How does a virtual event compare to an in-person meeting?
It's tempting to directly plug our in-person event format into a virtual world. But it is not a 1-to-1 match. The traditional ways we’ve hosted our events in the past need to be edited, and our expectations adjusted to reformat for a remote or partially remote audience. Ultimately, it’s important that we host a virtual meeting that supports our overall event goals, even if that means doing things differently.
Take a look at the event from your audience's perspective – not only is our human attention span too short to sit at a computer screen for a full day, but we also are not surrounded by the distractions of home life. From creating snackable content, to rethinking your agenda for a remote, global audience, we've put together a few tips on how to rethink your in-person plan to host a stand-out event for the virtual space.
What are the benefits of hosting a virtual event during this time?
Staying connected! During this time apart, communication and connection with your target audience is more important than ever. And a virtual event often provides the opportunity to connect with people around the world, that wouldn't have been able to join in person. Virtual events are also scalable (no event space limits!) and more cost-effective than a live event. They can be pre-recorded in pieces to help scheduling, increase quality control, and also save costs. Another major benefit is the ability to measure and accurately report on the event data. This provides the ability to truly track the engagement of your attendees: How many people attended a virtual session, how long did they stay, how many questions were asked, how attendees interacted with sponsors/exhibitors/each other, and so much more!
I’m considering cancelling our event – we don’t have the time and resources to learn a virtual platform. Can LAI help?
Our talented team at LAI is already very familiar with the components needed to create and execute a virtual event from the ground up, and we have the resources to dedicate to your project. We can take the virtual event build off your hands and help to manage as much or as little of the process as you’d like. We can become an extension of your event team – and work alongside you to project manage, customize, and deliver the virtual event for your needs.
Can I work with LAI if I already have secured an event technology platform?
Yes! LAI is platform-agnostic, where we work with all types of platforms to deliver your best virtual event experience. Our well-versed team is familiar with the different capabilities provided within the majority of platforms out there and can handle everything from the technical to the design to the day-of execution to make sure your event is polished, professional, and engaging.
Is there a benefit to working with LAI on multiple events?
We gladly offer a multi-event discount, with the discount dependent on the types of services delivered. Another great benefit is that you’ll work with the same event producer for each event, so you’re able to develop a working relationship and rapport with a team member that truly understands the objectives of your organization.
Can LAI help elevate my virtual event with content and design elements?
Yes! At LAI, we are passionate about delivering creative and unique content and design elements to make sure your attendees are receiving an interactive, engaging, and yes, pretty, event experience. Customized for your brand and event theme, we can create custom, visually stimulating graphics to support your organization’s goals. We also have a talented team of video producers who can create and deliver the kinds of elevated conference videos that you’d see at an in-person, including show-opening videos, awards videos, sponsor highlights, interstitials, and donation videos. Not to mention, our speakers bureau can connect you with big names, industry experts, entertainment acts, and more to truly deliver the most relevant and engaging content for your attendees.
I can procure a virtual event platform myself. Why would I go through LAI?
We like to think of the platform as a house – even though you purchase one, you still need to furnish it. That’s where our team at LAI comes in! Our LAI Producers can help you navigate the development of a virtual experience – get the most of the platform functionality, work through ways to curate the best content for your virtual experience, and execute the program on the day of the event, just like we would if the event was in a hotel or convention center. We understand that your event is unique to your organization and a cookie-cutter solution doesn’t always work. Our team customizes the experience specifically for your event to make it work for your organization, your audience, and what you want it to do.
Whether its pre-production (from filming and platform design/build to planning the logistics) or day-of execution (from livestream management and coordinating talent to fielding last-minute updates), or both, we cover each detail with precision to ensure your program is executed seamlessly from start to finish. Learn more about our virtual event production services.
Is there a specific point in the virtual event process where LAI can help?
We can step in at any point you are at in your process. Whether you’re at the beginning, far along in the event build, or just not sure where to start, our team is armed and ready to help you tackle the uncertain challenges that come along with executing a virtual experience.
