It’s no secret that online events are in some way easier to run than running physical ones. After all, you don’t have to set up a venue, find catering, control the flow of your attendees, or manage coffee breaks. But online events come with their own set of challenges.
- How do you organize your speakers when you have simultaneous online sessions?
- How do you manage the backstage operations?
- How do you virtually welcome your new speakers who are waiting for their sessions to begin?
- And what do you do when, apart from knowledge sessions, you’re also providing online entertainment and networking?
To figure out all of these details, you need a minute-by-minute guide, which is basically a list of the activities you’ve included in the event program, along with the specific technical requirements and details you need to consider for each one. This document will help you organize your team’s work and know exactly what’s happening during each minute of the entire event.
The guide works regardless of your online event format. Whether your event has simultaneous online sessions or individual sessions one right after another, a minute-by-minute guide will help you prepare for your event and reduce the uncertainty level. You can create this guide for your next event in just a few easy steps:
Step 1: Create an Excel spreadsheet for all the event sessions
Your minute-by-minute guide doesn’t have to be sophisticated. You can create a simple Google Excel document and share it with the rest of your team. Add all of the event activities, along with the starting and ending time for each. For better visualization, you can mark different activities up in contrasting colors. For example, you can highlight the knowledge sessions with one color and the online networking dynamics with another. This will give you a better understanding of how your program is structured. Then, you can add different requirements and notes for each activity.
Step 2: Assign certain people to be both backstage and onstage for each session
Since you’ll be running an online event, you’ll want to find a streaming platform. To manage the platform, however, you’ll need someone to be in charge of the backstage. This person can be someone from your team who knows how to manage the streaming tool. This person will be lurking in the back without being seen by the attendees, launching the video on the virtual stage, changing screens, sharing presentations, etc.
You’ll also need a moderator who’ll be present on-stage. He or she will be carrying on the session, interacting with the speakers, asking them questions, and sorting and reading people’s comments. These are the people who’ll be meeting and welcoming the speakers backstage before the session starts. If you’ll be running session after session without a break in between, you’ll need separate backstage areas.
Note that you’ll need two people per backstage (the person responsible for the technical details and the moderator) to meet and greet your speakers. So that’s something you’ll need to discuss and add to your minute-by-minute guide.
Step 3: List the actions you’ll need to take before each and after each session
Will you be running a video before each session? Will you display a slide with what’s next after each session? Will you launch a playlist during the break between sessions? You’ll want to identify all these actions, add them to your minute-by-minute guide, and build all the assets necessary to successfully manage the sessions.
Step 4: Note the technical characteristics for each session
Online events are quite complex, especially if you want to add different professional elements. For example, in some cases, you may want to provide simultaneous translations to your different knowledge sessions. Maybe you want to launch live polls during an online roundtable conversation. Or, chances are you’ll have a session with multiple speakers and each one will want to share his or her presentation. In any case, you’ll need to list all of the technical elements that accompany each session and include them in your guide. Apart from that, you’ll need to identify the actions you have to take to ensure that all of the technical requirements will be met during the event.
Step 5: Include the relevant phone numbers of your event stakeholders
Finally, online events can be as unpredictable as physical events. For example, some of your speakers may have connectivity issues, leading to poor sound or disconnection. Or a moderator may not show up, or there might be problems with one of the backstage areas and you need to quickly find the person handling the technical details to resolve the issue. To avoid any stressful situations, it’s always better to have the phone numbers of everyone involved in the event in your guide.
As you can see, creating a minute-by-minute guide isn’t a mystery. However, it’s better to have one to know exactly how to run the event and reduce any uncertainty. Start by creating a simple Google Excel you can later share with the team. Add all the sessions you’ve prepared, along with the starting and ending hours. Don’t forget to list all the people who’ll be participating in the session (team members included) and their phone numbers.
Make sure to assign people to be responsible for both the backstage and virtual stage, and distribute their tasks accordingly depending on the event format. Be sure to add the actions you need to take before starting and after ending each session. Finally, don’t forget to indicate all the technical needs each session will require. Having this information collected in a single document will help you coordinate your event much easier.