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As often happen in in-person events, online events suffer when processes don’t go according to plan.

The difference is, in-person events have the benefit of people who can coordinate together in real-time and pull off a ‘save,’ often seamlessly. On the other hand, online events are produced by people distributed over distance and who don’t have total control over the environment.

Case in point, Mark Zuckerberg’s late appearance at the Senate hearing on October 28, 2020.

One can hardly say of the media heavyweight that he is unfamiliar with tech or that he was unprepared. His appearance was delayed due in large part to elements outside of his and the Senate’s control. This is a prime example of how online events are impacted by forces outside of a producer, or host’s, control.

What makes or breaks an event today is not bandwidth or connectivity; it is preparedness and forethought. It is the ability to shift gracefully, remain calm, follow a process, and stay focused on the result you want to achieve. It might be entertainment, education, creating connections, or delivering a message; the critical part is that your audience leaves with something of value.

That “something” that makes an event worth the money and time is the producer’s ability to deliver high-quality content by falling back on their education and a well-devised plan.

This is where internal communications become critical. By preparing for the event, beyond the marketing and speaker prep, and creating crisis management plans, the team behind the scenes (and if you have an emcee, the team extends to the front of the ‘house’) will know what to do when problems arise.

Here are a few scenarios to work through in advance of your next event:

  • Your attendees, or your speakers, have not updated to the latest version of the hosting platform, and they can’t watch or present properly.
  • A major server failure impacts your platform, and it either won’t function or is buggy enough to disrupt the entire event.
  • Your platform is unfamiliar to your speakers and/or your audience.
  • Your featured speaker loses connectivity and cannot participate.
  • Your production and administration teams act as firefighters, and nobody knows who is tending to what issue.

As you plan your 2021 conference, do you know how your team will manage the above challenges if they occur during your sessions? Has the team run drills to create muscle memory and inter-disciplinary knowledge if they need to cover for each other? Have you created a workflow of step-by-step actions to take, assigning responsibilities to each player?

Internal communications focus on the What, Where, When, and How of information sharing. When creating a plan and preparing the team to work seamlessly, it makes sense to engage in process development in a way that anticipates crises and builds contingencies.

For solutions to the scenarios above, tips for more engaging online events, and expert advice from A to Z in online event production, attend the Mitigating Virtual Event Failure workshop, April 8 & 9, 2021.  

This 2-day event features experts in Zoom production, emcee responsibilities, administrative production support, internal communications, and workflow mapping. Included is a powerhouse panel discussing case studies of migrating national education programs to online platforms, large scale multi-thousand attendee events, and more.

Speakers include:

Robbie Samuels - Executive Zoom Producer, TEDx Speaker

Mike Klein - Internal Communications

Craig Willis - CEO, SKORE Online Process Mapping

Phylecia Jones - Emcee & Host, TEDx Speaker

Genevieve Rafla - Director of Communications, Upside Travel

Rachel Koretsky - DC Startup Week Lead Organizer, Founder of Upace

Zachary Taylor - Dir. of Continuing Education, Psychotherapy Networker & PESI

Ashley Nicholes - Executive Virtual Assistant & Production Support

Kyle Walbrun - Founder, EfficientAide

For more information, follow #MVEFWorkshop on social media, or visit Eventbrite.

About Lizabeth Wesely-Casella

Lizabeth Wesely-Casella is an internal communications corporate trainer and process improvement specialist. Her work has contributed to national health program restructuring, and she has helped businesses worldwide increase efficiency while improving staff experience.Lizabeth is an entertaining and informative speaker who shares actionable information with her audiences. To book Lizabeth for your event or podcast, visit her Speaking page.

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