1. Budget isn’t everything. You do not always need for the flashiest or most expensive tools, even a simple tool can be effective. Look for tools that have worked well for your colleagues or organization, or that you have experience with. If tools have a licensed and free version, read about their main differences, and decide if the free version meets your needs as well. If you have a limited budget, it is better to spend it on content and speakers – no one will remember the interface they used, but everyone will remember if your event was interesting!
2. The more the merrier. If you want your digital event to be truly engaging and interactive, simply planning room for questions or discussion may not be enough. Consider using additional digital tools (Kahoot!, Mentimeter) to engage your listeners. You can ask questions or feedback, do polls, or quiz your audience! Just make sure that the tool you choose is easy to use and that you plan enough time for participants to connect and participate.
3. Make as many assumptions as you can but apply only a few. Think carefully about your target group before the event. Will these be young ICT-savvy young people, or will there be a wider age range of participants? Will everyone be knowledgeable about the topic, or is the opposite more likely? Organize your event according to your target group – if there will be many people of different ages and backgrounds, for example, do not assume everyone has a smart device or knows how to use it well! Be prepared and always have a plan B on hand.
4. Be a team player! Even if you are an experienced event organizer, do not try to do it all by yourself. Have colleagues or volunteers help you with putting together the program and most importantly, with organizing the event itself. Have clear roles for everyone – the moderator, the speaker and the support staff. If you have a highly interactive digital event with many speakers and participants, make sure there are people available to answer emails, calls or questions from the chat box during the event. The more people helping, the better!
5. Treat a digital event as you would a regular event. Just because it is digital, does not mean it is not as important as physical events! Plan and organize it as you would a regular event. Practice beforehand and test the technology. Think about the comfort of your participants and find ways to keep them engaged and interested.
Digital events may well become the new normal so it is best to start practising!
A screenshot of an interactive online training organized in the SmartEnCity project