Being a virtual events manager can be a challenging role.
After all, simply organising the virtual event is not enough.
It’s your responsibility to produce and direct content, understand the ins and outs of the virtual event platform, liaise with exhibitors and sponsors, understand how to generate meaningful discussions online, and devise marketing campaigns that get real results.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
If you’ve previously managed in-person events then you will have already harnessed some of the skills that are required.
However, managing a virtual event does come with its own set of challenges as your audience has a different set of needs when they are joining from a remote setting.
As such, it’s crucial you have an understanding of these needs, so that you can plan and execute the best possible virtual event for all parties involved.
If you’re wondering what skills are needed to be a virtual events manager then stick with us, this one’s for you.
In this post we’re going to outline the different skills that are required so that you can manage each virtual event with absolute confidence.
An Event Manager Vs a Virtual Events Manager
As noted in the intro, there are some transferable skills from managing in-person events to managing virtual events.
For example, the skills below are standard for any event manager (be it in-person or online):
- Organisation – you will have to manage a tight schedule of different workshops, sessions, and presentations, making sure everything runs smoothly. This is why the best event planners always have an extensive event proposal and step-by-step checklist at hand.
- Confidence – you will be in contact with a whole range of people from attendees, to sponsors, to exhibitors so you need to be able to communicate clearly and confidently.
- Flexible – you should always expect some changes to the event plan, whether that’s a speaker not turning up to their session or a piece of equipment not working, so you need to be flexible and ready to adapt.
- Listening skills – The ability to understand what key stakeholders want from your event is critical. These people may not be in the event industry, so they might not speak the lingo or know what’s realistic. You have to be able to discern their needs and make sure all parties share the same expectations. Pay attention to what’s said and what’s not said in conversations. Tapping into these spoken needs throughout your planning process will help you to stay one step ahead.
- Passion – Genuine passion will help you to overcome bumps in the road and stay cool when all seems lost. It can also lead to bursts of creativity and the inspiration to create something great, instead of just trying to get through the day.
Whilst these skills are relevant for the role of an events manager in general, there are some skills that are more specific to virtual events management.
Let’s take a look…
1. Production Mindset
For a virtual event, you need to get into the mindset of a producer who is making a programme.
You’re not simply running an event as you need to think about the entire production process and what this will look like for the audience.
From lighting, to sound, to video framing, there’s a lot to consider to make sure the final product is a success.
You also need to be aware of the importance of timings. For example, at a physical event, if the event runs ever so slightly late, then it’s not a huge issue. Whilst this is in no way an ideal scenario, there will be lots of other delegates for your attendees to network with.
The atmosphere is also very different as there will be a general sense of hustle and bustle with people taking their seats or visiting different booths. This creates a more lively environment and can help distract people if a session is a few minutes late.
However, in the virtual world, you don’t have this luxury.
If a speaker is late and the schedule is disrupted, you run the risk of losing people’s attention. If attendees are just sitting in their office waiting for the session to start and nothing is happening, they are more likely to get bored and leave.
The key takeaway? View your virtual event as a production and this will help you devise strategies and techniques to keep your audience engaged if you have an unplanned gap in the programme.
2. Analytical Skills
In order to persuade key stakeholders, exhibitors, and sponsors to support your virtual event in the future, you need to have strong analytical skills.
You need to be able to comfortably understand the data and what this means for the performance of your virtual event, as you need to prove its worth.
If you don’t know how many visitors different booths have attracted or how many website clicks have been generated, then you have nothing to present to exhibitors and sponsors.
It’s vital you can confidently demonstrate the value of your virtual event and how it can boost their business, otherwise they’ll support a different event instead. Businesses are parting with their cash and time at the end of the day, so it needs to be worth their while.
By harnessing strong analytical skills and being able to drill down into the numbers, you can collate a report which is persuasive and meaningful.
On the iVent platform, collating important metrics has never been easier as you can access data 24/7, 365 days a year by using our simple dashboard. This allows you to view the data that you want at any time, so that you can measure the success of your event before, during, or after it has taken place.
Each of your exhibitors will also get secure access to see their booth data and measure the activity of their individual booth.
3. Visualisation Skills
When hosting a virtual event, you need to be aware that not all content is capable of being delivered virtually, and not all content will work effectively in this environment.
