How to Structure a Virtual Video Conference?

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Virtual video Conference programs have always been an integral part of industry events. Like a physical conference, organizing an online or virtual video conference amidst the pandemic has become equally significant in all business spheres. 

However, planning online conferences has many different challenges. Attracting a vast audience and keeping them engaged is an important task that determines the success of an event. There are elements that a host must remember. Out of these many elements, the structure of an online conference program is a vital one. The function of a proper structuring process is to unite the whole event together. Before going any further, let’s first try and understand the importance of structure in a virtual video conference. 

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Importance of Structure a Virtual Video Conference

Any event, be it physical or virtual, requires a great deal of responsibility and planning. Conferences usually involve many participants and audiences with a specific pre-determined expectation in mind when they come to be a part of your event. As a host, it is your responsibility to fulfill your attendee’s expectations and make sure that they feel satisfied in the end, as it also determines your event’s success. 

The question is, how to keep your audience satisfied and engaged while sustaining the outcome as a host? This is where structure comes into a vital play. Every conference has to have a structure that pre-determines the flow of an online conference program. A good event structure does not only help in keeping the audience engaged but also in having a smooth flow of the conference while executing. All in all, structuring has both short and long-term advantages for the organization. 

Steps to Create an Effective Structure for Online Conference

Know Your Goal

The first step to planning the best structure for your online event is knowing what you’re doing and why. Acknowledging your goal behind organizing the conference with the specified agendas is very significant. To put it more simply, you can’t fulfill your audience’s expectations if you’re not aware of yours’. Also, deciding the flow of your event will become a difficult task if you don’t understand what you want out of the event.

Understand Your Target Audience

When you plan your conference and the content you want to include, it is very significant to understand the kind of audience you want to address. Understanding the audience will help you frame the content as you work on the structure. For example, knowing the type of audience you’re targeting will tell you about the kind of topics, themes, or formats they’re interested in.

Strategize Your Content Well

Strategizing the content goes hand in hand with understanding the target audience as it is all the participants and attendees you’re organizing your conference for. This step requires you to pre-define the type of content you want to share and present at your Virtual Conference

Dedicate Adequate Resources

Underestimating what’s involved is very easy. You should not only think in terms of capital but also time. There are so many people involved in the virtual video conference you organize, and they are dedicating their time and efforts. So, you have to minutely define all the roles and responsibilities and make sure nothing goes wrong. When it comes to virtual events, customer service requires even more attention. Also, deciding on these resources will further help you decide the structure accordingly.

Set Targets

Setting targets will help you understand what success looks like in the case of a virtual event. Your targets can include the number of registrations, vendors, sponsors, etc. Setting up metrics and targets can later help you in understanding the reach and success of your event. This step matters to define the structure as you can further choose the time durations, platform type & design, and the formats.

Keep the Sessions Short

It is important to understand that maintaining the engagement gets complicated if the sessions are long and tedious. The attendees lose interest in the online conference if you keep the event too long. Also, make sure you give proper breaks in between the sessions. 

After you have worked on these pre-determining steps, it’s time to work on structuring the conference. A basic online conference structure includes opening speeches, presentations, keynote sessions, webinars, product demos, and breakout sessions. However, it’s your goal that determines what will be included in your online conference. 

Let’s try to comprehend what importance each session format holds in your overall conference structure:

  1. An opening speech must be formal and direct, but you have to make sure that it’s not dull. An opening speech can determine your audience’s attention span from the very beginning is the very first session of your event
  2. The Keynote session can set the tone of your entire conference, so it’s significant to get it right. An excellent keynote speech sums up the idea or goal of your conference. Again, this, too, should not get tedious to the audience.
  3. Presentations can gain attention if they’re well-planned and designed. Your presentations should have educational content that informs. The information present in your presentations should be concise and entertaining for maximum retention.
  4. Webinars can add effectiveness to your conferences. If your online conference lasts for more than 3-4 days, including webinars in the structure can engage more audience. This motivates your participants to be involved as they are getting a chance to learn something on a specific topic. Providing separate certificates for these webinars can also engage more attendees.
  5. Product Demos are organized in a separate area in the virtual event platforms. These are an integral part in case of product launches or sponsored sessions. Online demos help in enhancing customer trust by trusting the product’s functionality in real-time.
  6. Breakout Sessions hold great importance in virtual events. Your attendees are always aspiring to connect and network with their possible allies. The interactive breakout rooms in virtual event platforms allow your participants to communicate and network.

 Tips to structure a Successful And Engaging Video Conference

  1. Make the conference day shorter than a normal working day, so your attendees don’t feel like your conference is consuming most of their day.
  2. Invite both national and international speakers to your conference. This is the best time to make use of the virtual sphere.
  3. Make sure that your sessions are not long and tedious.
  4. Vary the length of each session by its type. For example, A keynote session will be longer than the product demos.
  5. Offer your attendees a mix of session formats. Only presentations or keynotes, or webinars can get too boring. A combination of all the formats will keep the attendees engaged.
  6. Make sure that the sessions begin and end on time.
  7. Last but not least and probably the most important tip- Give Breaks! Short breaks into the session can give both the speaker and attendee a rest break, feel fresh and attentive.

Online conferencing has come a long way, and now we have ample options and tools to engage audiences and make the best out of our virtual event.

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Source@techsaa: Read more at: Technology Week Blog