What are some of the services LAI offers that others don’t?
At LAI, we are not just live event producers. We are not just a video production agency. We are not just a speakers bureau. Our teams consistently work together on combination projects to deliver a high-quality, well-produced result. And when it comes to a virtual event, we connect the dots between all elements. Our teams understand how video plays a role in the live event, how production enhances the event experience, and how to best feature talent and present their content. With LAI, you are working with a team that packages these services regularly and understands the best way to put forth your message using all of these tools. We are your solution-finder to the complex challenges that come with delivering a virtual event and will provide our industry-proven expertise.
Has LAI produced any virtual events? What do they look like?
Yes! LAI has been hard at work producing a wide variety of virtual events for our clients ranging from enhanced webinars to full-scale virtual experiences. For example, we have produced our own event series on virtual event best practices, an executive roundtable experience, a storyline-based awards show, and a multi-day leadership conference – just to name a few!
Keep up with our latest virtual event projects, along with behind-the-scenes details on how we produced them, on our Projects & Shows page.
What is the average turnaround time for a virtual event?
The turnaround time for your event depend on the level of production you are looking for. We are always open to working with you to achieve your goals in your desired timeline – offering anything from enhanced graphics to a full-scale virtual experience build.
As a general rule of thumb, you should leave at least 15 weeks to plan your virtual event, from concept and research to showtime. We've put together a roadmap for the virtual event planning timeline, along with the steps involved at each stage here.
Do you offer assistance with managing virtual talent?
Yes! LAI has a 30-year legacy of working with top-tier talent. We care about speakers and how their content is delivered. If you book a speaker through us, our team of event coordinators will hold their hand throughout the process to make sure they are comfortable with the event technology, are ready to make a great impression, and deliver a seamless performance. Based on our long history coaching talent, we are also uniquely positioned to help your executives or other internal speakers through a rehearsal and prep-process to reduce the anxiety, prepare them for success, and deliver their talk like a pro.
We value a speaker rehearsals, know how to run them virtually, and we will make sure that all of your content is lined up and ready to go appropriately. We have all contingencies in place, and a methodology for each. Learn more about training talent for virtual events.
What is the cost for virtual event production?
As we all know, virtual events are not one size fits all. They can range from 30-minute webinars, to multi-day, broadcast-quality experiences – which means costs can vary dramatically. However, once you identify a few elements of your event, it will be much easier for you or your virtual event producer to determine the budget needed for production.
From your event date, length, and type, to the features and functionality you need, we break down the 10 elements to determine for budgeting your virtual event here.
The price of your virtual event depends on the level of experience you are looking to deliver. There is also value in creating more of an experience – where you can purchase additional enhancements like custom graphics, engaging videos, experiential elements, and more. However, it will likely be much less expensive than live event production costs. When we look at each a show as a whole, we also make sure to seek out opportunities to offer the most efficient and cost-effective services as possible. If you're wondering how to price your own virtual event, read our blog.
What are some of the unexpected costs of a virtual event?
When budgeting for your virtual event, consider not only the costs that are obvious (platform, talent, etc.), but also the hidden costs that come with new, virtual, categories that might need investment and new skills. There are also more elusive costs to consider, like opportunity cost or the gap between expectation and reality.
Here are some tips on how to take a holistic look at the costs (and opportunities) in virtual events.
Virtual Engagement & Interaction Questions
What is the difference between a webinar, a broadcast, and a full-scale virtual experience?
With so many options for going virtual and the need to reinvent a previously live event experience, each type of virtual experience serves an important, yet different, function in contributing to your event needs.
- Webinar: A webinar can be a meeting or speaker that has 'viewers,' meaning people can watch and engage in Q&A or polling, but are primarily on the webcast to hear and view information being presented by a person or team of people. It allows content to be shared while also offering interactive elements with real time discussion. Ideal for a smaller-sized audience of up to 200 people.
