host who will have to make each session work. Also if possible, you will still want some people physically there. Try to fill your panels with people who can actually be there. Trying to dial in 4 panelists remotely will likely devolve into a basic conf call and will lean too heavily on the tech and internet to work wherever your panelists are.
Moderators are great at what they do, but keeping people engaged when they are sitting at their desks and have a thousand distractions at their finger prints is no easy task This person needs to do very heavy lifting in keeping the event alive. What you are doing should be less “classic panel discussion” and more "live television.”
We think multi-camera livestreaming is a must. In a provider, look for at least a 2-person crew to ensure one can troubleshoot while the other films, a team with the ability to offer internet bandwidth required to keep things streaming smoothly. Make sure you've got at least a two-camera set up to offer a change of perspective to your deskbound audience, possibly with one handheld to allow host to engage with audience in a closer way.
Look for a platform that fits your needs and your budget (not as easy as you might think). We recommend Webinar Jam, Glisser, Slido or Vimeo Live, all of which offer reliable connections and moderated Q&A options. Speaking of Q&A: don't forget to assign someone the role of Q&A moderator as your main host/moderator likely won't be able to keep the show exciting while watching questions pour in. Also, it's never a bad idea to have a few canned questions ready in case your audience takes a bathroom break all at once.
You need to clearly communicate what this is and how it’s going to work to get people signed up to tune in. Don’t be nervous about over-communicating in the run-up to the event. Hold people by the hand so they understand how to make the most of this experience.
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