How Not To Blow It In The Arena Of Virtual Events

Post by 
Karen Ashwin
April 30, 2020



Never before has the relevance of online meetings and events been more apparent than now in the midst of the global COVID-19 LOCKDOWN.  There’s the BC world (Before Covid) and now we have the AC world (After COVID).  However both life and business continuity in this altered reality in which we now find ourselves. Here are some quick do’s and don’ts of planning and creating virtual experiences – and how to make them impactful, memorable and entertaining

  1. Brand Awareness: What is it, how does it work?
  • In short, your brand is your company’s image. As a representative of your company, it’s also your image – you are the brand!  And with so many new users finding themselves thrust into utilising virtual event platforms like never before – it can be a minefield of potential blunders and mishaps for the uninitiated.
  • While these can at times be memorable for being comic, in the world of business, this is certainly not what we’re aiming for. You do not want your company or your personal brand being associated with less than professional events, real or virtual.
  • When it comes to virtual events, remember you’re aiming for not only the appropriate type or format for your event. Equally important are great content, riveting speakers and presentations, impressive attendance, participation and valuable analytics.  Moreover, you’re also striving for that seemingly indefinable Wow factor or factors which make it watchable, informative, memorable and enjoyable (from start to finish).

  1. As a starting point, the type of virtual event – as well as the programme for its execution – is designed around three elements – GOALS, OBJECTIVES & YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE


  • There’s never a “one size fits all” approach;
  • Keep the programme short, fast-moving and punchy;
  • The choice of a first-rate moderator is essential, as this also links to effective audience participation, Q&A’s, as well as poll and survey results.

  1. Speaker Preparation, Training, and Practice
  • You are the brand and you have all of 10 seconds to make an initial good impression, even if it is from the comfort of your home.
  • Consider your background – down to the titles of the books in your bookshelf if they’re within the camera shot.
  • Otherwise, you might want to consider using a plain or customised backdrop for filming your event participation.
  • Although you might not be donning your high heels and polishing your tiara for an online event, it’s still important to look your best and make a good impression. This applies to both presenters and participants.
  • Just as you might make an effort for a TV interview, pay attention to your appearance and be aware of how you look and come across on camera.
  • You have an audience you need to engage – with both your image and your information – so put your best foot forward with your choices of outfits, colours, personal grooming and camera angles.
  • Check your camera placement and lighting – and rehearse before you go live.
  • Maintaining eye contact with your audience throughout is important.

  1. Virtual Events As A Business to Business Channel
  • While virtual events bring an immediacy and access to people you might never have in the real world, it’s important to remember that this is not a social media platform where technical hitches and glitches and other mistakes might be easily forgiven. It’s important to maintain your image and professionalism at all times.
  • Turn off audio when tackling technical problems and use a time out screen if possible until the issue is solved.
  • Remain cognizant of your body language and posture throughout. Refrain from fidgeting or doing things like pouring your tea within shot, as this distracts the audience.
  • At all times remember that this is a VISUAL medium and
  • Take the Buyers’ Journey into account. Would you still be buying this person or company’s product if you’re party to a messy virtual event riddled with hitches, glitches and blunders?

Dubai-based Karen Ashwin, is founder and CEO of the renowned global Event Production Company, with offices in Africa and the Middle East.  An event, marketing and communication industry maven with vast and varied experience, here she shares her tips on pulling off impressive, meaningful and unforgettable virtual events with clarity and insight.

Request a consultation with her here:  Book a consultation


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