How Attendees Can Best Prepare for a Virtual Event
Have an upcoming virtual conference on the calendar? Me too! Coming from someone who jumped hard into virtual events once the pandemic started, I know firsthand that it can be tricky to know just how to prepare. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way since then—and now, with more than 200 virtual events under my belt, I’m ready to help you prepare for your next virtual conference.
That’s right: The same virtual event that’s currently giving you the pre-conference jitters is likely the same type of event I’ve hosted as a virtual event emcee dozens of times over the past 18 months. Throughout that time, I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks, like how to properly prepare the night before and what I will need on the day of to stay focused.
If you’re curious about how to attend a virtual conference in 2021 in beyond, strap in for the ten best practices for digital events, as told by a virtual event emcee.
1. Block Off Your Calendar
Tip number one? Treat attending a virtual conference the same way you would an in-person conference. That means fully blocking out your calendar the day of the virtual event. After all, you don’t want emails or spur-of-the-moment meeting invites popping up and distracting you! So, go ahead and mark yourself as unavailable or out of office (OoO) for the duration of the event.
2. Review the Given Agenda
Once you’ve officially cleared your calendar for a virtual event, take the time to review the conference agenda. Trust me, you’ll want to head straight into the event platform on the day of and won’t want to miss the start of a session because you were too busy scanning the details. Plus, you might realize you’re not that interested in the afternoon keynote and can plan to use that time to grab lunch or hang with the family instead.
3. Explore the Event Platform
There are countless options for virtual conferences these days, and as a virtual event emcee, I’ve seen them all. Unfortunately, not all are easy to navigate as a simple platform like Zoom. So, after you review the conference agenda, go ahead and explore the actual event platform. Locate key elements like the chat feature and muting/unmuting feature to set yourself up for success.
4. Download the Conference App
Of course, we can’t talk about how to attend a virtual conference—or any conference for that matter!—without talking about the conference app. An app goes beyond a basic agenda to provide more details about the various keynote speakers, entertainers, and event sponsors. It’s helpful to get to know more about these details before tuning into the actual event content.
5. Designate Your Virtual Event Area
As a virtual event emcee, you better believe I have a robust virtual home studio ready to go at a moment’s notice! However, I understand that most virtual event attendees don’t have that same luxury. If you don’t have a home office space, be sure to designate an area you’ll use to attend the virtual event. It doesn’t have to be fancy—just make sure it will be comfortable all event long.
6. Set Up Proper Lighting
Lighting is an element that’s frequently overlooked but is crazy important to a virtual event. For one, no one should be staring at their computer screen in the dark… it’s terrible for your eyes! But more importantly, proper lighting is essential if you plan on participating in the event via video. For the best image quality, place a warm white light behind your computer and direct it towards your face.
7. Secure High-Quality Headphones
It’s a no-brainer that you’ll want to be able to hear an event as clearly as possible. So, I always recommend those attending a virtual conference use high-quality headphones. This will help muffle outside noise, especially if you’ll be dialing in from home. Plus, most headphones nowadays come equipped with a standard microphone you can use to easily chat with other attendees or ask questions during a panel discussion.
8. Charge Electronics the Night Before
While this one should be obvious, I’ll be the first to admit that even a professional virtual event emcee can forget to charge their AirPods or iPad sometimes. Hey, it happens! My advice is to make a small checklist of the electronics you’ll need for the event and then pop those devices on the charger the night before. That way, everything will be set to go by the time the event rolls around.
9. Gather Essentials Like Snacks and Water
Unlike an in-person event, where there’s likely to be a refreshment table, attending a virtual conference does not include a buffet. So, do yourself a favor and gather essentials like snacks, water, tea, and coffee before you dial into the event. If a hunger pang hits while you’re in the middle of a keynote speech, you’ll know that a quick bite is inches away and not buried in the kitchen.
10. Keep Your Family in the Loop
Last but not least, be sure to keep your family in the loop before attending a virtual conference. While you might have blocked off your calendar for teammates and employees, it’s likely your mom, spouse, or kids didn’t exactly get the memo. To avoid any mid-conference distractions or breaks in communication, let your family know way ahead of time that you’ll be stepping away for an event.
Rely on a Virtual Event Emcee to Do the Rest!
If there’s anyone who knows the complexities of a virtual conference, it’s a virtual event emcee. Whether you’re gearing up for a company conference or team-building event, take my advice and don’t show up to a virtual event unprepared. Instead, take a lesson from the 10 best practices above to ensure you get the most out of every virtual event you attend.
And if you or your company are currently struggling with how to navigate virtual events, trust and believe that you’re not alone. Fortunately, help is only a few clicks away. If you have an upcoming virtual conference and require a professional host and entertainer to steer the event, contact a virtual event emcee to make the process smoother for everyone involved.