Updated: Nov 5, 2020
Thanks to Covid-19 and the uncertainties that came with it, the events and meetings industry has certainly been turned upside down. Organizations have begun to have doubts about scheduling in-person meetings, and some have canceled them altogether. It is too early to say whether such drastic steps are an overreaction or a sensible precaution. If nothing else, these decisions are made with the best of intentions. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the message of your meeting or event will be compromised. This begs the question – if you can’t host an event with a live audience, how can you share your message timely and safely?
Consider live streaming the event.
We are not suggesting that you hold meetings with a mobile device over an Internet connection. Your event is important and significant, and as such, your audience needs to be impressed and excited about your message. The people who are listening to what you have to say should be exposed to a live stream that is flawlessly executed. Virtual attendees should feel as if they’re actually in an elegant venue listening to a keynote speech.
Does this idea sound intriguing to you? Consider the following:
Put a Plan Together
As far as preparation goes, quality live streams necessitate that same type of coordination that a live event would. Technical aspects are the main priority in this case. The location and demographics of an audience will establish the amount of details and bandwidth you will need.
You will need to figure out what components will be required for your live stream, such as:
Cameras – do not rely on a single camera. You won’t be able to retain the audience’s attention, as they will only see your presentation from one angle.
Audio – will multiple speakers be on the panel or just one? Based on how many people are involved, audio settings for each presenter may differ.
Lighting – you won’t be able to retain an audience’s attention if they can’t see you!
Technology – when live-streaming your event, you will need a video encoder and switcher in order to manage multiple cameras, formats, and graphics correctly.
As far as promotion goes, it is imperative to treat live event streams no differently than you would an in-person live event. Your digital campaign should be customized to accommodate virtual attendees. Don’t be afraid to send out reminders by email. Post reminders on social media and your official website. Send another reminder before the live stream starts, too. If your audience requires assistance, make it easy for them to access technical support.
If possible, encourage virtual interaction through question and answer sessions. You can respond to each comment live during the event. Encourage the virtual audience to participate, not just watch.
Go Hybrid or Completely Virtual
The best part about a hybrid event may be an audience’s ability to learn all benefits presented to them. As such, you should do everything you can to engage with remote attendees. You may be wondering how you can go about doing so…
Monitor social media channels and view conversations. Encourage audience members to participate and make queries during the Q&A session.
Create at least one digital hangout that unites attendees of a live stream. This will allow audience members to talk about certain subjects, as well as virtually network with one another.
Presenters should acknowledge virtual attendees and engage with them.
A Virtual Presence Is Not Limited To Attendees
Other speakers can also be part of the presentation virtually. This is quite beneficial, as speakers will not have to leave their homes to deliver their message. With that said, speakers should be well-spoken and talk directly to the camera. This is something even the most experienced speakers will need to adjust to, as most are used to walking around on a stage, looking at various people in a room. Speakers are encouraged to use a technical team to accommodate this adjustment.
Don't Surprise Anyone
Rehearsing for a live stream presentation shouldn’t be neglected. Virtual presentations should be treated just like an in-person one, and that means speakers must rehearse. All aspects of the presentation should be tested out, and that entails checking equipment, the venue, and the content to be delivered. Any potential glitches should be isolated and rectified before you go live. The amount of bandwidth necessary must also be reviewed. In short, no detail should be overlooked. Live stream events are viewed on all sorts of devices, and as such, your feed should be easily visible on them all.
Create a Backup Plan Before Going Live
Anything you can control should be controlled. Malfunctions will happen from time to time. Having a backup method of broadcasting a live stream will go a long way. Having a second set of equipment necessary for the broadcast may prove to be a lifesaver, too.
Make a Copy
The live stream should be recorded and copied. Someone interested in the event might not have the ability to watch your presentation live. The recorded presentation – much like the live stream – must be memorable. The way you bring it to life must be flawless.
Health concerns about Covid-19 shouldn’t stop you from delivering your message. Sure, a live stream isn’t the same thing as talking to people in a room. However, just because you can’t speak to people in-person doesn’t mean your presentation needs to be canceled. By preparing for the presentation in advance, a live stream might actually end up being more effective, as far as delivering your message goes!