- Broadcast: A broadcast is more like taking your live event and turning it into a live television program. Your broadcast should feature highly-produced segments with speakers and panelists, but also use visual elements like specialized video content and professionally designed graphics for intro bumpers, speaker slides, lower third name plates, live Q&A, and more. It can be 100% live, 100% pre-recorded, or a mix of both.
- Full-scale Virtual Experience: A full-scale virtual event experience provides the same elements as a livestream, but also includes high-levels of production and technology to mirror the experience of an in-person event. You can use customizable platforms to design and simulate spaces – like a general session auditorium, exhibit hall, lobby, and more – to surround attendees in a virtual event world. Incorporating interactive elements like virtual networking breaks, receptions, exhibitor appointments, and more provides attendees opportunities to make connections and participate as they would in person.
How can I combat virtual fatigue at my online event?
Virtual fatigue is real. Meeting organizers are rightfully concerned about their virtual attendees becoming “Zoombies” – feeling drained by the rise in Zoom meetings, video calls, and virtual experiences. Increasing virtual engagement by delivering stand-out content and doing things such as creating an engaging virtual exhibit hall and incorporating visually appealing graphics are ways to keep your audience engaged. We’ve also come up with a list of tips to help you combat Zoom fatigue and ways to keep you and your attendees charged throughout the day.
Producing Your Event Questions
How do I choose a virtual event platform?
There are many platform options out there, so it can often be overwhelming to research them all and determine the one you should choose. First, start with identifying the type of experience you want your users to have. Do you want interactive elements like a virtual exhibit hall and networking rooms? Do you need a payment functionality? Do you just need a more traditional webinar format? This will help narrow down your search. See more about how to choose a virtual event platform.
In the end, we've found that while the functionality of a distribution platform is important, many of them work similarly. What truly differentiates a virtual event is how it’s produced. A virtual event producer is the added factor that can push the creative and technical boundaries on what your platform can deliver. At LAI, we can work with you on determining the right platform for your event needs and can also offer the insight and production value to utilize whatever platform you choose to its maximized potential.
How can I prevent the tech risks of virtual events?
Virtual events rely on technology more than ever, which can be a fickle thing. But there are many ways to help mitigate the tech risks of virtual events by previewing, testing, and practicing as many times as possible before showtime. We recommend you preview the platform from not only an organizer’s but also an attendee’s point of view – get familiar with the platform, make sure everything is working appropriately, and that it is set up in the best way for an easy-to-navigate user experience. Test your participants video and audio, as well as their internet connection. Finally, a no brainer, but practice with your presenters with their day-of technology and setting to make sure everything is running as it should.
See our specific tips, tricks, and tactics to mitigate virtual tech risks here.
How does LAI produce a virtual event?
We help handle the logistics and all the in-between parts that typically happen at a live event, and convert these aspects for the virtual environment. We also add production value to provide a polished experience, whether it be speaker rehearsals, presentation introductions or transitions, recording or managing live/on-demand speech delivery, weaving in sponsor videos, and more. Think of it like a news broadcast – we manage all the feeds, run the trains on time, switch it, make it look seamless, and deliver a high-quality, sophisticated presentation to your audience.
At LAI, we know talent, and are highly focused on making sure that the content delivered is high-quality and polished. We conduct comprehensive talent tech rehearsals to ensure they are prepared for their presentations, and look good doing it. Learn more about the role of a virtual event producer.
What event technology platform does LAI use?
LAI is platform agnostic! We work with all virtual event platforms – the ones you’ve heard of and likely some you haven’t – in order to find the right one for your event. Depending on your event goals and user experience needs, LAI will find the best fit to ensure we provide the desired outcome for your organization and attendees. Read more about the different levels of virtual event packages.
Should we be doing pre-recorded or live presentations?
We are happy to help determine the best plan of action for your content delivery! We’ve seen success with both live and pre-recorded presentations at virtual events. For a more large-scale event, a pre-recorded talk or education session helps to alleviate some of the technical risks of a live broadcast. And if you’re looking for audience engagement, you can still schedule a pre-recorded session to air, and then bring in the speaker to participate in a live Q&A. If you’re interested in a pre-record talk, we have an expert video team that can help you set up your speakers, capture the recording, and make sure the audio and video quality are event-ready. We can also offer services to design the recorded talk, packing up the recording with a branded graphic treatment to deliver a truly polished result.
