Virtual Event Planning: 1-2 Weeks to A Few Days Prior [3/4]
As the event draws ever nearer, you may think your list of tasks is coming to an end. In fact, some of the more crucial tasks happen between 2 weeks out, to just the day before the event. During this time, you will need to communicate specifics about your event which will help you encourage ticket sales or registrations and give your attendees the confidence to know how to join your event and what to expect. Therefore, by this point you should really have your agenda nailed down. If you haven’t, take a look at out our previous article about what tasks need to be done from 1-2 months out (or, if you’re further out still take a look at this article here).
So, what is it that needs to be done in the final weeks leading up to the event? Read on to find out.
1-2 weeks out
Go over the final details
You’ve spent a lot of time planning in the earlier months, which should make these final weeks easier on you. Now is the perfect time to ensure your agenda is consolidated and up to date anywhere where this information is available, for example on your website and in your marketing collateral. Make sure your social accounts are up to date with the correct date and time as well as a brief overview of what can be expected, for example what format your attendees should prepare themselves for.
You should have made an estimated budget, which should be running alongside your actual costs. 1-2 weeks out is an ideal time to make sure that your finances are in order. Have you paid all due invoices?
These final few weeks can be where the costs can be overlooked as more of a focus is on getting the event finalised and ready to go. However, this can be a dangerous game and one we don’t recommend you play! Make sure you’ve got one eye on the budget making sure you’re not in for any nasty surprises after your event.
By now your audience should know exactly how to access your event via your chosen platform. Don’t forget, this may be the first time some of your audience members have experienced a virtual or hybrid event, so it’s important to keep things really clear and concise when it comes to joining instructions. Make sure any social accounts are being monitored to answer any questions your audience may have around joining and the event in general.
Hold a Staff Meeting
Whilst it’s a good idea to hold staff meetings throughout, the staff meeting you hold at this point in the timeline will be crucial. Make sure all staff know what is expected of them from now until after the event. Everyone should have a clear-cut role assigned to them and each member of staff should know what is expected of them during the event as well as the final lead up. This is especially true when it comes to your speakers. Make sure any speakers within your staff not only know what to say and when to say it, but just as important, make sure they know who to hand over to when presenting.
Make sure none of your staff members have any challenges which they are facing alone. Communication is key at this point especially.
Doing this at 1-2 weeks allows contingency for any issues that should arise, as undoubtedly there will be a few hiccups or minor setbacks along the way. However, if you’ve planned your timeline correctly, there should be plenty of time to put right anything that may need extra attention.
As you draw closer to the event and have a clear understanding of what equipment and software you need, this is an excellent time to review your cybersecurity, especially if your event is a corporate event handling confidential content. This is why we recommend having a tech team on hand to ensure your platforms are secure, not only to reassure you of your cybersecurity in the first instance, but to monitor it throughout. Increasing security will also increase your piece of mind. There really should be no skipping this off the checklist!
A Few Days Prior
Your event is so close you can almost taste it! All of your hard work and diligent planning is about to pay off. By now the nerves might be setting in a little bit, but the best way to combat pre-event jitters is to ensure you are as well-equipped as you can be. The last couple of tasks to do before your event are very important and deserve full care and attention.
Test Your Equipment
Perhaps one of the most valuable tips we can give you… Check. Your. Equipment! Make sure your tech team have set-up and are testing all equipment that will be used both virtually and on the day in the physical venue. Last minute checks can mitigate the possibility of running into trouble on the day, but it can’t completely eliminate it! As we’ve said before, it’s always best to have a dedicated, knowledgeable tech team on standby to rescue you should any of the tech fail you. Not only can they get you back up and running, but any good team can help with the flow of the event whilst they fix any issues using pre-recorded content.
Confirm times with staff and speakers
If you are hosting a conference or virtual exhibition, chances are you have a lot of moving parts. Some of those moving parts will consist of speakers, and if you’ve done your homework, some very exciting speakers at that!
When you have a high number of speakers it can be a challenge to ensure everyone knows when they’re speaking and ‘where’ (in a virtual sense). Without thorough preparation, one misplaced speaker can have a great affect on the flow of your event – it can be quite uncomfortable for your attendees to sit through an extended silence whilst you try to work out who should be where.
It’s important to check in with your speakers a few days before to make sure they know their role and what is expected of them – for example, will they be required to take a round of Q&A. All of this will help with the overall smooth running of the event itself.
Is there anything you’ve forgotten?
It might seem like the impossible question – after all, how can you remember what you have forgotten? – but now is the time to check that you’ve crossed off everything on your to-do list. Make a final list that must be finished before the big day and work on getting these done as a matter of priority.
If it seems like a lot of hard work, that’s because it is. Creating an event which flows naturally and allows the audience to forget they’re not physically together can take finesse, experience, and careful consideration. Why not take a look at our Planning Timeline Infographic for an overview on all planning activities?
If you need additional support with your online event, whether it’s wholly virtual or hybrid, UKSV can help you with a number of support packages bespoke to you and your event needs.