It’s time for a new way of working for many of us and this may include the need to make events happen.

As a cornerstone of stakeholder engagement, missing out on critical events would be detrimental to many projects and consultations, which is why taking them online is so useful. However, it isn’t as simple as turning on a camera and going for it. You need to strategize ways to keep your audience engaged.  We spoke to Tom Keep, Development Manager at Tractivity who has delivered hundreds of training sessions and meetings online.

Here are his suggestions:

  • First, consider your platform. Will your attendees be able to access the meeting? Do they need to download any software or will it work directly in the browser? Is the platform secure and do you have full control over attendee permissions? If you are running a webinar, do you have the facility for attendees to interact with you via the use of buttons rather than via a microphone? Selecting the correct tool for the event is the most important first step.

  • It’s best to have a clear agenda. I would suggest that you proactively ask your audience to submit questions beforehand so they are already engaged with the event and layout a time to take questions, you may choose for this to be on a chat function, or live from the camera.

  • Consider the length of the event and if the many home-based distractions and priorities make the meeting length viable. Don’t base the event length on what you think you need – try and gauge what your audience can realistically commit to and ensure the most important content comes first. If that’s questions or airing opinions, do it first.

  • If the event is over 40 minutes, you will need to keep the pace up -  if you can incorporate polls, surveys, Q&As, videos, or games to break up your message, this helps people stay alert and also will improve their memory of the event. 

  • If you are presenting in person, try and wear plain clothing and try and test your lighting beforehand - ensure that you do not appear as a black silhouette due to bright light or window directly behind you. 

  • Test your technology. This means everything from the video links through to the application you plan to use in real-time. Make sure your microphone is working properly. Determine what capabilities the audience will be permitted to have - whether it be speaking or screen sharing - and test how to turn those capabilities on and off. Check the internet connection of the room you plan to record in.

  • Finally, ensure that you make the participants aware if you are recording the meeting before they sign up. If you are not recording, immediately collect the rich notes you have made and import these into your stakeholder management system straight away so nothing is lost.

Tractivity allows you to retain this valuable data with stakeholder management software that is designed for the job. Tractivity is a powerful Stakeholder Management software system, giving you one database and multiple engagement tools. Our platform will help you engage, listen, understand and deliver compelling insights and improved outcomes across your entire stakeholder landscape, no matter how many projects you're running.