Why I’m Still Happy with Jim Cathcart CSP, CPAE

Jim Cathcart CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for teaching others how to improve communication, build confidence, and focus on what matters most. Especially during tough times!

Jim shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also shares how being an optimist during tough times can help make you happy. He encourages everyone to take control of what goes into our minds and our hearts, especially as we try to get going after the COVID-19 pandemic.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy#TogetherAtHome

Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute

Special Announcement:  
With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.

There is no question that COVID-19 has shaken up the events industry and has planners scrambling to adapt to this new environment. 

Virtual event planning used to be a sideline. Now it’s the main event.

Even seasoned veterans are suddenly having to learn new skills on the fly as technology and online platforms become the modus operandi. 

So if you’re a planner with one or several events on the go, you may be finding yourself needing to move one or all of them online. And you may be panicking!

The good news is, it’s not as complicated as you think. If you can handle putting on a live event, virtual event planning is well within your capabilities. A lot of the basics of virtual event planning are the same as with live events—it’s all connecting people and finding ways to engage with them. It’s just slightly different and there are some technical basics you need to get a grasp of. 

But if you take the following steps, you can be on your way to virtual event planning like a pro. 

Don’t cancel that meeting! Speakers and experts can present virtually.

Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute

1. Recalibrate.

It’s important with virtual event planning to be sure that your event makes sense for online venues. Take a look at your event, all its components, and figure out which will work in an online environment and which won’t. If there are any elements of the event that won’t shift online easily, switch them out with something else or lose them altogether—don’t waste time trying to shoehorn something in that just won’t fit. For example, a workshop type breakout session with lots of hands-on interaction might not work. But a seminar can easily be adapted to a webinar with a few tweaks.

2. Grab a platform.

Next, you need to choose your platform based on what your event’s needs are. There are countless options of software available that can include live streaming, real-time interaction, polls, question-and-answer functions, and event registration. Here is a link to some options. You can also use social media to live stream your event on platforms such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live. These options have the benefit of a built-in audience and are easy to use.

3. Figure out your venue(s).

Planning a virtual event might seem easier when it comes to venue arranging. But you can’t just host it in your various presenters’ living rooms. That will look unprofessional and will cheapen the look of your event. So organize venues that still have presentation value, such as boardrooms or other event spaces.

4. Rally your audience.

If you’re moving your event online because of COVID-19 it’s likely your audience is already anticipating the change. But once you have your platform organized it’s time to email your attendees with detailed information such as when each event will take place, how to access it, and how to sign up and use it. Let them know how the event will maintain its value even though it’s online, and where there is lost value, be sure to let them know where there will be financial adjustments. Make sure you leave the lines open for them to ask questions if they are confused about how to proceed. You don’t want to lose your audience because they can’t figure out the technology.

5. Get the word out.

The awesome thing about virtual event planning is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to your audience! No longer limited by physical locations and travel/scheduling logistics, you can market your event all over the world to whomever you please, as long as they have an internet connection. So do some quick marketing on social media to get the word out to a larger audience. But, do be aware of time zones and how you should schedule your event accordingly.

6. Add interactivity.

Without a live presenter and audience, you lose out on a lot of interactivity when planning a virtual event. Luckily there are a host of options to keep your audience engaged and talking to each other and the presenters. Virtual lobbies, live chats, Q&A sessions, surveys, and contests are all ways to make your attendees feel like they’re part of a larger group. These features also add a ton of value to your event and will keep people talking about it even after it’s over.

7. Hire a crack emcee.

Your online event needs a strong host to hold it all together, to be the spokesperson who is visible across all the different aspects of the platform. As there are a lot of particulars involved in a virtual event that is different from live ones, including technological quirks that need to be figured out, it is best to hire an emcee who is familiar with online hosting. This person should not only be able to command an online audience, but they should also be familiar with online platforms and capable of handling any technical glitches that arise.

8. Get feedback.

Don’t forget to follow up with your attendees (and presenters) to find out exactly what worked for them and what didn’t. Send out a questionnaire with a small incentive to return, and use what you learn to make your next virtual event even better. 

Good luck with your virtual event planning! 

Looking for the perfect speakers for your virtual event? Search our speaker marketplace here—we’ve even added a new “Virtual Presentation” filter to our search criteria.

Did you find this article helpful? Here are three more you might enjoy:

Six steps for putting on a virtual event that works.
Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?
Ten event planning tips for absolute beginners.

