January 18, 2022

Let's Talk About It: Planning A Virtual Event Is Stressful

Running a virtual event is as stressful as walking a tightrope and as rewarding as being an offensive lineman. You can fall at any moment; when it goes well, you barely get a pat on the back, and when someone else messes up, you are often blamed for it.If that sounds crazy, consider CareerCast's 2019 survey, which ranked event planning as the 6th most stressful occupation in the world—just behind enlisted military personnel, firefighters and pilots. And that came before events shifted online virtually overnight. Not to generalize, but experience proves that over the last 20 months, C-levels and executives think virtual events are a waste of time and can't be valuable. Maybe the survey results will move up to a top 3 finish.

Running a successful virtual event requires time, preparation, experience, and trusted partners. All while keeping your team on track and picking the right virtual event platform (wait, you can pick a wrong one?!)...all while still giving your guests the "ease of use and delight" they desire. It's a daunting task for even the most experienced event coordinators.

Since the beginning of the Pandemic, Filo has executed hundreds of virtual events that range from a less than 100 person UNICEF workshop to a 5,000 plus User conference for Anaplan. We've learned tried-and-true tips that will help you execute your event, and *gasp* actually enjoy it and make your executives appreciate the work you put into it.

Why is planning a virtual event so stressful? 

Stress arises from deeper problems in your virtual event planning process. So to minimize the stress of planning (and prevent it in the future), you need to understand—and combat—its root causes. This starts with: 

Insufficient planning time

Breaking news, tight and inflexible deadlines are stressful. And event day is the ultimate inflexible deadline.

The solution: Align with a strategic partner for your virtual event platform. Signing up for the cheaper platform makes the deadline more challenging to achieve. Picking the right partner will make the deadline easy and breezy.

Misaligned expectations

Virtual events can be impactful. They're not just infomercials with pretty colors that people can watch at any time; they're a huge driver of demand and collaboration: 73 percent of B2B marketers use virtual events to identify leads and demand. 

This opens the door to disconnected expectations from leadership, especially from CEOs and CMOs looking for your virtual event to "check a box." This forces you to justify your event budget constantly. I've seen this eat at our partners' souls first-hand.

The Solution: Don't be shy in letting leadership know the impact your virtual event can make. You'll be surprised at how much they appreciate the pushback.

Insufficient organization

With so many internal and external stakeholders involved, it's hard to keep everyone moving in the same direction at the same pace. A key to hosting a successful virtual event is streamlined and clear project management, which can be difficult to manage without empowering your project managers. 

The Solution: Get rid of the email threads. Yes, I know they are the easy way out. At Filo, we create planning floors with a dedicated virtual room from tasks, reminders, content, recorded calls, and everything needed to organize the event effectively.

Cross-departmental and cross-team miscommunication

The biggest appeal of virtual events are their scale and potential diversity. Events centralize a staggering amount of thought leadership, networking opportunities, sponsor booths, amenities, etc., in one centralized venue. 

This creates a diverse, well-rounded attendee experience, but getting everyone in the right place at the right time with the right preparation also requires a tremendous amount of coordination.

The Solution: Make your virtual event available before the event starts. In-person events are limited because of commuting and physically getting to the venue. Virtual events can be joined in a second. Instead of thinking about what you lose with a virtual event vs. in-person. Think about what you gain! 

Create a welcome floor or welcome page where people can get acclimated and engage with other attendees ahead of time.

Filo is one of the most sophisticated and easy-to-integrate virtual platforms on the market. We can connect outside tools and software within Filo to make your virtual event the most unique and impactful experience possible. All while making everyone involved have less stress and have fun!