The Secret to Creating an Action-Packed Virtual Event

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The Secret to Creating an Action-Packed Virtual Event

What does writing a movie script and planning a virtual event have in common? Let’s find out, shall we?

 

Indulge us by stretching the limits of your imagination for a moment. Picture planning a virtual event like you’re writing a spy thriller movie script. There’s the captivating concept, inevitable plot twists, and a race against the clock. 

 

Are you up to the challenge? Great! Let’s get started. Follow along with us as we reveal six key steps to creating an Oscar-worthy virtual event. 

 

Step 1: A Killer Concept

The first step to creating an engaging virtual event is to start with a killer concept. To get the creative juices flowing, we’ve put together a list of questions you’ll want to ask yourself as you’re dreaming up your next virtual event: 

 

  • What are the event goals? (i.e. Bringing people closer together? Imparting some sort of wisdom on the group? Selling your product or service?) 

  • How close is the audience to one another? (i.e. Are they colleagues who have been working together for years, an occasional mastermind group that meets once a quarter, or total strangers meeting for the first time?)

  • What are the common topics, traits, or interests of your audience? 

  • Will this be an interactive meeting with lots of conversation, or will there be just one speaker/host broadcasting to the group?

  • Will the event be activity based? If there are activities, will they be physical or only virtual? Will the activities be completed individually or in groups?

Looking for unique virtual activities to build into your event agenda? Check out our blog for new ideas ranging from virtual team-building exercises to creative hybrid event ideas.

 

Step 2: The Master Plan

Gather your crew, review your goals, and devise a game plan. Think of this exercise like writing your script outline. Break down every scene, character interaction, and prop you’ll need and plot them out on a timeline. It may look something like this: 

 

Example:

  • 12:00 – Greetings and introductions

  • 12:05 – Brief overview of event agenda

    • Team breakouts

    • Trivia game

    • Beer sampling

    • Scavenger hunt

    • Prizes

  • 12:10 – Explain rules of first game

    • This is 80s music trivia

    • Each team will have four players

    • There are 10 questions

    • Teams have 2 minutes to type answers into the chat box

    • Prize: a “best of the 80s” mix tape

  • 12:15 – Assign teams and deploy them to their circles

 

…You get the idea.

 

One critical part of devising your master plan is to build in plenty of room for error just in case you need it. (And trust us, you’ll need it. There are inevitable plot twists in any movie script..)

 

Step 3: The Prep

Time to collect all the tools you need to carry out your mission. If your guests need specific props in hand for your event, make sure those are ordered and sent to participants far in advance. Nothing will ruin the fun quicker than people who never got the item they need to participate. (And, by the way, people love to get stuff, so including party favors is always recommended if it’s in the budget.)

 

Finally, it’s time for the table read. Run through your script a few times to make sure your event flow makes sense and your pacing is accurate. The table read is a great opportunity to see your event take shape and make adjustments, as needed. 

 

Step 4: The Execution

The time has finally come for your big premiere! First, make sure you give yourself enough time before the event starts to check that all the technical pieces are in place. Thirty minutes should be plenty of time to make sure your virtual room is open to your guests, your background is presentable, and your audio and video setup is working properly. Next, take a few deep breaths. Chin up. Lipstick on (or chapstick for our gentlemen out there). Lights, camera, action! 

 

When the event begins, the execution should come relatively easily because you’ve already done the work (joyous trumpets sound)! Just follow the outline that you so meticulously laid out, and things should go swimmingly. 

 

Until… 

 

Step 5: The Plot Twist

No matter how much planning, preparation, outlining, and rehearsing you do, there’s always the possibility that something unexpected will happen that threatens to derail your whole event. Hence, the importance of having a plan for the unplanned. Here are a few tips to help you stay calm, cool, and collected when something goes wrong:

 

  • Leave room for error. In your masterful outline, you left room for error, giving yourself more time for each item than you actually need. That moment when your internet glitches out for 30 seconds because someone else near your home office fired up a laptop — you accounted for that. Just repeat what was missed and keep going. Don’t call too much attention to the problem either. Everyone understands, and no one really wants to discuss it at length -- or at all, for that matter.

  • Have a backup plan. Pivotal to the plot twist: make sure you always have a backup plan. For instance, if you are using an outside app for trivia, have another similar app ready to go in case the first site crashes right at game time. 

  • It’s okay to leave things out. Make sure your master plan includes a few things that can be left out if you get too far behind. Remember, people aren’t generally upset if an event wraps up a little early, but they’ll sure notice if it runs long. 

 

Step 6: The Curtain Call

You’ve almost made it through! Your event went off without a hitch, and you’re ready for the after party. Not just yet, champ. This last part isn’t complicated, but it’s necessary.

 

  • Give thanks. When everything is done, bring everyone back to the center for a little thanks. The participants have taken time out of their lives to spend time at your event and the gracious thing to do is show appreciation (but don’t take long).

  • Tie up any cliffhangers. Be sure to include any information participants will need for later, like when and how game winners can expect their prizes to be delivered. 

  • Close with a CTA. Whether it’s an invitation to attend your next event or to subscribe to your email list, it’s always best to close your event with a call-to-action. 

 

Finally, you’re done. All that planning, prepping, and execution paid off. Congratulations! You did it. Time to take your final bow. 

 

Now double check to make sure your camera is off while you do a celebratory dance. 

Thanks for the wonderful article Beixi! I am wondering if the first step should be identifying your target audience? Things such how tech saavy they are, time zone differences, attention span, etc. will affect how elaborate your event will be.


@Vivian I would agree that identifying your target audience should definitely be on this list. This is one of those, “What came first the 🐓or the 🥚” questions. Does the concept influence the audience or the audience the concept or both. I would think the concept always comes first, though. How could you would be the target audience as the first step?! 


@Beixi Love the “Spy Thriller” analogy. Some really great tips here. Your first section on A Killer Concept is spot on. I allows ask the question of my teams “What problem are you trying to solve?” I think that applies here as well. Thanks for the read.


Love that, @steve.paladino many times we are looking for solutions for things that may not even be problems. I always like to take a breathe, and really focus on seeing if there is a problem. If there is, then think about all of the variables and then think of all the outcomes I want. 

Any on else in the community have a starter question that works wonders for them?