By now, most of us have attended some kind of online event with a platform like Zoom or MS Teams. Whether it’s a meeting, conference or webinar, these platforms have made it easy for organisations and people to connect with each other online. However, managing an online event with Zoom or MS Teams isn’t as simple as sending out invitations and hoping for the best. From creating a compelling content program, overseeing technology, managing attendees and speakers, and keeping your agenda on track — managing an online event is a lot of hard work, especially if you don’t have the guidance of an experienced virtual event manager.
At Express Virtual Meetings, we’ve successfully managed countless online events for all types of businesses. So we asked our experts to come together and share some of their top tips for managing a successful and impactful online event.
What is a virtual event manager?
Let’s start by looking at what a virtual event manager does.
A virtual event manager has many of the same responsibilities as a traditional event manager who works with a venue and in-person attendees. Their job is to ensure that an event is well-prepared and runs smoothly, covering everything from the logistics, attendees, technology, and the agenda.
However, a virtual event manager takes these ‘real-life’ skills and applies them to virtual events such as a webinar, online conference, virtual AGM, or online trade show. This means that as well as being highly organised and having great people skills, they also have to be proficient in the video conferencing or virtual event platform that the event is being hosted through. Many people underestimate just how challenging the high-tech world of video conferencing can be, until they have to troubleshoot a technical issue during a live event themselves.
A virtual event manager is in charge of:
- The video conferencing or online event platform (such as Zoom or MS Teams)
- The registration process
- The event run sheet
- Managing speakers
- Facilitating Q&A sessions
- Tracking and providing post-event surveys and reporting
- Troubleshooting platform and internet connection issues as they arise
With a virtual event manager on top of everything that’s going on behind the scenes, presenters have more time to focus on delivering quality content. It also allows hosts and organisers to relax knowing their event will be seamless and professional.
Can I use Zoom or MS Teams to manage an online event?
You can! Both Zoom and MS Teams (as well as other lesser-known video conferencing platforms) have adapted and improved in the last two years to accommodate all types of online events. You can use Zoom or MS Teams to manage online events such as:
How do I manage an online event myself?
Theoretically, anyone can manage their own online event. All you need to get started is a virtual event or video conferencing platform like Zoom or MS Teams and ample time to prepare your content, practice your event and be confident troubleshooting any technical or connectivity difficulties. If this sounds like a lot of work, it is, but having an expert to support you can be a great option, whether you are a seasoned online event expert, or new to the world of online events.
Here are our expert tips for managing an online event yourself.
1. Choose the right platform for your event type
Not all platforms are created equal. Depending on the type of event you are managing, you’ll find that some platforms are more suited to your event than others. We suggest choosing the platform that you’re experienced and comfortable with. Some options include:
- MS Teams
Some virtual event managers offer their own video conferencing platform. This can be a great option if you’re not too concerned about which platform is used for your event. These platforms tend to have better data protection measures in place, as well as quality platform features.
2. Make use of the platform features
Both Zoom and MS Teams are packed with features that can help make the job of managing your online event easier. Make use of features such as:
- Q&A sessions
- Hand raising
- Ability to promote an attendee to ‘panellist’ so they can interact live
- Ability to customise the webinar registration page
- Webinar registration source tracking
3. Choose a confident host
Your event host will set the tone for your event, so choose someone who’s a confident speaker and has the time to practice beforehand.
4. Test your internet connection & technology
Don’t leave anything up to chance. We all know that the internet (and technology in general) has a nasty habit of playing up at the worst possible moment, and we’ve seen many people who try to self manage their online event succumb to technical difficulties that turn their event into a disaster.
Test your equipment and internet connection, and have someone who is tech-savvy with you throughout your event to troubleshoot any problems. At Express Virtual Meetings, we have backup infrastructure that allows speakers and attendees to dial in by phone if they drop off, as well as technical experts monitoring the event at all times. These are the types of measures you need to think about to ensure your own event runs smoothly.
5. Choose the right space for your online event
Even though your event is online, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about the venue space you and your speakers will be using. The last thing you want is for your speakers to be in a noisy environment or with an unprofessional backdrop behind them.
A simple backdrop with a plant, bookshelf or painting always works. It’s also best practice to use a headset with a microphone to minimise background noise. Set your expectations with your speakers well in advance so they have time to gather what they need and practice using their headsets.
6. Ensure your content delivers what you promised
It’s essential that your delivery matches the promises you make during the promotion of your event. Make sure the title and description of your event are clear and send out an agenda to attendees in advance, so they know what to expect on the big day.
7. Find ways to engage your audience
Your event host or moderator should set a friendly and relaxed tone, even if your online event is a serious occasion such as a virtual AGM or town hall meeting. It’s harder to hold people’s attention in an online setting but a friendly tone will help the audience engage with what your speakers have to say.
Can someone manage my event for me on Zoom or MS Teams?
We’ve probably made it sound like managing your own event with Zoom or MS Teams is easy, but the truth is, if you want to ensure that your online event is professional, effective and pain-free, it’s recommended that you bring in the help of a professional virtual event manager. It’s their job to set you up for success by managing everything from writing the dialogue, emceeing your event, managing your audience, facilitating Q&A sessions, managing the technology, and ensuring the seamless delivery of your event.
This gives you the opportunity to focus on creating great content without distraction. It also means you’ll have a professional tech support team overseeing your event so that any problems with your technology or internet connectivity can be addressed with minimal disruption to your online event.
A good virtual event manager can work with a variety of platforms such as Zoom, MS Teams and more.
How much do virtual event managers charge?
Virtual event managers will charge based on the type of event you’re hosting and factors such as whether your event is 100% online or a hybrid event (where a live event is broadcast to an online audience).
The value of having a virtual event manager by your side is endless. As well as being highly experienced in managing events just like yours, there’s the peace of mind you receive knowing that your event is in the hands of a professional who will make it the best that it can be. It also means you’ll have time to focus on other important tasks you couldn’t get to if you had to manage your online event yourself.
Having support from a professional who is highly experienced in managing the technical aspect of your event is also invaluable.
Can I ensure my Zoom or MS Teams online event is secure?
Some organisations worry that Zoom or MS Teams won’t be a secure platform for hosting their event. This is why seeking the help of a professional virtual event manager can be really important. They’ll set up your event so that it is as secure as possible, using tools like event registration and attendee monitoring.
Platforms like Zoom and MS Teams have made connecting with each other online relatively simple. However, if you want to host an online event, things can get a little trickier. To ensure that your online event is effective, secure and pain-free, we recommend that you reach out to a virtual event manager who can be there by your side throughout the process.
At Express Virtual Meetings, our friendly and highly experienced virtual event managers are ready to help turn your next online event into a great success. As well as being 100% Australian owned, we’ve helped some of the biggest organisations in the country with their online events.