Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing

Virtual Events

Organizing and Planning Your Event

  • What is your goal?
  • What is your timeline?
  • Who is your audience?
    • Define your invitation list. What is the anticipated number of attendees? Keep in mind that event participation has gone up with virtual events, as barriers such as travel have been removed.

Establishing Team Roles

When planning a virtual event, be sure to consider the following roles with your team. And, just like an in-person event, prepare for a variety of worst-case scenarios.

  • Producer/Event Manager- Who will create the run of show for the event? This person will receive questions about the event flow.
  • Technology manager- Who will be in charge of the technology aspects of the event? Will you do technology checks with presenters to identify any issues, offer suggestions on lighting/microphones/internet connections? Who will share screen, manage any transitions?
  • Social Media- Are you planning to promote the event on social media? Who will moderate chats during the live event?
  • Emcee- Who will begin your event and introduce any speakers?

Deciding on a Technology Platform

Consider what technology platform will help you best accomplish your goals.

Creating a Show Flow

Outline what your event will entail. Be specific!

Introductions

  • If the event is a smaller, more intimate gathering, introduce all in attendance.
  • If the event is larger event that may not allow time for introductions of all attendees, introduce key participants.

Overview

  • Provide a brief explanation of how the event will progress and provide any necessary details so attendees are aware of breakouts. This allows guests to prepare to be on camera.
  • Offer an approximate time line for the event.  Include time allotted for smaller breakout  and Q&A sessions.

Maximizing Accessibility

If you plan to provide live and/or prerecorded meetings, programs and events, you must consider digital accessibility.

Inviting Attendees

Make sure your audience is aware of the event details, including the technology platform that you’ll be utilizing.

Emphasize start time of the event and include time zones (CT, ET, etc.).

Considering Marketing and Promotion

Think about how you will further share and promote your event.

If you are using Zoom, do NOT share your personal Meeting ID, passcode, or the direct link to join your meeting on the Illinois calendar, social media or any other publicly viewable location. Set up registration in Zoom if you need to share your event publicly. You can manage who is able to attend your event, and each attendee will receive their own direct link to join.

Preparing and Practicing

Prior to your event, run through your show flow with relevant staff members and, if possible, any special guests. Be sure to account for the following situations:

  • Muting and unmuting
  • Screen sharing
  • Presentation slides
  • Poll administration
  • Chat threads and monitoring
  • Technical issues

The list of questions below can help to make sure you are prepared:

  • “How do I access the virtual sessions?”
  • “How do I find my login credentials?”
  • “Do I need to download video conferencing software? If so, how do I download it?”
  • “Will this session be recorded? If so, how do I access recordings after the live session is over?”
  • “I can’t hear/see the speaker. How do I fix this?”
  • “Other participants can’t hear/see me. How do I fix this?”
  • “How do I ask a question to the speaker/panel?”
  • “How do I improve the quality of my connection?”

Producing Your Event

On the day of your event, sign in early to confirm technology settings, controls and the video/audio connection.

Invite other colleagues who are attending the event to log in early to make sure attendees are in the correct zoom meeting. If there are issues, these staff may be able to follow up through other communication channels with important guests.

Evaluating Takeaways

Evaluate takeaways from hosting your virtual event and follow up with attendees to share recordings or resources. If possible, solicit feedback from attendees to help plan future events.

Follow-up with a thank you message from the event organizers with links to any information that may have been requested or promised (recordings, photos, surveys, etc.).