5 lessons we’ve learned from organizing our first ever webinar
2020 has been unconventional in many ways, forcing us all to reevaluate and reinvent the way we go about our days. From a professional standpoint, this has meant overcoming new challenges, reorganizing work tasks, and responding to new demands as the tides shifted towards a stronger online presence than we’ve ever experienced before.
The pandemic set the course for this year’s business meetings and conferences, which have moved almost exclusively into the online sphere. This proposed a challenge for many businesses that relied on face-to-face networking events to keep their partnerships on track. And while some fell victim to these restrictions and gave up on mingling with their clients, other firms adapted quickly to the new rules and were rewarded with immense success for their flexibility.
Our clients at MMV Rail Romania fall into the second category, as they reached out to us in the fall to help them organize a webinar, where they can get together with their current and potential clients and business partners, spend a few hours discussing the future of their industry and celebrate the company’s 5-year anniversary in the process. The event took place on the 10th of December and was an amazingly rewarding experience for our agency, as we were trusted with planning, organizing and curating the entire webinar from A to Z. Here are 5 key lessons we’ve learned in this process:
1. It’s never too early to start
While organizing a webinar might initially seem like a much easier task than putting together a real-life conference, it’s best to know upfront that the amount of work and energy you need to put into it is almost the same. Because of this, it’s best to start the entire process as early as possible, so you can have enough time to sort out the nitty-gritty details.
This rule also applies to the actual day of the event. People often think that once the script is written, the tech team is setting up and the speakers are arriving, there’s not much to do but relax and enjoy the excitement of preparation. But that’s not exactly the case. As main organizers, your job is to make sure that all aspects of the event run smoothly. From sending out newsletters to announce the link where your audience can connect to the conference to making sure that all the speakers and the moderator know exactly what to do, how to present and how to talk, these tasks all fall on your shoulders.
2. It’s better to opt for expert technical solutions, even if they are costly
The quality of an online conference largely depends on technical aspects. If the connection is poor, if the video is not displayed in real time, if the moderator cannot hear the speaker or if the audience only sees a pixelated, still image of someone who’s presenting, it all makes the entire conference seem amateurish and cheap. Reach out to someone who is an expert at providing optimum technical solutions for such specific requirements and invest in top quality services in this regard.
We partnered up with Designdropp Studio, who not only provided the necessary professional equipment, but also stayed proactive throughout the entire webinar, solving every minor hiccup we encountered along the way. We are extremely grateful for their professional services and can only recommend them to anyone looking for a team of professionals!
3. It’s advisable to do a complete simulation of the webinar beforehand
Test, test and test again! If it’s possible in any way, do a complete simulation of the entire thing, a few days before the actual event. This way all the participants will know exactly when they need to speak, how they can connect to the conference and what they need to do to share their presentations. The tech team can get to know the setting where the on-site presentations will take place and will familiarize themselves with the speaker list, to know exactly who will be speaking to the camera and who will be joining in from another city or country via videochat. Besides testing the equipment and the setting, you should also test the platform where the event will be hosted, to make sure that your membership plan supports the type of event you will be hosting. While this whole process might not seem necessary at first glance, it is a step of paramount importance which will ensure a successful online event on the actual day.
4. It’s important to prepare for unforeseen circumstances
You can plan, organize and test as much as you want, but the truth is, that things can still happen that are beyond your control. In the case of such online conferences, there can be minor disruptions due to poor internet connections, small technical glitches or other factors that can bring the flow of the event to a halt. If something like this happens, it’s best to be prepared and to react with a problem-solving mindset to the issue that occurs, instead of entering panic mode. Remember, you have an entire team to back you up and help you out if not everything goes to plan. So don’t hesitate to ask for a helping hand and make sure you have your team of professionals gathered around you, so they can jump in if the circumstances require it.
5. It’s the small details that separate an amateur online conference from a professional webinar
Sure, focusing on the big picture is important, but never overlook the special magic the small details can bring, especially to a conference that is broadcasted online. At the freight logistics conference of MMV Rail Romania we had a main “stage” set up for the speakers who managed to join us at the MMV headquarters. The organized setting, the lights and the microphones helped create a professional vibe, which transpired through the screens of the audiences. The short videos played in-between presentations contributed to smooth transitions. And the newsletters sent out as kind reminders once the online conference began brought in a dozen of audience members that initially didn’t click on the webinar’s link. So we found that going the extra mile was completely worth it!
While this was the first online conference we’ve organized, it will certainly not be our last. We had immense fun during the entire process, we managed to learn a lot along the way, and we are extremely proud of the end result. If you’re looking to partner up with someone to organize a special online event for your business, get in touch with our team at the Onlike Content Marketing Agency!