How do I incorporate exhibit halls and sponsor engagement virtually?
We get that making sure your exhibitors and sponsors receive the engagement they expected is critical for future business success. One way to do so is through virtual exhibit halls – which exist on a majority of platforms. Some are more traditional, where others feel more like a real-life exhibit hall with booth design, custom graphics, exhibitor logos, video, and more. We are happy to work with you to find the right fit for your needs and budget.
There are many other opportunities to engage sponsors including featured sponsor graphics during the live stream, giving livestream or presenter intros, or logo placement throughout the platform. We’ve also been exploring other interesting ways to highlight sponsors by working with our LAI speaker talent to deliver a unique experience for attendees (For example: A sponsored happy hour, providing a virtual wine tasting with one of our master sommeliers).
We are always willing to work with you on developing new creative and unique ways to engage your sponsors and exhibitors with your attendees! Check out our blog for more sponsor engagement tips.
Security is priority for our event. I need to ensure we use a secure virtual event solution – the traditional platforms won’t cut it. Can you help?
We understand the need for a secure platform – and are here to help you find one! We can either investigate technologies to share with your organization for approval, or work with your team to identify IT-approved platforms. As we are not dedicated to one platform, we can work with anything that has been deemed safe to use by your organization.
What is the difference between traditional and broadcast quality production?
Traditional level production typically will utilize Zoom or a similar basic event platform and is more of your typical webinar-style experience. A livestream technician will be provided to ensure all speakers are prepped and that the broadcast goes smoothly, but the majority of the viewing program is controlled by the speakers themselves. Broadcast level production utilizes professional services, studios, and often isolates the speakers and the content to add more production value to the experience. This includes a full technical crew similar to an in-person session, with options for live switching with graphics content, video support, cameras, and more.
I already have a webinar platform that I am happy with, but would like to add an additional layer of production. Does LAI help with that?
Yes! We understand and even run our own webinars with varying levels of production, depending on the needs of the event and audience. If you’re looking to jazz up your current webinar experience, we can work within your existing platform to elevate the content with custom graphics, pre-produced video, and more to deliver a more polished, broadcast-quality experience. See how we've added production value to webinar platforms to create a more engaging, unique experience.
What's the difference between a virtual meeting producer and an event tech platform?
An event tech platform provides a medium to deliver your event content, ranging in capabilities depending on the one you choose. On the other hand, a virtual producer will typically help you with most of the technical aspects (and then some!) of your virtual meeting – and all at an upfront cost. They are as involved with the process from start to finish as you'd like – helping conceptualize and develop your virtual event's tone and look and feel, building out the platform itself, prepping all logistics, talent, rehearsals, and content, all the way to delivering a broadcast-quality experience the day-of.
Often times, a seemingly less expensive virtual event platform will deliver the vessel for you to build out your meeting at a flat cost, but additional fees, add-ons, and vendors are required as organizers add customized elements or production value. What a majority of meeting organizers find out when they make a platform-only purchase, is that they eventually will need to invest in additional resources, services, or support to build out a high-quality and polished virtual event.
Take a look at our breakdown of what a virtual event producer does, and how they can help make your event the best experience possible for your attendees.
What is a Livestream Platform or Host Platform?
The livestream or video of your event needs somewhere to “live” so it can be viewed or played on-demand. Some organizations have a website or developers that are able to accommodate this; however, it’s typically only for a single livestream event or two. If you’re streaming an entire conference with multiple sessions, in most cases, you’ll need LAI (or someone) to provide a platform to “host” these videos and content. Check out some of our top strategies to mitigate the tech risks of a virtual event.
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Do you have more questions?
Well we have more answers for you! Reach out to our team today to start talking all things virtual event design and online meeting management.