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In that 15-minutes before your next online event starts and you find yourself asking what more could be done? - Read on when you find yourself asking the question, what more could be done to make our community events more awesome.

In that 15-minutes before your next online event starts and you find yourself asking what more could be done?

We all want our next event to be successful and in that 15-minutes before the event starts and you find yourself asking what more could I have done. Well, when that happens it is best to rephrase the question and ask - what more could we all have done.

Rephrase the question and ask - what more could we all have done together.

One thing for sure is that successful events are about teamwork and doing what everyone wants.

Key takeaways:

As a community group leader, we can make a big difference with helping to get things going by guiding formative discussions, always listening and looking for opportunities to involve people.

Engagement starts with planning

When getting started a shared purpose is important — don’t rush it, get collaborative input from everyone. Remember that as more people become involved they start owning the project and this is good because their early involvement will inspire others. To help with this initial discussion ask people to share what they want and don’t get put off with a couple of false starts. Make sure everyone is committed to the same outcome.

Next kickoff with planning. At this stage, you should have an idea about how you are going to make it happen. Be prepared to be flexible, because it is about listening to and involving people. Make the plan detailed enough without micromanaging. Don’t overthink what others are thinking. Share your thoughts and ideas, and then move on. Ask for feedback and adjust. Be prepared to bring people’s ideas into the plan because this will encourage involvement. You are not going to want any surprises, so make sure the plan has enough detail and gets people involved.

It is vital to get people onboard and involved

There is always something in the online event plan that everyone can help with including organising content, promoting, logistics, delegation and the agenda.

Content is used to help share and is what happens at the event. Content needs to be interesting and exciting because people want good content.

Promoting is about involving others. Promoting is how the event is going to be shared and through a word of mouth campaign gives an opportunity for more people to become involved. Ask everyone to reach out to their networks and make personalised one-on-one contacts for the event. Be an influencer and look for every opportunity to encourage the team to be asking others to become involved to help share the event. Ask people to opt-in to this and other similar events that you are hosting.

Logistics is about everything else, including all the other sponsoring, co-ordination, agendas, audio-visual, financials, RSVP management and other stuff that needs to be done to make the event work.

Delegation can only happen when you have people on the event project team that are interested and invested in the outcome. If you cannot delegate involvement in the plan then revisit the purpose and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Having an agenda or run sheet is critical because it is important that everyone knows what they need to do. In the first couple of minutes allow people joining to warm up with an activity, set the agenda with your audience and then get into it. Suggestions for the agenda include the rules of muting and how people can participate. Also don't try and do it all yourself. Have someone MCing, another person to ensure that people are muted and someone else watching the chat along with managing activities and screen shares as required.

Smile because opportunities are just waiting to happen

About smiling, it is obvious about how you feel when you are smiling. Don’t go through the entire process worried about something going wrong because most likely something will. Having a well thought out plan that is going to minimise surprises gives you the time to work through things as they arise. If you are unable to smile throughout the process then it will show and you will find that nobody wants to be associated with something that is obviously unpleasant and painful.

Remember that nothing great will happen overnight, and that trying new things is about how you find your way to success.

How to get started with an example online event planner

As a guide ensure that your event planner covers the following opportunities for engagement.

  1. Shares purpose - e.g. the purpose of the event is to ... .
  2. Defines audience - e.g. the audience of the event planner is everyone responsible for making the event a success.
  3. Shares contact details - make it easy for people to email and phone each other.
  4. How to use the planner - instructions and suggestions for how to share the event via email, using messenger apps, with social media and on the phone.
  5. Online event plan - following is a high level example of tasks required in the online event plan.
Item Task to organise Person responsible Required by Status & Notes
1 Availability and management of online video meeting app
2 Schedule suitable date and time
3 Content
4 Agenda
5 MC
6 Event sharing on-on-one
7 Event sharing on social media
8 Sponsorship of event
9 Email list for future events

IMPORTANT - these tasks are only the high level items on an event plan and as you work through the process of organising an event you will find much more happens with preparation beforehand.

Wrapping up, in that 15-minutes before your event starts and you find yourself asking what more could be done? start with a plan that involves people.


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