This is why you need to harness good visualisation skills so that you can picture what the virtual event is going to look like from the perspective of your audience.
Regardless of what ‘good’ ideas you have, or what ideas your exhibitors and sponsors think will work, you need to make sure they actually work in practice. Every presentation, speaker session, and activity should enhance the experience of your audience, and if it doesn’t, it needs to go.
This also requires good people skills, as it’s your job to liaise with exhibitors, sponsors, and speakers about the viability of their different ideas.
Whilst you’re thinking about the bigger picture and visualising how everything will work in a practical sense, your exhibitors might be getting lost in their own ideas.
It’s up to you to communicate clearly with them to ensure every piece of content featured in the virtual event brings real value.
4. Good Attention to Detail
Whilst good attention to detail is obviously a skill that is required for any events manager, it is taken to a whole new level when it comes to virtual events.
And the reason why?
The amount of testing that needs to be done to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.
The entire user experience has to be thoroughly checked to ensure all elements work for the audience. The virtual event also needs to work across different devices as not everyone will be joining from their laptop.
Our mobile phones live in the palm of our hands and a lot of people will be joining your event from here. Therefore, as a virtual events manager, you need to make sure the user experience is seamless across all possible devices.
It’s also crucial you test web links and audience interaction features to make sure everything is working the way it should be. For example, if you’re including live polling, you need to check it actually works otherwise you’re not gaining any valuable insights from your audience.
One of the best ways to work out whether you are providing a great user experience is to put yourself in their shoes. Take some time out of your day and try out the virtual event before it goes live. This way you can make any necessary improvements rather than leaving it up to chance.
5. Speaker Management
Speakers are a crucial part of your virtual event, as they are offering up their expertise.
However, they can have a tendency to go over their allotted time slot, or to spend too much time rambling on about themselves. Even worse still, they might forget to ask the audience if they have any questions, or ignore their input altogether.
As a result, you are responsible for directing your speakers and briefing them before the session starts. After all, you want your audience to get that same buzz or feeling of raw emotion that you get from physical events.
To ensure they keep the audience engaged, you could encourage your speakers to join the chatroom or break out areas so that they can get to know the audience a little better.
It also makes good sense to produce detailed speaker briefing notes so that your presenters have some guidelines to follow. This can help mitigate any issues once the event is up and running, and gives them a sense of direction.
You should also do rehearsals with your speakers so that you can test things such as sound quality, how they look on camera (are they blurred/ distorted at all?), and where they are positioned in the frame.
6. Understanding of Different Platforms
Another key skill as a virtual events manager is having a sound knowledge of the various platforms available.
Understanding what each platform has to offer and any potential challenges, will help you choose a virtual event platform that satisfies your requirements.
There is so much functionality to consider, so you need to decide what works best for your event. For example, do you need social media integration, virtual reality, or gamification to make your event a success?
If so, then make sure you choose a platform that has these capabilities.
The main thing is making sure the technology delivers a compelling, virtual experience that engages your audience. This requires significant expertise to recognise how the different features can be used effectively.
At iVent, our platform delivers an immersive experience by including a whole host of features such as gamification, live Q&A sessions, video chat, customised booths, and much more. Whilst the set-up is virtual, our platforms deliver the same experience that attendees would get if they were in the same room.
Being remote doesn’t have to compromise the quality of your event. Get in touch with our team to find out more.
Skills You Need as A Virtual Events Manager
As you can see, the job of a virtual events manager is quite comprehensive as you need to ensure the audience has the very best experience.
Simply organising the event isn’t enough, as it’s your responsibility to tie each of the individual elements together. Whether that’s liaising with exhibitors to help them craft different ideas, to directing your speakers to ensure they engage the audience, you have an overarching role.
By harnessing the skills outlined in this blog post, you can be sure to manage your next virtual event with confidence.
The main takeaway from this post is that your focus should always be your audience.
It is their needs you have to satisfy, and keeping the audience experience in mind at all times will help you organise, plan, and execute a winning virtual event.
If you need any help with this process, then look no further than iVent. Our team of experts have delivered some fantastic events across a whole range of industries and we can do the same for you.
Simply get in touch and let’s get started!