14 July, 2024

Struggling with running online events? How you could learn from your mistakes

It’d be understandable if you find yourself frequently fumbling when trying to run an online event. After all, it’s still relatively recently that the COVID-19 pandemic upended the way we work – including by forcing us to switch from in-person to online events in the interest of safety.

All the same, though, you ideally want to cut out mistakes as much as possible, lest you potentially come across as unprofessional in front of people – like clients and business partners – you would prefer didn’t garner that particular impression of you. So, how could you reduce those pesky errors?

Hold online events that are interactive in format

If many of the online events you have delivered so far have been very much one-way affairs where you talk to the viewers a lot more than vice versa, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities for live feedback on how your event is going.

When you are essentially just talking to a camera or computer screen that doesn’t allow you to even see the people watching or listening to you, there would be the risk of you going down a particular path that you don’t notice is making many members of your audience scowl.

Hence, you should seriously consider delivering more webinars. A Business 2 Community article notes that the word ‘webinar’ combines ‘web’ and ‘seminar’ – and fittingly so, given one dictionary definition of a seminar as “a meeting for giving and discussing information”.

The takeaway from all of this is that, by switching to running webinars, you could gain a greater insight into what your events’ attendees think about each event while it is still happening – so, make sure you remember to also choose a webinar platform offering an array of built-in interactivity tools.

Provide a post-event survey to those people who attended

Yes, in some instances, the old ways can still be the best. So, much like you might have previously handed out paper copies of a survey for attendees of an in-person event to complete, you can now email a digital survey for people to fill in after they have participated in your online event.

One article on the Eventbrite website lists various examples of questions you could include in the survey – whether it is intended for regular attendees or any sponsors or other stakeholders who happened to also be present at the event. Yes, you should probably prepare two separate types of survey so that you make sure you ask the right types of people the right questions.

So, while it would be appropriate to ask a regular attendee how likely they are to recommend the event to a friend, a more suitable question to put to a stakeholder would be whether they expect the event to have a positive effect on their corporate objectives.

Whatever feedback you do collect about the event, whether during or after it, you should regularly refer back to this in a diligent manner as you carefully assess how you ought to go about delivering your next online event.

Claire James


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