Because of the global pandemic, the world has had to shift suddenly and seemingly overnight. Entire industries that once generated income from live events now rely on digital events in order to go on and other industries have had to accommodate that new normal by moving their trade shows and annual conferences online for the foreseeable future. Planning an online conference or trade show seems like a stressful feat for those that have never done so before, but with the right tools, the planning aspect of the event will feel less challenging than you might expect.
One of the biggest lessons that the coronavirus pandemic has taught us is that the world is a smaller place than it often seems. The actions that we take today can impact the health of an entire community later on. Now, more than ever, it’s important to have a sense of compassion for those around you—and those that are not around you—in order to protect the lives of people you may never meet. This is why online conferences and trade shows are so important in 2020. While global travel and live events industries depend on conferences and trade shows, the individual communities around them are volatile and likely cannot risk a virus outbreak due to a live event.
For now, most events in the global cosmetics industry will have to be online for the foreseeable future (check out here our full list). We understand that accommodating these changes can pose new challenges that many events organizers and attendees have not had to deal with in the past, and want to contribute to the resources available for cosmetics industry events organizers to have at their disposal in order to help them organize the best possible online event that they can. Below you’ll find several checklist items for your online event that will help it run smoothly:
How is preparing for an online event different from a live event?
While an in-person live event requires things like permits, a venue, security, and tons of on the ground organization and manpower in order to execute, online events also have their own unique set of tasks and checklists in order to execute one successfully. Now that people can’t travel, online events organizers have to figure in things like time zones to make appearances and speaking events easier for both their guests and their speakers. This can be challenging, especially if speakers are located in various hemispheres throughout the globe, but not impossible.
The first and most important thing you’re going to want to do, aside from setting your dates and finding your speakers, is to organize your speakers based on whether they’ll be contributing live through a platform like Zoom or through a pre-recorded speech. This will help you outline which speakers would fit under the topics you want to cover in the live event and eliminate any headaches later on when you find out that a speaker is only available to pre-record their appearance, or if they would rather be part of a group speaking session and discussion.
At an online trade-show, brands and product representatives might want to create a “how-to” or trial video to explain how to use the product they’d otherwise be promoting at the trade show. This can be a great way to enhance brand exposure, and can later be used on social media by the brand to teach customers how to use the product or what the product could be used for. Brands can also create training or course videos that have been pre-recorded to contribute to the trade show, allowing you as the organizer to add more content to your online event without having to organize a massive schedule of keynote speakers and discussions.
Cosmetics companies and ingredient suppliers participating in online events might like to create some sort of lab, facility, or factory tour for your guests to view as part of the experience. This will integrate spaces, making your guests feel like they’re getting a lot of value out of the online event by giving them the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at many of the companies they might already work with. Plus, it will be good for the brands that create the videos because it increases consumer trust in those brands to be transparent about their labs and production conditions.
The key to preparing for an online conference is to be prepared and to make sure your speakers are prepared as well. Most live speakers will be using a virtual booth, which is a video chatroom set up through a platform like Zoom or Skype that allows for group video chats. Don’t forget to make sure that your speakers have all of the tools that they need in order to participate, such as a high-speed internet connection, a good webcam, and a microphone (check out here our webinar tips & tricks).
Your speakers will feel grateful that you took the time to make sure that they were prepared, and you’ll feel a sense of relief in knowing that they have what they need. It also might be helpful for your speakers to have a set of headphones with an attached microphone, and to assure that they can participate from a quiet environment such as a personal office where they won’t be disturbed or feel uncomfortable about participating in a virtual event.
No-go’s for virtual events
Don’t treat video conferences like they are normal video calls, and by that, we mean that you should rehearse any speeches or talking points that you want to discuss beforehand in order to feel prepared. If you’re doing a live interview, treat the interview like you would if you were speaking with the person in-person or doing a live interview in front of a crowd.
The great thing about an online event is that you can utilize other platforms in order to engage your audience. Instead of sticking to a live question and answer session, encourage your audience to take advantage of social media to submit their questions. This will expand brand awareness by exposing new people to your event and brand and help your audience carry the conversation even once the event is over.
If possible, encourage your speakers to have back-up devices in case of a technical difficulty, and keep backup devices available for yourself as well. The last thing you want to deal with is a computer malfunction, so this will assure that you have multiple ways to access the live event should anything happen. It’s also a good idea to hire some extra help or simply assign someone to monitor each live speaking event to help with the audience, moderate questions from either the guests or the speakers, and make sure that each individual event within your online trade show goes smoothly.
There are a lot of adjustments that you’ll need to make in order to successfully operate an online event, but you’ll likely be fine if you over-prepare and give each of your speaker’s adequate attention.