Why I’m (Still) Happy with David Horsager CSP, CPAE

David Horsager CSP, CPAE: a speaker known for teaching others about trust, and how they can enjoy greater creativity, productivity, freedom as a result. Especially during tough times!

David shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also shares a story about riding his horse at age 12, and how he had to “Get back on the horse.” He encourages everyone to “Get back on the horse” as we try to get going after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why I’m (Still) Happy with Sarah McVanel CSP

Sarah McVanel CSP: a speaker known for teaching others about the power of recognition when times are tough. 

Sarah shares why she’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” She also shares how people all over the world are using recognition to boost spirits and morale during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

6 Steps For Putting On A Virtual Event That Works

You’ve been thinking about putting on a virtual event for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. 

Putting on a virtual event can seem really daunting if you’ve never done it before. The technology to learn, the different platforms, how to advertise to an online audience…there are a lot of questions and new things to learn that surround a virtual event. Even if you’re an experienced event planner, putting on a 100 percent virtual event presents a whole new set of issues and problems to troubleshoot and solve.

With current events keeping almost everyone at home to do most of their work and leisure activities online, now is the time to put on your first virtual event.

So, how does one actually put on a virtual event? If you go step by step, it’s not as complicated as you think. 

We’ve broken it down into steps for you, to help you put on your first virtual event without a hitch. 

6 Steps For Putting On A Virtual Event That Works

1. Assess your audience. 

Before you can do anything else you need to know who your audience is. Your audience will decide all the components of your event, from which platform to use, to what topics to focus on, to how to market most effectively. It all comes down to what your audience is so make sure you ask yourself a few questions about who they are, such as what are they interested in? How tech-savvy are they? And how do they interact online? This will help you figure out how to market to them and keep them interested once you have them at your event.

2. Figure out your format.

Just like live events, there are several different configurations to any virtual event so use your now defined audience to decide which one would be best for them. Are they a more passive audience or do they like to interact? Are they skills-based or experience-based? How much time do they have? Based on these and other questions, you can design your event’s format accordingly. Maybe your virtual event will be a single simple seminar with a question-and-answer session at the end. Maybe it will be a complicated multi-event format with plenty of real-time interaction, polling, and audience participation. Use your audience research to decide on what will keep them engaged.

As a professional in the event planning industry, you’re in the perfect position to help your colleagues find the right speakers to make their meetings great! Connect with our SpeakerShare program to learn how you can make a commission from referring speakers!

3. Pick a platform.

Based on your format, now is the time to research your platform options and decide on the one that will best optimize your virtual event, for yourself, your presenter(s) and your audience. Make a list of what you need to make your event a success, find the ones that meet those criteria, and utilize their free trial packages (most online platforms will offer this) to test them out and find which one fits best for you. Don’t forget to keep your audience in mind—will they adapt easily to a new platform, or would a familiar streaming service such as Facebook or Youtube be best for them?

4. Pick your presenters.

As in a live event, having a host and speakers who are engaging, knowledgeable, and quick-on-their-feet is essential. In the case of virtual events, it is also important that your speaker can adapt to an online audience and is tech-savvy enough to troubleshoot tech issues on the spot and engage seamlessly with a virtual audience. 

Are you a speaker? Read this post to learn how to let the world know you can present virtually.

5. Choose your “when and where”.

Just because your event won’t be with a live audience, doesn’t mean you don’t have to commit to a time and place—don’t think that these particulars don’t matter. You can have the most interesting virtual event in the world but it won’t do much good if half of your audience is asleep because you’ve scheduled it in the wrong time zone. So pay attention to your audience and what their needs are, time-wise. You can even poll them to figure out what their optimal time is to commit to an online event. And venue matters, as well. You might be tempted to host in your living room, but keep in mind that your background can make your event look cheaper than it is. Consider renting an office space or boardroom for a more professional presentation.

6. Let the world know!

Okay! You’ve finally got the basics of your virtual event figured out. Time to let the world know! Maximize social media and your mailing list to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Promote as many aspects of your event as you can, including your presenters, your venue and your themes/topics. Don’t forget to use hashtags to maximum effect, and if you’re using a social media platform to stream your event, use that platform for leverage as well.

Good luck with your virtual event! And happy planning.

Looking for the perfect speakers for your virtual event? Search our speaker marketplace here—we’ve even added a new “Virtual Presentation” filter to our search criteria.

