How to host a virtual event quick and cheap

Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

Before we start

In their article 10 tips for hosting virtual events, Zak Ramdani spelled out some general considerations, including:

  • Why are you hosting the event? What do you want to get out of it? (To promote your brand? To have fun? To know more people?)
  • Who should you invite? (Should there be co-hosts? Are audiences allowed to dial in and raise hands?)
  • How should it be formed? (Who should speak first and who second?)
  • Where should it happen? (Clubhouse? Zoom? Twitch?)
  • When should it happen? (Consider time zones.)

Schedule the event

Choose a platform. I always use Google Meet for online gatherings. It offers great virtual event control like Zoom does (breakout rooms, virtual backgrounds), and it can work in any browser like FaceTime can.

  1. If some participants are required to show up, coordinate schedules with a service like WhenIsGood.
  2. Create a calendar event. Invite participants who are going to actively contribute to the event.
  3. Generate an add-to-calendar link for your audiences to join. Since people uses different calendar software (which I’m sorta an expert on), use ADDCAL for maximal compatibility.
This is one event of mine. I also made a short link to this page: tiny.one/pptok.

Prepare a starter pack for your participants

Catching your participants unprepared is detrimental to your event: It embarrasses participants and loses audiences. Always prepare beforehand.

  • how to connect to the right server,
  • how to set up video feeds from their computers/consoles to your live stream, and
  • that they should close their doors and kindly ask their parents to refrain from calling them “sweetheart” during the game.

Make a poster

If you have a tablet with a stylus, a bit of handwriting can add a personal touch to your poster.
  • name and time (including duration — no one wants to commit to an indefinitely long seminar),
  • QR code from ADDCAL (don’t put full URLs on a poster; if you have to, at least shorten it), and
  • nature of this event (free? online-only or mixed?).
Unsplash is famous for its curation of minimalist photos.

Witty fine prints (optional)

Personally, I would try to be witty and leave a fine print like this:

During the event

Play some background music. To avoid copyright infringements, use royalty-free music. Services like Chosic conveniently groups music by moods, which is quite important to keep the atmosphere consistent during the event. One thing I’m looking for is a playlist.

Some videos make great welcome screens, too.

Closing words

As a community builder, I have tons to say when it comes to organizing events. I hope these ideas help you get things done easier and on the cheap. Let me know if you’ve got more to share!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ming

Ming

Tech writer with creative analogies. Website: https://myli.page | Donate: https://ko-fi.com/mingyli