Despite the hype surrounding online conferences, many event managers still do not find them an easy replacement to live events. Online event risks are proving hard to navigate. Notwithstanding the recent spike in demand for digital conferences, many event organisers are struggling with the technicalities involved in organising the events. For instance, the technology lacks critical areas like engagement, not to mention the video glitches that could bring an entire conference to an abrupt halt.
While online event challenges are unavoidable, organisers can anticipate them and find solutions or come up with backup plans before the event. Read on for insights on the significant online conference risks and their solutions.
Mitigate Online Event Risks by Preparing for Tech Difficulties
Technical glitches are the leading online event risks. The visuals and video files could fail, or the audio could become unstable, bringing the event to a halt. However, if you prepare for the problems, you can fix them promptly and continue with the conference.
With in-person events, you must test the audio tools and internet availability. The same applies to digital experiences; before kicking things off, check all the tools and internet connectivity, and have your keynote speakers do the same. You can run a rehearsal with the speakers and a few participants to identify potential problems. Backup files and visuals will also come in handy if a file goes missing or is corrupted during the event.
Not all your online conference attendees are tech-savvy. Therefore, prepare how-to guides to help them set-up and get ready for the session. Many meeting planners also organise resources to provide technical support. If you can anticipate possible trouble when accessing the platform, you can prepare guides and FAQs to assist attendees.
Choose a Suitable Online Event Platform
When hosting an online meeting, choosing the right platform is critical. Many risks of digital events stem from using the wrong platform. With the current diverse technologies, you can find numerous programmes in the digital space with lucrative features. However, some of the features are not necessary for hosting the event. Therefore, during the planning process, you should create a checklist of the things you need for a successful conference. For instance, does the platform have tracking tools for monitoring your audience’s behaviour? Can you control the flow of the sessions and mute attendees who cause interruptions? Does it provide networking opportunities?
A good platform should incorporate video and streaming sessions and offer audience engagement opportunities. Conferencing software with gaming features and live chats can improve networking. However, ensure your audience can comfortably use the platform by providing onboarding sessions.
Create a Framework for the Event
Online conferences can quickly dissipate into chaos. People can start talking over each other, or the background noises can be a significant distraction. Such interruptions derail the purpose of the event, and it loses its direction real quick. For your event to run smoothly, you should create an order of events that includes a keynote speaker, a few breaks and a Q&A session.
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While you should encourage the attendees to be active, make it clear that you will not tolerate abusive and insensitive remarks. When the speaker makes a presentation, mute the audience to avoid interruptions caused by unnecessary remarks and background noises. During the presentations, allow the audience to channel their comments and questions in real-time through the live chat platform.
Avoid Infrastructural Limitations
Just like face to face events, digital conferences require a team effort to ensure they run smoothly. Some of the responsibilities you need to undertake during the conference planning include content preparation, social media marketing, finding keynote speakers, and putting together the technical infrastructure. The best move is to delegate event planning functions to expert meeting planners. They will take care of the planning process and provide contingency plans in case of online conference challenges. Besides, event planners have access to various vendors, and they can assist in promoting the online conference.
Gain Experience Before Hosting the First Conference
Planning a live event like a trade show or association meeting is different from online conference planning. If you are inexperienced in the digital space, learn the ropes from experts in the field. Inexperience can lead to costly mistakes, and the audience may not be very forgiving. Seeking guidance from expert event planners will help you avoid potential online conference risks. Therefore, participate in other events or find a Professional Conference Organiser that can guide the process.
While in 2020 online events are replacing in-person conferences in the meetings industry, the challenges of hosting successful online conferences are increasing. Therefore, conference organisers should plan for the potential risks and develop protocols to help mitigate them. The above solutions can help you tackle the online conference risks during event planning and provide your audience with the best experience. Contact us for professional assistance for your next online event or conference.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings, including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.