2021 is here, but we’ve still got a while before we’ll go back to large scale in-person conferences. And even when we’re able to convene in-person again, we anticipate the virtual event will be around for years to come. But for now, we get it — it’s still a difficult world to navigate, we’re adjusting, and organizing a successful large group conference virtually can feel a little intimidating.
We asked industry experts to share their secrets for hosting a great virtual conference for large groups in 2021. Following these top tips will ensure your event is a success!
1. Get people excited from the very beginning
Engaging attendees at a large group conference is hard, even in-person. That’s why great, interactive activities from the start are so important. One easy way to do this is with a Cocktail Conference Kick-Off. In just 15 minutes, your attendees will have a cocktail in hand, led by an award-winning mixologist. Finish with a toast and start your conference. It’s a way to take being at home from normal to exciting.
2. Invite high-profile “main stage” speakers.
Having high-profile, main stage speakers at your event elevates your conference from just another Zoom meeting to something special. It can be an expert in your field to lead a segment, adding credibility to your conference. Or book an entertainment performer to kick off the conference in a fun, exciting way. Give your attendees someone to look forward to and learn from, even virtually. Make sure to save time for a Q&A!
3. Send guides & information for any tech you’ll be using
While you don’t want to make things too complicated, there will be some attendees who just aren’t as efficient in technology as others. That’s totally ok — and why it’s your job to send out detailed information beforehand. Download guides, best practices, how to access any additional materials in tidy little welcome or prep packet. A successful large group conference will only be as good as your tech, and how well people can use it.
4. Break up the conference with fun, quick interactive activities
We mentioned earlier that engaging attendees from the start is super important, but making sure they stay interested throughout the conference is key, as well. It’s common for conferences to start on a high note while the rest of the event fall flat! To avoid this, plan breakout sessions or bring the large group back together for energizing activities. One fun, innovative way we do this with Virtual Flavor Tripping. Just the name alone shows it’s a unique experience. Flavor tripping engages the senses in a new way by turning anything sour into sweet. It’s fun, 30-minute, high-energy experience that gets people chatting and laughing. We guarantee your group will go to their next session with a smile on their faces.
5. Encourage your attendees to chat with each other
Even if you’re hosting your large group conference virtually, you can still encourage the attendees to be social. Use the chat box! It’s a great tool to engage your group, and a chat moderator can help keep conversations moving. Social events in-between sessions help too, and create easy ways for people to exchange information. Remember, virtual large group conferences don’t have to be passive events!