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June 2024
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6 Tips for Organizing a Successful Online Event

By Diana Robertson

“Cartoon woman looking at others during online conference

A month before the District 91 Conference in 2020, the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, and everything that could go wrong did. Read the six tips below to learn how this team turned its event around from disaster to an online success.

1Put the Value for Your Attendees First

If you have a mixed audience—such as new members, non-serving members, club officers, and District leaders—structure your event so that it will be of value to everyone and look for topics that are interesting: public speaking tips from pros, leadership, improvisation/Table Topics®, debates, humor, etc. Just make sure that your topics are centered around self-development, communication, and leadership to maximize value for everyone.

2Marketing Is Everything

For a small event, one active District Public Relations Manager might be able to handle the job, but if you’re planning a large event, you’ll need a marketing team. The D91 Conference had two copywriters for social media posts, one designer for the visuals, one video editor, and a person responsible for the website. Find a way to track your marketing performance or you won’t know what worked and what didn’t.

3Give It a Professional Feel

The D91 Conference team worked to maintain a professional look to establish credibility. This included creating a website, avoiding images of poor quality, and having a modern graphic design. These days you can make astonishing graphics without any prior experience. A free service that can help is Canva. Want a webpage but don’t know how to code? There are plenty of website-building platforms that don’t require that knowledge, such as WordPress.

4Master Your Technology

Whatever technology you use, be it the Zoom app for online events or microphones for in-person events, make sure to test it plenty of times and let all your presenters check it ahead of time too. Then have a Plan B in case any of your technology fails at the last minute.

5Preparation Is Always Key

Make sure every person is fully aware of their role on the day and have plenty of backup plans in place. Being live for two days for nearly 20 hours meant there were plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong, which is why it was rehearsed multiple times. Behind the scenes, we had a backup for every major role.

6Keep Experimenting

Don’t be afraid to try new approaches, because when one door shuts another one opens. At the time, nobody was even sure that public speaking could be performed online, or if Zoom, an app very few people had heard of at the time, wouldn’t crash in the middle of the event. Attendees panicked, presenters dropped off, even the leaders were skeptical. Yet, the team continued to work hard and kept on experimenting. And you can do the same with your events!


These tips are extracted from the author’s full February 2021 article. Read it here.

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