Organising a corporate virtual event is a mandate with which many are still familiarizing themselves. It is a process that normally requires several weeks to complete, and it demands absolute commitment from the individuals who take on the responsibility. Whether we have a background in virtual event planning for our organisation or not, one constant remains: the importance of deferring to an established action plan to help guarantee that all aspects of an event project are covered.
Knowing that it can be difficult to find a way through, the Lulu événements event agency has drawn a complete roadmap to help project managers organise successful virtual events.
DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST
The process is broken down into 4 significant periods, and then divided into distinct categories (general information, logistics, webcasting, location, providers, and staff). A downloadable checklist will also be made available for you to track your project’s progress.
2-3 months before the event (planning phase)
The first phase of an event project is spent setting the foundations upon which the event will be constructed. It is paramount that you consider all the basic factors that will ensure a high level of patronage at your event (choice of location, date, formula, etc.). The organiser will then need to adapt this concept across all departments.
1.General event information
a. Define the objective
This is the first and most important step. To ensure that the event you create will be coherent, ask why you are creating a corporate event. Ideally, it should be possible to summarize the objective with a simple sentence that illustrates the message you wish to share with our target.
b. Choose the date
The date will be determined based on the chosen event type (Gala vs. conference) and the organisation’s internal considerations (ex.: employee workload). Ideally, a weekday should be chosen (weekends being reserved for family life).
c. Estimate the number of guests
Starting with an estimation drawn from a guest list (Ex.: sending 200 invitations to clients), we can expect 150 guests to be present.
d. Define the format (hybrid, virtual…)
It is at this stage that you must choose whether you only want remote participants (which is to say participants who are recorded in their own homes), or whether you will require X individuals to travel to a studio for filming. This decision, which depends upon the desired end product, will affect all subsequent decisions, as all organisational factors could vary based on the chosen option (Ex.: needing or not needing to find a studio).
e. Define a concept
How to breathe life into the message you want to share with your guests? The concept should always directly correlate with the company’s objective.
f. Determine a preliminary budget
Ideally, you should refer to a pre-established gross budget (virtual event projects). If you are organising your first virtual event, however, you can refer to live event organised in the past, and adapt operational costs.
Otherwise, it goes without saying that it is essential to set a precise budget that will cover the cost of a corporate event. This is imperative if you wish to build from the right concept while respecting the means at our disposal.
g. Draft a schedule for the weeks leading up to the event
It is important to draft a precise to-do list with deadlines and reminders to ensure that nothing is forgotten. This step helps establish an overall vision of the project.
h. Prepare a general timeline
Once the objective, concept, and format have been determined, a timeline of the event should be prepared (detailing what is meant to be happening, at what time it will be happening, who is meant to be speaking…). The event plan can become increasingly specific as the event’s organising progresses.
a. Sponsor search
If there is a plan to prospect for potential sponsors, this is an opportune time to implement that plan. With a clear idea of your objective and concept, it is now possible to draft a list of sponsors to be contacted, and to create a presentation pack.
a. Verify the chosen location’s availability
We are referring here to the filming location, should you opt for a hybrid event. Once the right studio or location has been found, you must quickly reserve that location for your chosen date, and ensure that the location is appropriate.
*Important information about choosing a location*
- Address at the main entrance (is it easy for guests to access?)
- Address for deliveries (is it adapted to the needs of your suppliers?)
- Available furnishings and equipment (are such things included with the cost of the location? Is it simpler or more economical to rent them?)
2-3 weeks before the event (organising phase)
In this second phase, the organiser will need to adapt the concept across all departments.
During this period, the organiser will be in direct contact with suppliers. All details and specifics relating to the coming event should be established, settled, and set in print.
a. Draft a precise schedule
This is certainly the ideal time to detail the event’s progression, but also to determine everything that precedes and follows the event: setup, disassembly, participant arrivals…
b. Create a design brief
In this brief, specify each participant’s role in the event, to ensure that all participants have a clear and precise idea of their duties.
c. Choose a broadcast platform
Multiple platforms are currently in operation, and so they must be explored, with the objective always at the forefront of your mind: does your event need to be interactive? Do you want to enable networking? Do you need to simulcast across multiple locations (in the event of a conference, for example)? What is your budget?
a. Generate visuals to embellish the platform
Are visuals produced in-house? Does the event already have a visual identity, or do you need to hire a designer?
