Using Zoom or another platform for a virtual event

We’ve all transported our meetings and events online and we’re coming to terms with scheduling, links and getting people to register.

I’ve been doing hangouts on Google for years, live streaming events on social channels and managing audience participation. I’m now using Zoom for my meetings and my training workshops. It’s a great platform and has a lot of functionality.

Here’s how I run group virtual events on Zoom.

Five things to remember when hosting a virtual event:

  1. We’re not News Night presenters – expectations are not too high!
  2. Remember the audience is here for interaction
  3. Make it clear what the purpose of the activity is and how it’ll be run
  4. Just because it’s an online activity doesn’t mean zero effort! Make sure you show up and represent the brand visually
  5. You need to tell people about it to get them registered, so promote well in advance

My FREE #PRSurgery hangouts with @NakedPRGirl – we run these for any small businesses and entrepreneurs who need help

10 tips for running a virtual event:

  1. Host and co-host/guest should be online 5-10 minutes before anyone joins. This gives you time to run through the activity and any pointers around mute, raise hand or chat.
  2. I always mute everyone on arrival (a setting in Zoom) and you can unmute all at any given time or give each person the power to unmute themselves.
  3. I always set my meetings up with video and sound, rather than just sound. I find the face-to-face contact is appreciated. People can choose not to do this if they want.
  4. Once everyone is on, do quick introductions and a quick run through of the event, format, timings etc. Make it clear how and when people can ask questions.

    -If there is a small group of say 10 people, I unmute everyone and allow them to interrupt but if there is 40+ people, I mute everyone and ask questions to be written in the chat box and we will come back to it shortly.

    -Tip: I suggest for an hour event, you have two opportunities during the event for responding to questions and then a final sweep of questions at the end

    – You can also take questions throughout when people raise their virtual hands (a function on the platform)

  5. Try and be as positive as possible right now. Make sure the challenges are being turned into opportunities.
  6. Suggest that there is no loud jewellery worn
  7. If you and the guest are in two different locations (likely at this time), then suggest wearing earphones for better sound quality
  8. Make it as engaging as possible. Can you share links and resources?
  9. If possible, for added value, follow up the activity with a friendly email to thank people for attending, ask for any feedback and use this as an opportunity for promoting any other activities they might be interested in or to share a resource you’ve created on the back of the meet-up
  10. Finally, at the end of every session, I ask people to drop their social handles in the chat box, so people can take a minute to look through and follow anyone
virtual event

The first #PRFest hangout I organised last week with PR and comms colleagues from across the world!

One additional tip – if you record the event, which Zoom does, you can download the video and host it online for other people to see. This may or may not be relevant but it’s a useful function on the platform.

Thanks for reading my post. Maybe you have more tips we can add in? Let me know here. It might be useful to share this post with colleagues who are navigating the world of Zoom!