By Carly Ford, Senior Customer Success Manager, and Jeanette Sangston, Customer Success Team Lead
When you host a virtual or hybrid event, you are no doubt aware that one of the most important parts of the planning process is building out your agenda. It’s in the agenda where you’re including all of your important topics, highlighting your keynote speakers, and also attempting to use all this content to appeal to your audience. You know this is the entertainment your attendees are there for!
At Accelevents, we’ve captured some best practices from all of our clients on how to prepare the perfect agenda for your upcoming event.
It’s best to start by making a list or an outline of your agenda, rather than attempting to write it all out at once. This could include information about the structure of your event, such as how long it will be, or information about your speakers and how many you’ll have.
It can be helpful to use information from a previous event you’ve held to determine the key items you need to include in this list. If this is a new event, you’ll start fresh with all new ideas!
Some top tips to consider when building out your agenda are to keep your sessions to a reasonable length depending on the content. Around an hour is the sweet spot for a session so your attendees stay engaged throughout but this can vary depending on the type of session and the content.
You’ll also want to consider whether you’ll have a question and answer period included to accommodate for that time. Breaks are also important to give your attendees time to step away from the screen. If you will be providing entertainment for your attendees, a lunch break is a great time to add that in! A break can also be used to encourage your participants to check out other areas of your event. If you have exhibitors, you’ll want your attendees visiting them.
For the content of your event, will you start with a welcome speech or opening remarks? Do you have engaging speakers to act as your keynote speakers? Or will you have a panel of speakers for a discussion? Are any of your speakers willing to permit questions from attendees? These are some questions you’ll need to ask to format your agenda properly to include each of these features.
One of the most common mistakes that event organizers make is not delegating tasks to their team. If you have a team helping you, be sure to utilize them properly! Assigning leadership roles within your team will help to ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible.
While building out your agenda, it’s also helpful to incorporate backup plans in case a speaker is no longer available. You can also consider pre-recorded content or simulated live sessions if that’s the case.
Communication with key participants like your keynote speaker is helpful leading up to your event to make sure they’ll be present for their session. And of course, rehearsals are absolutely essential. Testing out your platform with your internal team and then with your speakers so they are comfortable is key so that participation is smooth the day of your event!
With these best practices in mind, you are now ready to set forth in building out the structure of your event agenda, enabling you to dive into the details and develop plans to invite and excite potential attendees!