Since April 2020 I’ve created and hosted more than 50 online events and I’ve been joined by so many people from countries around the world. This has given me the opportunity to really find out what works and how to create a brilliant online event. Here are 8 proven tips you can use to transform your online event from average to “magnificent”*.
1. Make the decision to create an event and not a webinar.
Decide at the outset whether you’re creating an event or a webinar. A webinar is a passive experience for viewers as their cameras and microphones are off, whereas an event invites active participation.
2. Embrace the live event experience.
Imagine that you’re gathering a group of people together in real life. Make it clear from the outset that you’d like cameras on and explain that this is because it’s a social event and you’d like everybody to feel like they’re in the same room together.
3. Build interactivity into the event.
I invite people to respond in the chat box and, when appropriate, to turn on their microphones and talk. With a really large audience I find it’s amazing to see the stream of chat comments responding to what I’m saying, or with exclamations like “wow” and “haha”. This really connects me to the ripples of audience reactions so I can gauge the response as I would with an in-person audience.
4. Make the interactivity inclusive.
I think it’s important for everybody to feel seen and heard but not uncomfortable. I’m not a fan of cheesy games that make people feel silly or quizzes that feel more like an exam. I like my audience to feel smart and that they’ve learned something new during an event. For example, I might ask what kind of music a Gothic-style letter on a record cover suggests — everybody then gets to compare their answers with each other and to have fun discovering that there are lots of different associations.