Bevy's Virtual Event Playbook

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Learn about our product updates for virtual community!

Best Practices

  • Give a buffer; there will be technical challenges for your attendees. Make sure to give them time and plenty of guidance on how to get set up with your tools.
    • If you will be facilitating breakout sessions or activities that require technical guidance, clear instructions are key!
    • For larger events, consider a test run to orient attendees with the technology and tools that will be used, or send screen recordings beforehand of what they can expect. 
  • Make sure you clearly communicate to your attendees how they will access the link and register for the event. Consider sending a newsletter to the attendees prior to the event to clarify the event is held online and to include any login instructions.
  • Overcommunicate the purpose of the event, and give them a reason to attend. What can they expect to leave the event with? 
    • Send a follow up newsletter with a link to the recording, slides/notes shared, a post-event survey to capture feedback, and a note to thank them for attending!
  • Create guidance on what an attendee should do if they are unable to access the event.
    • Perhaps add “reply to this email if you have trouble attending” to your newsletter.
  • Take some extra precautions to  
  • Take the first 3-5 minutes to set some Rules of Engagement: 
    • How to use the chat, when to stay muted/unmuted, when and how to ask questions, etc. 
    • Run an icebreaker to start or have everyone introduce themselves.
  • Consider appointing multiple hosts or volunteers, and have specific people designated to:
    • Moderator: Monitor the chat and answer questions
    • Timekeeper: Ensure the program goes according to schedule
    • Tech support: Attend to technical difficulties that arise, including addressing login issues. Consider working with the platform provider to have day-of tech support for larger events.
    • Facilitator: Assist the speaker by presenting or sharing the screen
  • Support your speakers by compiling the slides ahead of time. Consider reaching out to the audience before the event to get questions early. Set a clear agenda for the speakers and your audience, and share the agenda ahead of time by entering it on the event page.
    • Allow time in between activities/speakers for attendees to process, interact with the content, bathroom/water breaks, just as you would have in in-person events.
  • Record your virtual event and make it available after the event. Consider uploading the recording to Vimeo or YouTube and add it to the post-event Wrap Up tab
  • Encourage participation by keeping your content interactive. Be cognizant of the method used to participate. If you want participation, ask for it!
    • Should attendees interact with the material in chat? Make sure your content is tailored for chat.
    • Consider small talk in the first minute or so as people are logging into the event. This encourages people to participate early on!
  • Take a screenshot of the virtual event participants and share with your community: show off all the amazing event attendees!

Things to keep in mind

  • How often should you host a virtual event? Keep your community engaged by hosting several events with a variety of content. We believe that now more than ever it is important to keep your community close and active; people are craving connection.
  • Should you host events in one chapter or have several chapters hosting virtual events? Keep the content localized and host events in multiple chapters. Consider having chapter organizers collaborate with each other to encourage meeting folks they wouldn’t be able to meet in person. 
  • What timezone should you host larger virtual events in? Pick a time zone that spans the most locations. For example, 8AM US Pacific is 8:30PM in India, and 2PM US Pacific is 8AM in Australia. Depending on where your community is based, consider hosting multiple sessions to accommodate. 
  • How to keep your community engaged outside of virtual events? Consider moving discussions/activities to asynchronous methods after the events, and lining up content with async activities prior to the event. Encourage community members to host informal virtual meetings in the form of virtual lunch, coffee, and more!
  • How to encourage your organizers to host virtual events? Guide organizers on how to make event changes. Talk them through pre-event logistics. With your guidance, Organizers will be excited to host virtual events. Providing guidance on tools they will have to set up/test prior to the event, a playbook for how to structure the virtual event (share this one with them!) and other resources will empower them. 
  • How should your content vary from in-person to virtual? Great virtual events can have the same participation and collaboration as in-person events. For this to happen, the virtual event shouldn’t be a long presentation with little engagement from the audience. Consider sharing the content beforehand so the event is used to discuss the content and engage with both the material and with each other, and crowdsource other discussion topics from your community!

For more great resources related to community and COVID-19, check out the CMX Command Center.

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