b. Integrate sponsor visuals
You must not forget to include the sponsor’s visual identity in the platform design. It may therefore be necessary to request such visuals (logo, slogan…) from the sponsor, to precise specifications.
c. Plan and prepare the various content formats that will be required (videos, photos, presentations, social media…)
Once visuals have been created and sponsors have been integrated, it is necessary to adapt the visual to numerous formats, according to the requirements of the event!
a. Take photos to document the location
Photos are useful when scriptwriting for an event: to help place participants within the space.
b. Contact person(s) and coordinates
It is important to maintain a file that includes all information required for getting in touch with your contacts during the event, and to forward this file to all individuals to which it might be relevant.
c. Address – main entrance
Ensure that everyone has been informed of the address.
d. Address – deliveries
Ensure that the correct address has been provided to suppliers (attention, this address can be different from the main address)
e. Verify the studio’s accommodation requirements
What is unavailable at the filming location (lectern, chairs, tables…)? Is the location fully equipped to observe sanitary and distancing measures? Are washrooms clearly indicated?
f. List available audio-visual equipment
Based on this list, it will be possible to clearly determine what is still needed for producing the event.
g. Test Internet connection
Online events require a faultless connection. It is important to ensure that the filming location’s Internet is up to the task.
a. Reserve webcasting equipment
Contact suppliers to reserve any equipment that might still be needed.
b. Contact the various suppliers
Whether photographer, videographer, or master of ceremonies, it is at this stage that all event participants must be contacted.
a. Find a Covid manager
After having assigned someone to be responsible for ensuring the implementation of sanitary measures, it is important to establish, through discussions with this individual, a list of the measures that will be taken (periodic mask changes, strict distancing at all times, temperature readings, record of the individuals present at the studio…). You may refer to our printable health directives chart for the event, and ensure that all studio participants can see it at all times.
b. Find a supplier manager
A contact person will be required to serve as supplier liaison on the day of the event, should any issue arise.
c. Setup and disassembly
Ensure that a team has been hired to set up, dismantle, and clean the studio.
2-3 days before the event
This is the final preparation phase, during which it is of the utmost importance to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
The organiser should never presume that every supplier has understood all the information (who may have dozens of open projects).
The only way to pre-empt oversight and forestall problems is to issue reminders.
a. Verify and confirm participant arrival times
Send a personalised e-mail message to each participant to confirm the time of their arrival, who to contact in the event of an emergency, the studio’s address, and any other required information.
a. Test participants’ Internet connections
For those participants who are not present in studio, it is important to verify that everything is operational, to ensure that the event proceeds as planned, and avoid any issues while broadcasting live.
b. Verify and personalize invitation links
Verify that the links submitted to event participants are functional and problem-free, and that connection instructions are simple and easy to understand.
a. Organize a rehearsal with all participants
A few hours prior to the event, or even a full day out, a rehearsal session will be necessary to ensure that everyone has been familiarised with the studio and with the evening’s proceedings.
a. Submit a brief to all suppliers
As was done with participants, an e-mail message must also be sent to suppliers, which includes a description of the event, detailed expectations, and the location, date, and time at which they are each expected.
a. Draft a brief for the staff
Now that suppliers and participants have received clear instructions and know what is expected of them during the event, you must obviously not forget to also inform the staff!
3 days after the event: appraisal
Did the event go according to plan? Wonderful! A look back over the event will nevertheless prove to be an indispensible practice.
1. Analyze the overall project and draw up an assessment
Create a document that can be consulted in the future, as a reference.
This report should normally include a brief description of the event, the elements that were produced and their results, the event’s strengths and weaknesses, and future recommendations.
This is an extremely useful tool for perennial events.
The organiser will then have access to all the information about this past event, to avoid having to restart from scratch.
2. Summary meeting with decision-makers
In the case of a manager who has organised a corporate event, at this stage that manager will have a meeting with board members to discuss the event and listen to their suggestions for the following years.
3. Billing follow-up with suppliers
This is also a good time to thank all the participants who played a major role in building the success of our corporate soirée.
Creating a corporate event on a grand scale in a virtual environment is an imposing task, but also highly gratifying for the organiser.
By referring to the downloadable checklist conceived by the event agency Lulu événements, you will have all the necessary tools at your disposal to make your project a memorable time.