Imagine you’re waiting for a livestream to start with a countdown on the screen. The program begins, music fades in and the virtual presenter comes on screen. Just as they begin to talk, the picture quality takes a turn for the worse and their first words are choppy.
Maybe you guessed it; the presenter’s internet failed. What they didn’t expect was the presenter’s child playing Xbox at that very moment and completely hijacking the bandwidth.
At NMR, we’ve seen it all. More importantly, we know how to prevent it. There is no “one size fits all” for virtual events, but the things that can go wrong seem to follow some patterns. These are five things that commonly go wrong in virtual events and how we’ve learned to prevent them.
Just like our presenter earlier, a lousy internet connection is the number one problem in virtual events. Between unreliable service providers and shared connections, there are about a hundred issues that all stem from a bad signal. Since you’re reading this, you’re an internet user yourself and know the pain of buffering. Fortunately there are some ways to combat the threat of faulty WiFi.
Presenter Tech Audit
The first way we ensure a good connection is through a series of tech checks. Before a presenter even enters rehearsals, they need an audit of their equipment and a virtual site survey, including an internet speed test. We include this service with our presenter tech kits or for a low rate. Studio time shouldn’t be spent restarting routers.
Our first solution for notoriously bad internet is a good old fashioned ethernet cable. When the stakes are high, there’s no comparison to a landline. We can set it up or walk you through it. Cue AOL dial up noises.
When hardwiring isn’t an option and the show needs to go off without a hitch, the final answer is bonded cellular networks. This can be used as a backup to hardwiring, or as the main connection. It’s basically a wireless router that can be set up almost anywhere. This option can get pricey, but you get what you pay for. As long as cell service is around, bonded cellular is up for the task.
Use this rule of thumb: the more high-profile a speaker is, the less time they will have to prepare, if any. Pinning down celebrities and c-suites can be a challenge, but for those who do have time ahead, we’ve got a plan to give them a crash course in professional broadcasting.
Before a presenter ever enters rehearsal, they should be familiar with their role and the tech in place to help them succeed. To help them understand the flow and hit the ground running for rehearsals, we offer a low cost onboarding option. With just a single tech and small studio, presenters can test the waters in a low risk onboarding session.
Virtual Green Room
Nothing improves confidence like a virtual confidence monitor, and suite of accompanying widgets. Our virtual green room innovation creates an advantageous view with teleprompter and other comforts added to meet your presenter’s needs. Presenters are able to level up their production, and bring a dialed in approach to rehearsals and the show.
Power and Equipment Failures
Next to bad internet, a power outage or short circuit will send your virtual event exactly nowhere. This might be the scariest of all the things that go wrong in virtual events. That’s why we have fail-safes the other guys don’t.
Backups and Redundancy
You might think we’re repeating ourselves, and that’s because we are. We’ve got backups for our backups, and dual service gigabit level internet service providers for all our broadcasts. Our equipment is always the highest quality, no need to say that again.
In the unforeseen event of a power outage, your show is cleared for an extension with our back up generators that kick on in such an event. Rather than a black out and static, we’re able to wind down naturally and call the show for additional time, usually until the power returns.
Lack of Engaging Content
This one is the silent killer, since not all difficulties are technical. To put it simply, making the switch to virtual events can frazzle even the most seasoned planners. Some get so overwhelmed they end up sucking out the fun. We’re events people, so we know how to amplify your message with tech.
Gamification and Leaderboards
Hopefully we’re not the first ones to tell you that virtual events can be fun, and even illicit virtual FOMO. With gamification like digital scavenger hunts, attendees can actually get excited, bouncing around and collecting points. Nothing glues someone to their keyboard like seeing their name rise through the rankings of a company leaderboard.
Facebook and LinkedIn have reactions, why doesn’t your virtual event? Our custom built real-time reactions offer audience feedback and a wealth of data. Presenters can even see the reactions as they’re on stage, providing the feedback that’s sometimes missing from virtual. They can be custom to your event and provide branded insight beyond just likes and hearts.
Last Minute Changes
Just don’t, if you can manage. In person, changes on the fly are just as tricky. In any case, the less time spent testing and rehearsing the correct content, the more unprepared the teams will be.
Keep Your Deadlines
Hold firm on those content deadlines, and stay on top of things that become past due. Setting and sticking to a milestone checklist is one way our project managers keep a handle on a timely pre production schedule.
Having experienced staff is the one true way to preserve the integrity of the show and any last minute changes that arise. Things happen, and the right people in place to handle it ensures smooth transitions when moments get tedious.
Our people are perfect for the job, especially if these five things that go wrong in virtual events have ever happened to you. With NMR behind the scenes, you’ve got more than just technology supporting your event.