5 cool virtual event hacks for 2021 (that aren’t to do with sound & lighting)

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As with anything that experiences a sharp upturn in popularity, the demand for bigger, better, smarter virtual events is high as we roll into 2021. The more accustomed we become to tuning into the world of online conferences, classes and workshops, the more we expect of them. There’s no room for the stagnated virtual offering today – only for those that stay atop of the latest tools and hacks in order to keep their attendees satiated, and coming back for more. 

That leads us nicely onto the below – a round-up of some really cool virtual event hacks that you may not have thought of. Whether you’re looking to run a large-scale conference or an intimate webinar, these latest tips and tricks will help take your event to the next level. 

  1. Use Interprefy for seamless translation

    Imagine the doors that would open if you could open your virtual event to people around the globe… who didn’t speak the same language as you.

    No need to imagine because (you guessed it) this is now possible thanks to the leading provider of remote interpretation technology, Interprefy’s newly announced Select desktop app. It allows real-time interpreting to be added to any event held on Zoom, Webex and other web conferencing and live streaming platforms, and is super-easy to use. 

    Your event attendees just need to download and open the Interprefy app, choose the audio language they want to listen in, and select your event. The interpreter will then start to speak, with the app auto-muting the original speaker for immaculate live interpreting. Clever, huh?

  2. Realise it’s ok to pre-record 

    One of the biggest mistakes virtual events hosts make is making the assumption that every single minute of their event needs to be live. Enter one of the greatest virtual event hacks of them all: the power of using pre-recorded segments to keep things slick, professional and stress-free. 

    Of course, it’s natural that you’ll want there to be plenty of interactivity during your event. This is sensible, and still totally possible with a pre-recorded event. You could for example, show your recording first, then switch to live-streaming for a networking or Q&A session. You could also flip between recordings and live segments.

    By pre-recording certain sections, you significantly take pressure off yourself to have to perform for X amount of time. Plus, you lower the risk of mistakes happening during important demos, and of technical glitches in general. 

    You can also give your event a higher production value overall. Try incorporating motion graphics and titling into your pre-recorded bits to see what we mean!

  3. Use a teleprompter

    You’d never see your favourite live breakfast show trying to deliver the news without a script. So it follows that live events should use one too. The problem with using printouts or a split screen on your computer, though, is that you’ll struggle to maintain ‘eye-contact’ with your audience when constantly glancing down or to the side. 

    The answer? Use a teleprompter app on a separate screen, and place it behind (and slightly above) your webcam or the screen you're hosting your event on. The trick is to make sure the teleprompter screen is placed a reasonable distance away – definitely further than you’d normally have a computer screen (hence the massive font you see people using on teleprompters). This is because the further away the screen is, the less your eyes move from side to side when reading. Bingo.

    Some great teleprompter apps (all available on IOS and Google Play) to use for live events include PromptSmart, Selvi, Teleprompter Pro Lite, BIGVU and Prompster.

  4. Use an integrated audience response system 

    Assessing audience engagement is a key part of any long-term virtual events strategy. Platforms are constantly updating their offering to reflect this, bringing really robust analytics tools to the table to help hosts figure out what works well and what doesn't. 

    We’re particularly impressed by award-winning virtual and hybrid event platform, Glisser, which lets hosts track engagement in real time with an easy-to-interpret ‘Glisser Engagement Score’. Glisser can be used in line with major live streaming providers, and offers powerful audience analytics to help hosts monitor their event ROI. Nice. 

  5. Offer real-life refreshments 

    Ever secretly thought one of the biggest draws to certain conferences is the amazing free lunch provided? It’s true, virtual events do tend to lack those welcome refreshment perks that help make for a more relaxed, dynamic experience. 

    While it’s going to be pretty hard to replicate after-event pints on a glorious rooftop bar, you can still bring an element of refreshment hybridity to your virtual event. 

    Why not send attendees vouchers in advance and organise a mid-event lunch, where each person orders food for the same time? Or you could organise for a craft beer company to deliver a couple of beers to each participant for after-event networking. Doing something as simple as this can be a great ice-breaker and help to make participants feel more involved and engaged.

    So there you have it – five great hacks you (probably) hadn’t thought of to make your next virtual event stand out. That’s a wrap.