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How to Add a Virtual Component to Your Event (Without Losing Your Mind) Bookmark

How to Add a Virtual Component to Your Event (Without Losing Your Mind)

COVID-19 has completely changed how members view meetings and events. For as long as there are still new cases across the country, potential conference attendees are going to hesitate to join a few hundred (or thousand) of their peers in a singular location and sit in big rooms with other people. While we’re certainly headed in the right direction in many locations (particularly Michigan!), we’re not anywhere close to being out of the woods. 

The dream scenario is that we’re all back together for conferences this fall or early 2021. The reality is that offering a virtual component to your next conference likely isn’t a move to tide us over in the meantime; it’s possible that virtual options for attendees may be the norm going forward (at least for the foreseeable future). 

If adding a virtual experience to your event sounds daunting, we get it. This is uncharted territory for a lot of association executives and meeting professionals. Below are tips and resources to help get the virtual component of your next event off the ground. 

Virtual Event Platforms

If you think finding a platform to host your event is going to be the tough part, think again. There are a plethora of options out there, so you’re bound to find one to fit your event needs and budget. Just a few that we’ve used or heard good thing about are:


You’ll have to check each one out to see if they’re a good fit for you, but many offer polls for viewers, analytics to see who is participating and engaged, social media integration to involve your social media followers and much more. 

Virtual Event Registration

Registration will work similar to an in-person event, but there are certainly some options to help streamline the process. For example, HeySummit is an all-in-one virtual event platform that does everything from process registration, build landing pages for registration leads, provide different event package offerings by price, and more. A few other options to check out are:

If you need help comparing your platform options, Capterra is a super helpful website. It allows users to compare streaming platforms, event registration platforms, and pretty much anything else involved with organizing and executing your virtual event. 

Event Tips to Keep in Mind

Duration: While many in-person events like conferences, meetings, and expositions usually are all-day affairs, your virtual event probably shouldn’t be. Your attendees are in front of a computer screen, so even the most exhilarating content can’t be expected to keep people stationary and looking at pixels all day. Consider trimming your event duration to no more than a few hours, and offer times for attendees at home to take a break. 

Engagement: Don’t forget about your attendees at home! While your in-person attendees can be engaged at an event with relative ease, your attendees at home need to be actively brought into the conversation. Online polls are a great way to have your remote attendees contribute, and online chat allows them to be part of the conversation. Having your speakers field questions from online participants is a must, and you’ll likely find that some of the best questions come from virtual attendees. 

Feedback: Participants know that virtual events are a new thing for many associations, so they’re more likely to be understanding if things don’t go exactly to plan. But to get good at these things, it’s crucial to get honest feedback from virtual participants. A survey with specific questions tailored to the remote audience should be sent to virtual attendees after the conference. Knowing what to improve for the next event will set your association apart from other groups. 

If you like these kinds of posts, we deliver expertly curated association news and insights each Thursday. Sign up to receive the Update. It’s free. 

Want more tips and insight? Be sure to follow MSAE on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Have an idea for a blog post or a topic you’d like covered? Let us know by sending us an email. 


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