Updated: Oct 7, 2020
It can be a difficult task trying to filter through the sheer mass of information surrounding virtual events right now. Figuring out what you specifically need guidance and advice on, can be time-consuming. We personally feel the need to validate a purchase or action from a source that has tried and tested the equipment and has real world experience using it. Reliable and reputable blogs are always our go-to when we need answers.
We have all become event managers or technicians over the past couple of months. From getting our kids set up with a camera and microphone for their online classes, to running a meeting or webinar on Zoom for a client/employer.
Imagine if we had a simple checklist that we could rely on to optimise the experience and take the stress out of the technical set up allowing us to focus on the content and it's delivery.
Look no further... here are Production Buddies tried and tested top 3 ways to level up your next virtual event:
1. Wired Internet Connection.
This is THE most important part of your set up. Hands down. Wired connections offer faster speeds than WIFI, no matter how close you are to your router or how fast your internet connection is. They also offer a more stable connection because speeds fluctuate up and down on a wireless connection. In addition to a wired internet connection, it is worth considering the bandwidth of your home or office network. So many devices around your home now use WIFI so it’s important to turn off all of those devices on days that you are having virtual meetings or events to free up all of the available bandwidth offered by your network.
For example, on rehearsals & show days (day of event) we turn off the WIFI on our phones, tablets and even on the smart TV. Other devices, like gaming consoles and set top boxes should also be turned off. Standby mode still uses bandwidth so this can often be overlooked.
Depending on the distance your workspace is from your router, to get a wired internet connection to your computer or laptop you will need an Ethernet port (RJ45 connection) and this Cat5 cable. A 25/50 ft Cat5 cable is perfect for most scenarios. This cable will be the best piece of hardware you can invest in to level up your virtual events.
If your computer or laptop does not have an Ethernet port then a USB-C/USB-A to Ethernet adaptor is what you'll need. Satechi is a reliable brand and we’ve been using their products for years. This is the exact adapter we use for all of our events. It is great, and features additional ports which can expand and improve your workflow.
2. Software Familiarity.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Open and use your software of choice every day. With just 10 mins of use every day, being fully comfortable with any software will allow your flow state to be activated. It’s very clear and obvious when a user has not put in the hours required to be proficient in a piece of software, or indeed hardware.
Zoom is a great example. A very user friendly and intuitive interface, however, if you've ever ran or been a part of a webinar or event through zoom you will understand how the pressure of being LIVE can cause silly and avoidable mistakes. For example; Screen sharing the wrong screen, getting stuck in 'play/presenter mode' in Keynote or having no chat functionality. These little things can all be ironed out with practice.
A full dress rehearsal will give you the confidence to be confident on show day - whatever that is for you; be it a client meeting, a job interview or a large-scale virtual event. Why not take the guess work out of the event and squash the niggling "what if’s" or "maybe’s”? Knowing how things will go can eliminate any unnecessary nerves, limit the amount mistakes and give you the opportunity to enjoy your time on screen! Repetition is the key to perfection, so on the 10th or 11th time you've ran through a dress rehearsal, come show day, the 12th time will look professional and polished and leave your guests/attendees impressed. Somethings to consider when practising: joining the meeting/webinar, checking lighting, camera and audio are all working correctly, sharing your presentation or screen, timing of your presentation. Bonus points for getting familiar with seeing yourself on screen!
People often overlook these 3 simple things because they seem so obvious but really, they are the most important and impactful and should be addressed accordingly. No hardware or software in world will save you from being unprepared and polished. The above list has been a game-changer for us in helping us take our virtual game to the next level and we felt inspired to share these ideas and make a positive ripple in world.
Is there anything you would add to this list?
Let us know in the comment section below!