Having just successfully completed a large virtual medical conference for a long standing client, I wanted to share my experience and I hope this is helpful to you.
The morale of the tale also being don’t delay if you need to get people together, just do it virtually.
It will never replace face to face interaction, but a virtual event is a close second best and I feel we’re well placed to help you – Lida DeSouza
We can assist to pull the whole virtual event off, from start to finish. With our experience of organising this conference we can help you navigate this new world of virtual events from a conference perspective, so not just another zoom call.
Our client normally organises live events however due to COVID they decided to pivot to virtual. Below we have outlined how we helped our client run a very important medical virtual event.
Virtual Conferencing Platform
Virtual conferencing platforms vary enormously, some suppliers offer a 2-D platform although fully immersive 3-D versions are evolving nicely and looking very exciting! What is meant by a 3-D conferencing platform is that you can walk virtually into the venue and around exhibition booths, interact with the exhibitors, network with people in a Networking Lounge etc.
We are able to get quotes for you from different suppliers based on what you would like to achieve and of course your budget and will advise if a 2-D or 3-D platform is more appropriate for your event.
Daily recordings were made available to all conference delegates for a period of several months so those who couldn’t watch it live were able to do so on-demand in their own time. Our conference ran over 3 days for 4 hours each day and being global, due to the different time zones, many delegates watched on-demand rather than live.
Speakers’ slide presentations were also collected post event (a set provided by and approved by the speakers) and these were also made available to all delegates on the platform. So, for a period of time post-event, the platform is an easily accessible resource for a number of conference materials, including the daily recordings of the virtual event.
Speakers, Chairs and Moderators
Whichever platform you run with, plenary and other speakers can either present live or pre-record, or a combination of both. All speakers have what’s called an ‘on-boarding’ session with an engineer whereby they would run through with the speaker exactly how the conferencing platform works, check the IT equipment the speaker will be using, their broadband speed, the visible background etc. This call can last from as little as 15 minutes to up to 2hrs, which largely depends on how familiar and expert the speaker is and perhaps how many previous conferences/events they’re spoken at previously.
Speakers would also need to be familiar and comfortable with advancing their slide presentations (if using slides) and possibly also the Question & Answer Module.
If required, the platform supplier is also able to provide a presenter package which includes a webcam, laptop, lapel mic, in-ear comms, LED lighting, tripods and cabling.
Exhibitors and Sponsors
I’ve touched on this briefly above and there is now fab software available which integrates with the webcasting platform and with your camera and audio switched on (you appear as a small video icon) you can have a discussion with exhibitors/sponsors on their stands. There is an opportunity for sponsors to divide their stands so they have a discussion area and a video or presentation area.
So the delegate experience with sponsors and exhibitors can be fully immersive.
We handled delegate registration through a third-party registration system; alternatively some clients have their own registration system and would obviously rather use that.
If you’re inviting conference delegates to submit research abstracts for poster presentation we can walk you through how these can best be displayed on the platform. In the case of our recent virtual conference, as well as their e-poster, we also gave authors an opportunity to have a short video or slides with audio, plus a photo of the presenter and their abstract.
Virtual Conference Management
For this virtual event we handled everything on behalf of our client but worked alongside the Scientific Committee and one other stakeholder, keeping everyone informed about all timelines and responsibilities.
From plenary speakers, to exhibitors, conference delegates and the tech people involved in producing the ‘show’, everyone has to be kept in the loop and to be fully aware of the way the whole virtual event will run. Our conference management skills over many, many years means we’re in a good place to pull it all together, as we did successfully on this virtual event.
We also created a post-conference feedback questionnaire which was sent out to all registered delegates and the feedback was collated into a summary document for our client.
Our attention to detail meant we checked all the collateral on the platform, prior to the platform going live.
Let us help you organise your next virtual event
Get in touch with DeSouza Associates today- don’t delay!
We can help you organise that conference that you’ve been putting off until the virus goes away, which unfortunately is not going to happen in a hurry, so we’ll create an amazing virtual event experience for you and your delegates.