Congrats, you’ve made the decision to host a virtual or hybrid event! You picked the right platform, are working closely with an event planner, and have your whole team excited for this next frontier.
But what about preparing the speakers, especially those who may not be the most tech-savvy? Don’t worry. We have you covered.
Check out our guide to virtual event speaker best practices, with six smashing tips to ensure all of your virtual speakers are as stirring, engaged, and prepared to deliver the best talk in town.
Virtual Event Speaker Best Practices
As soon as your speakers are confirmed, send them digital welcome kits that include a list of any important dates or milestones leading up to your event as well as the names, roles, and contact information for key people on your team.
Most importantly: Request a preliminary kickoff call to go over the program format and any platform requirements.
THE KICKOFF CALL
This is when the real preparation begins: The goal is to get your speakers comfortable with the format, address any initial questions they may have, and begin discussing content and other issues pertinent to ensuring their talk wows your audience.
If you’re working with a virtual events manager, they will likely be on the call and instrumental to ensuring every speaker is properly prepared and that there are no technical glitches on the big day.
Depending upon the event, the call may take different directions, but key points to cover are:
-The features of your platform of choice and how your speaker will appear virtually, whether it’s on a traditional Zoom video box or in a virtual venue.
-How the speaker will present, whether via Zoom, Webex, Teams, or a different setup.
-The lighting and sound quality in the room where the speaker will present, and whether a green screen or other gear is necessary.
-Whether there will be community engagement and questions from the audience and how the speaker wants to field those queries.
-Whether the speaker will be using any visuals and has any technical needs.
DEVELOP AND SHARE BEST PRACTICES AND SPEAKER GUIDELINES
You’ve likely developed a series of guidelines and best practices for in-person events, and many of them will be just as valuable and helpful virtually.
Work with your team or virtual events manager to refine these best practices for virtual events, and send them to your speakers after the kickoff call.
Be sure to include guidance specific to virtual events, such as technical specifications and advice on proper lighting or how to mitigate extraneous noise.
While some platforms, such as Touchcast, utilize A.I. to autocorrect noise, lighting, and other video issues, it’s always a good idea to lay the groundwork for a seamless presentation from the start.
MAKE YOUR SPEAKERS THE STAR
Great bios and headshots are key to fomenting excitement and driving attendees to each track of your event.
Work with your design team to understand how each speaker will be promoted digitally and decide on a format and word length for each bio as well as guidelines for speaker headshots.
Solicit these bios and headshots, along with preferences on pronouns, early so that your team has adequate time to prepare any digital assets or social media posts.
You may want to use these assets to create a social campaign or special page on your website. Or your event platform may already have a dynamic agenda built in that highlights each speaker and offers a way for attendees to access any background materials or further reading.
RUN OF SHOW
Similar to in-person events, you’ll want to create and share with your speakers a detailed run of show, which will include notes and timing on when they should log on to their video platform, whether there is a virtual greenroom in which to wait, and the process for any unexpected hiccups.
Ideally, you should also schedule a time with each speaker for a run-through to prepare for and practice their speech.
PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED
Whether online or in front of a crowd of 20,000 in-person attendees, the unexpected happens. Make sure each speaker knows there’s a plan in place and what to do.
In a call a few days before the event, be sure to answer any last questions and ensure they have the phone number of a person from your team, or your virtual event platform, who will be available and on call in case of emergency.
SUPPORT, FROM START TO FINISH
With these tips, you should have a good foundation for getting your next slate of virtual speakers prepared.
But if you’re aiming for a more expertly produced (and less stressful!) event, you may want to consider working with a full-service virtual events platform such as Touchcast.
Along with creating virtual venues and immersive content experiences, our white glove production team works hand in glove with corporate event managers to ensure every moment of their virtual event is stunning and seamless.