Tests, practice sessions, rehearsals: whatever you want to call them, they’re a major component of virtual event best practice. I could go on about this (and I will!) but first, Lizzo:
One amazing performance, followed by...another rehearsal! If we distilled this into a formula, it would be something like:
Talented people + practice = success
A lot of event organizers feel a bit frazzled when the big day arrives - especially if it’s their first event. Testing is one of the very best ways to protect yourself from that ‘game day’ stress. Today we’re sharing how our best event organizers practice their way to success.
Want to give your attendees an amazing experience on every level? Practice your registration and ticketing
Before you even publicize your event, run through the registration process yourself. You’ll experience the very first impression your audience will have with your event.
Listen, we’ve all had bad registration experiences: poor layouts, uninspiring visuals, confusing flow, bugs. Ugh! They’re a big drain on registrant energy and enthusiasm, and they can badly hurt your sign-up numbers. When you experience the process from an attendee’s perspective, you’ll know how to optimize it. Ask yourself:
- what information are my registrants asked to provide, and in what order?
- is everything clear? Is it a smooth process?
- does this process look the way I’d like it to? Is it visually appealing?
This is an early opportunity to shape how your attendees feel about your event - long before they enter their first session.
Are your tickets giving the level of access you imagined, when you designed them? If you’re offering different kinds of tickets (all-access, or custom packages/session combinations) and you have the time, it’s a great idea to test every one of them. But even if you only have time to run your test once, it’s still well worth it - if there are issues, one run-through will let you know that some tweaks are needed and tip you off to potential problems.
Want to feel calm + confident during your event? Practice your sessions
One thing you can do to make the day of your event go smoothly: test all of your sessions in advance. (Yep! Even the pre-recorded content.)
This will give you the confidence that each of your ticket types grants the correct access to your audience. It’s also nice to see the different stages of your event! Pay attention to how your event feels:
- before the event is live
- during a session
- after the session, and
- after the event
Does it all look the way you’d like it to? Is the event easy to navigate at every stage? See how the event changes over time so you feel familiar with the platform, and are able to pre-empt any difficulties or pain points.
We know that big events can produce lots of little stressful moments. We’ve all experienced the sweaty palms that come from not knowing exactly how to end a live session. Or felt the fluster when a link or recording doesn’t launch as smoothly as we expected.
These little moments can make a big impact - on you and your attendees - and most of them are totally avoidable.
So, practice everything you can! Go into your platforms and run through the session processes from all sides. Find the right button to push. Visualize how everything will look on the day. And remember, this is how you set yourself up for success.
It’s also really important to practice with your speakers! They might not be as familiar with the event management tool/video platform as you are, and you want them to feel calm and confident on the day of your event, too. Doing your tech checks early means you can have a relaxed run-through without any added pressure from an eager audience.
Want to meet your messaging persona? Check your emails and notifications
One more base to cover: if the platform you’re using has emails, or if you’re planning to use your own email management tool to send your audience information about upcoming sessions, replays and offers, know what it feels like to receive your own event communications.
Check what time your event reminders are going out, and how frequently they arrive. Does it feel like too much? Not enough? Striking the right balance is really important: you don’t want your attendees to feel they’re drifting at sea...but you also probably don’t want to send out 5 emails between 2-4 am.
No matter what kind of practice or run-through you do for your event, consider it a real investment in your ultimate success. Detecting an issue early is a great thing! You’ll learn exactly how long it takes to fix something, and it gives you the time to reach out for extra help. The less time sensitive something is, the less stressful it feels.
One last thought on practice: here at HeySummit we have an amazing community of inspirers and creators who are always coming up with new and exciting experiences for their audiences - in part because we help you to bring together all the tools you love in one place. If you’re this kind of innovator, and you’re creating a new kind of event flow - test it out early! We’d love to help you unlock the full potential of the experience you’re creating.