What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is any organized meet-up that takes place online rather than in a physical location. These events can range from small question-and-answer sessions to conferences with hundreds of attendees.
Types of events
- Awards programs
- Organization meetings
- Speaker discussions
- Community service projects
- Meet-ups or social events
- An email message (or short video message)
- An e-card (Kudoboard)
- Camtasia screengrab video
- A social media post
Which format is right for you?
- Zoom is the preferred platform at UNC Charlotte - most college-wide events will be through Zoom. Zoom is fully interactive and allows all participants to see, speak, hear and screen-share with each other. Zoom also includes breakout room functionality. The University’s license allows meetings with up to 300 attendees. Zoom sessions are recordable.
- For events with more than 100 attendees, Zoom Webinar – a view-only platform where the attendees cannot see each other, and the Host cannot see the attendees – may be an option for you. Please contact Natasha Stracener at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss scheduling a Zoom meeting/webinar.
- Zoom Tips and Resources
- WebEx is Cisco’s video and team collaboration software platform. It allows chat, video, and phone capabilities. WebEx offers both meeting and events centers.
- WebEx Tips and Resources
- Google Meet works best for short, small meetings. Google Meet offers many of the features of Zoom or WebEx, including the ability to share your screen, change the layout, mute participants, and share text or documents in the chat area.
- Google Meets Resources:
- Audio Integration and Support for Learning Environment (AISLE), part of the Division of Academic Affairs, supports video conferences through its Emerging Media Communications Team.
Virtual Meeting and Event Resources
- Virtual Events: The Ultimate Guide
- How to Host a Successful Virtual Event
- What It Takes to Run a Virtual Meeting
- How to Look Better on Zoom
Virtual Event Tips
Set goals and objectives
- Define your audience (Faculty, staff, students, alumni, businesses).
- When is the event?
- How is your event usually presented (without social distancing measures)?
- What are your goals? (suggest 1-3)
- Who is most comfortable serving as the host and controlling technology (a host can be different from the presenter)?
- Test lighting prior to the event — straight-on lighting is best, especially if you have a window with natural light on your side to fill out your shadows.
- Choose a spot with a neutral background — nothing too busy
- Have your camera at face level.
- Make sure you are in a quiet area (phone on silent, door closed, remove noisy jewelry, etc.).
- Mute your microphone whenever you’re not speaking — even if you’re alone in the room.
- Close all applications on your computer if you are screen sharing.
For virtual events it’s appropriate to send an email invitation 3-4 weeks prior to the event. A save the date is not required. Hard copy invitations are only necessary for those you do not have an email address for, however, the guest will need an email address to receive the virtual link. Make sure to collect that information in the RSVP. Again, whether you are sending an electronic or printed invitation, always identify who, what, when, where, and why. See this email invitation as an example.
It is appropriate to send the virtual link one day prior to the event. With the link you should remind them of the date and time of the event along with any other information they may need for your specific event. Also include a contact for the AISLE tech just in case any of the guests has issues logging on.
Since you are losing a big part of what in person events are for – human interaction – it is very important to make sure your guests don’t feel lost behind a screen. Here are some good examples to keep your audience engaged.
- Keep the chat open for the audience to send messages to each other or to the panelists (program participants).
- Q&A through the chat feature. These questions should go to panelists only so that they are the ones to give an answer. If the group is small, the audience can use the “hand raise” feature and ask their question live through their camera/microphone.
- Send a gift prior to the event. This gift can be a gift card to get lunch/dinner to enjoy during the event or a small tangible gift that has to do with the program (i.e. a book written and signed by the guest speaker)
- Host your event with the capabilities for participants to have their cameras on to better engage with each other.