Prevent Virtual Event Nightmares: How Producers Prepare Speakers, Exhibitors & Attendees

nightmaresOn February 23rd I’m going to experience another first.  Dennis Shiao, Director of Marketing at InXpo, and I will be presenting together at the Virtual Edge Summit, to be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, February 22-23, 2010.

Although I have been presenting my tradeshow training workshops for over 25 years, and I have presented virtually for many years, I have never before co-presented where one presenter is live at the conference, and the other is virtual. I’m going to be the virtual component for the session Prevent Virtual Event Nightmares: How Producers Prepare Speakers, Exhibitors and Attendees.”

The topic we’re covering is far larger than the time we have to cover it. However, the major challenge to overcome is making sure all players know what to do, and how to do what they need to do, in a virtual environment. Dennis will focus on the technology, or the hardware, and I will concentrate on the software, or the people skills.

The key ingredient for all players to engineer a successful event lies in the simple process of planning and preparation.  Easy enough, yet very few exhibitors really take time to truly understand what this means.  Participating in virtual events means not only knowing, and understanding the technology platform, it also means honing the necessary skills for successful results.

For a speaker this includes knowing the program objectives, audience needs, as well as delivering good solid information.  Speakers who have never participated in a virtual event could experience a rude awakening, if unprepared. Speaking into thin air is a far cry from presenting in front of a live audience.  The dynamics, the energy, and presentation style all come into play.

My recommendation for event organizers is to either do a superlative job of preparing the speaker (if they are not of “prima donna” status, and are coachable), or rather select a presenter with some virtual event experience.  So much of the success of an event hinges on the quality of the presentations, and the information shared.

As for the exhibitors, in addition to becoming familiar with the technology, they need to know what outcomes they want to achieve, set measurable goals and then plan their strategy accordingly.

Hope that many of you can attend the session and the show – it’s complimentary.

Susan Friedmann
For 25 years, Susan Friedmann, The Tradeshow Coach, has helped companies ramp up their trade show results with her unique ExhibitSmart (TM) Training System. International best-selling author of "Meeting and Event Planning for Dummies," "Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market," and many other titles.
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