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How To Plan A Hitch-free Virtual Event In Nigeria

Every event in Nigeria is either in-person, hybrid or virtual. Why in-person events are invaluable, we are faced with reality where planning a virtual event is becoming a necessity. 

A virtual event is similar to a physical event except that it takes place online.

A virtual event may be a wedding, corporate or social gathering. In a virtual event, you can either connect with your participants via a video chat or voice call. 

Going virtual means everyone can connect and engage in real-time from different locations around the world.  

A virtual event has its own pros and cons just like an in-person event. It is cheaper: no travel or accommodation booking is required. 

When you think of the cost of hiring an event decorator, ushers etc., a virtual event is cheaper than an in-person event.

It is more convenient because it can be accessible anytime, anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.

There is a high level of participation because more people can actively participate in a virtual event from any part of the world. 

Rather than cancel your event due to bad weather, travel ban or other unforeseen circumstances, you can host a virtual event.

For some of your participants, the thoughts of leaving their homes behind to travel down for your event is no longer an issue to worry about because a virtual event helps to save useful time for other productive duties. 

With a virtual event, you are able to promote, execute and manage your event from the comfort of your home.

On the contrary, virtual events do not have the kind of audience engagement and interaction that an in-person event guarantees. It is also very difficult for your participants to network in a virtual event.

Since virtual events depend on technology and internet, it may be difficult for some of your participants who do not have internet-enabled devices to participate.

More so, it is easier for your participants to disconnect from your virtual event that to walk out of your event venue in an in-person event. 

There is also a high tendency to struggle with video and audio quality, soundproofing or background noise in a virtual event.

However, planning a virtual event requires the same attention as an in-person event. for a virtual event to be successful, it needs to be carefully planned. 

If you do not have the right knowledge, equipment, facility or strategy, it may be extremely difficult for you to plan a hitch-free virtual event.

1. Understand your audience
Who are your target audience? Are they tech inclined? Are they familiar with basic social media tools? When planning a virtual event, you should always consider your target audience and understand their personalities.

2. Choose the most suitable and accessible platform
You must understand that all platforms are not the same nor have the same feature. Different platforms have their pros and cons. There are so many platforms to choose from.

You just have to select the most suitable platform that suits your audience size, objectives and can easily be accessed by your target audience. 

You must consider your potential audience and the type of device they we most likely be used. You must choose a platform that is compatible with their devices.

3. You may use social media platforms
You can either use videoconferencing tools or social media platforms for your virtual event. Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouTube Live and Periscope are popular social media platform. These platforms offer almost the same basic features.

4. Test-run before the event
Do not assume that all your participants are digital savvy. Do not assume that they are all vast using videoconferencing technology. 

Some of these platforms offer free trails where you can test run the platform before the event.

You must ensure that you explain how they can make use of the platform so that they familiarize themselves with the basic functionalities. 

Test running will also help you to know whether or not everything is in place and to find out any technical error that may occur.

5. Promote your virtual event
Do not assume that people will attend your event just because it is a virtual event. Just like an in-person event, you need to promote your virtual event likewise so that people can participate.

6. Brand your event
There will most likely be other events competing for your participants’ time. This is why you must brand your event well such that it becomes a must-attend event.

7. Register your participants
Why is registration important for your event? Data is the new gold. Data will help you to know how many participants are likely to attend your event. 

You need to collect basic attendee data to track and plan for future events. You can use platforms like Google Form or Eventbrite to collect these data.

8. Brief your speakers
You need to brief your speakers very carefully in a virtual event. Make sure that your speakers are fully aware about and prepared for the flow of the event. Encourage them to always go straight to the point. 

9. Master the platform personally
You must ensure that you are personally fluent on the platform being used. Whether you will be using your computer or phone, make sure that you master the platform well.

10. Choose a suitable venue
Just because it is a virtual event does not mean it can be held anywhere. It is not compulsory for you to use your office; neither do you need a luxury venue. 

You need a venue with basic facilities and equipment such as a stage, audio-visual tools and a good background.  

11. Find a quiet place
Nothing feel as awkward or unprofessional as listening to the noise of children or passersby in the background. Make sure that your location is as quiet as possible.

12. Light
How illuminated is your venue? What kind of light will you use for your proposed venue or location? Will you use artificial or natural lighting effects.

13. Internet bandwidth
In order to have a smooth virtual event choose a network connection with a fast internet connection and a high bandwidth so that you will not spend a large part of your event saying “Hello, can you hear me?”

14. Have a theme
Virtual events have different themes just like an in-person event. it could be corporate or informal theme depending on your objectives. Whichever one you eventually settle down for, ensure that it must be unique.

15. Develop a clear agenda for your event
You need to provide a clear agenda for your virtual event and allocate time for each session so that your potential participants can plan ahead.

16. Keep it simple
Hosting a luxury virtual event won’t be impressive on a computer screen, rather it should be kept simple, short and engaging.

17. Send multiple reminders
There are so many virtual events happening in Nigeria. People are likely to forget about your event if you don’t send multiple reminders. Do not assume that people will always remember.

18. Have a tech team
Technical challenges and internet connections are two of the major challenges when hosting a virtual event in Nigeria. 

Technical glitches are more likely to crop. This is why you need to have a standby digital team. You need a team that understands these technicalities.

19. Engage your audience creatively
Just because an event is virtual does not mean that you cannot make it feel real. It is difficult for your participants to sit down for two hours glued to their computer screens or mobile phones and listening to the speakers alone.

Your participants must be actively involved in your event and it is your duty to come up with creative ways to engage your audience.

20. Make it entertaining
Who says that you cannot incorporate entertainment into your virtual event? if you want to make your event more entertaining, think of a speed painting, a musical or spoken word performance.

21. Timing is essential
How long a virtual event should last is dependent on the context, the audience and the different time zones. 

As a rule of thumb, the longer a virtual event, the more your participants lose interest. Make every session of your virtual event as brief as possible.

Sitting glued to a computer screen is not as easy as sitting in an event venue. When choosing the time for your event, remember that weekends during the early evening are usually the best time. 

You must ensure that the day does not clash with a major event such as UEFA Champions League or BBNaija.

22. Privacy and data security are important
You need to put in cybersecurity into consideration when planning a virtual event in Nigeria. 

You must put in measures to prevent breaches in privacy. To ensure that every detail submitted is only accessible by you alone, your website must be well encrypted. 

You must make sure that you use a secure platform and collect only relevant information from your participants.

23. Hire expertise service
There are some companies in Nigeria that specialize in creating professional virtual events. 

They have all the facility, equipment and technical know-how. They setup, host and manage your virtual event for you.

24. Choose a professional virtual MC
You need to hire a MC who can moderate your virtual event in a professional way. Mind you, your virtual MC must be comfortable with looking at the camera and not script in his hands.

25. You may opt for an audio-only event
It has been observed that participants in a virtual event are more likely to experience zoom fatigue. 

Video conferencing requires a large amount of mental effort. With an audio-only platform, your participants can participate in your virtual event while multi-tasking other chores.

26. Post-Event Thank You Gifts
A virtual event is not a reason to cancel party jollof or souvenirs. You can always send your gifts after your virtual events via delivery bikes. This is a creative way to make your virtual event feel like an in-person event.

27. Post-event communication matters too
There is a need to keep the vibe going after your virtual event is done. This is why follow-up and post-event survey is necessary to understand your participants’ experience. You must continue to engage your participants after your event.