Sessions, Content and Your Attendees

Some keys to great virtual conferences, webcasts and e-learning courses.  It’s all about the presentation and a great environment to take it all in.

For your event, you will be working on determining the best possible mix of how-to and promotional materials.  It’s this mix that will drive the success of future events, will drive expectations of this and future events and will help your attendees make the most of your sessions…

“But wait, I’m not selling stuff at my event!”

Sure, you might not be selling goods and services directly, but you are selling, at the very least, your event.  Your services.  Your next event.  Your content.  You are “selling” because you have to convince people it’s worth it to spend their time on your event.  It’s critical to keep in mind that you have to earn their time and attention.  They call it “spending time” and “paying attention” for a reason after all. 

A couple of quick tips on putting together sessions.  

Speaker Intros, Bios and Contact Info
Speakers should focus on the meat of the session.  By this I mean that speakers should avoid bragging about their accomplishments, should avoid talking about their products (unless the session is clearly a demo-based session of course).  Instead, consider having an event host that talks about and introduces the speaker.  Spend 60-90 seconds at the start of the session to outline the presenter’s qualifications and their background, projects and how to contact them (and whether they’re available for consulting/gigs/etc.).  

At the end of the presentation, consider coming back in the session and thanking the speaker, again offering contact info.  Using these two informational points (the intro and exit points), you can show that the speaker is authoritative, you give the audience a handle on the presentation so they know what to expect.  In addition, the audience knows you won’t be talking forever about the presenter, it’ll be a quick intro, then into the meat of the presentation.  It let’s them know they’re not wasting their time or attention. 

Content (content, content, content)
It’s far better to have an information-packed 20 minute session than a too-long-for-the-content 60 minute session.  Attendees are much more concerned with excellent information, tips, experiences and real-world information than they are with filling an allotted time slot.  Make sure your speakers are keeping presentations on track and that the attendees can take in and use the information as quickly as possible.  

In today’s “short attention span theater” type world, it’s critical to give points that can be used immediately, while also giving direction and food for thought type guidance for looking a bit more to the future.  

It can also help to follow the rule of:

  • Tell them what you’ll be telling them
  • Tell them what you want to tell them
  • Tell them what you told them

This lets you present what you’ll be talking about – then the topic at hand.  Wrap it up with a summary and touch on the key points and attendees will have a great opportunity to really ingest the information you’re presenting.  

It’s About the Attendees
No matter if you’re producing a virtual event for sponsors, for continuing education, best practices, tips, tricks or something else entirely, it’s about the attendees.  They need to be able to get the most from your content and speakers.  If you don’t have attendees for your virtual event (webcast, webinar, virtual conference or online learning course), you’ll have a hard time continuing with the virtual event in the future.  

Content (and presentation) truly is king.  

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