Did you find this article helpful? Here are three more you might enjoy:

Corporate event planning: ten tips to make it unforgettable!
Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?
Developing the breakthrough mindset and succeeding.

Why I’m Still Happy with Marilyn Sherman CSP, CPAE

Marilyn Sherman CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for inspiring people to have a positive mindset when times are tough.

Marilyn shares why she’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” She also shares a story about Lou Zamperini and encourages us to think of him when times are tough.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why I’m Still Happy with Tim Gard CSP, CPAE

Tim Gard CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for using his humor to help people become more resilient when times are tough.

Tim shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also shares his famous bug glasses and professional nose flute playing skills.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why I’m Still Happy with Dr. Willie Jolley CSP, CPAE

Willie shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also sings a song that he wrote to lift the spirits of the world during COVID-19.

Why I’m (Still) Happy with Willie Jolley CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for motivating and inspiring others to achieve more.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?

Here at eSpeakers, we thought it would be nice to have a little break in the day to hear something that makes you feel good.

We talked to some of our friends (who happen to be the best motivating, inspiring speakers on the planet) to help us out with this project. Together, we’ve created a YouTube channel to share 5-10 minute stories that will make you laugh, give you hope, and encourage you to keep going during this tough time. Won’t that be a nice break?

Watch Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE explain why he’s (still) happy

On this YouTube channel, we’ll host live broadcasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:00 pm EST, as well as posting some pre-recorded videos. Just hit “subscribe” while you’re watching this video to be notified of the events and new videos when they’re up. Our hope is that these short, sincere thoughts from talented speakers will remind us of all the “whys” there are to be happy, no matter what else is going on around us.

GET YOUR FIRST 10 MINUTES OF HAPPY »

Our first video comes from Jason Hewlett, CSP, CPAE: a hall of fame speaker known for his heartfelt stories, musical talent, and crazy impressions. He shares a little incident he had with a dog that might make you think differently about your “why”.

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers and on your social media channels. Because everybody can use some happy.

#WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Sincerely,

– Your friends at eSpeakers

Ten Event Planning Tips for Absolute Beginners

Special Announcement:  
With all of the unrest and uncertainty in the world because of Covid-19, we chose to publish this article on event planning burnout to help you. Event planners and speakers alike, are facing a huge downturn because of canceled or postponed events, and here at eSpeakers we are no different. If you are struggling with how to approach the coming months, you should also read our article about how to move your speaking career to the virtual sphere.

New to planning? Read on for some event planning tips for planning newbies!

So you’ve decided to be an event planner. Congratulations, you’ve chosen to work in a vital, diverse, exciting field. And as an event planner, you’ll be at the center of all the action, thinking fast, making decisions, and putting all of your amazing communication and organizing skills to the test. Planning an event is an adventure! But it can also be incredibly stressful. 

There are a million moving parts to an event, and as the planner, you have to be in control of all of them. Your decisions and anticipation of issues affect the experiences of everyone involved, from the speakers and hosts to the vendors and attendees.

If you’re brand new to planning, you could use some event planning tips. We think that there are some things on the list that you haven’t thought of before! Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Don’t cancel that event! Move it online.

Event planning tips for the absolute beginner. 

1. Find the right team.

If you’re new to planning, you might not yet have a team that you work with regularly who know each other and work as a well-oiled machine. So it’s vital at this stage to hire your team carefully. Don’t only focus on the individuals you are interviewing, but think about how they will interact with each other. A team that works well together is invaluable to a planner, which is why this is one of our most important event planning tips.

2. Do your research.

Before beginning work on any event, you have to make sure that you are an expert in the event’s theme or industry so you can make decisions accordingly. It is also very important to familiarize yourself with the audience who will be attending because they are the ones who your marketing will be directed towards. 

3. Delegate intelligently.

You can’t be thoughtless when you are delegating tasks to your team. If you aren’t careful about what tasks you’re giving to whom, you risk overloading key team members with too many tasks or getting the wrong person to do something vital. Make sure you know your team and are familiar with their particular skills and strengths.

4. Start marketing early.

Marketing by itself is a huge, complicated machine, and marketing today involves several layers of advertising that must all interact with each other. Not only do you have to coordinate social media posts, but you also need to think about mail-outs, brochures, newspaper inserts, and radio spots. There are so many components and kinks to work out of your marketing plan, that it is best to start working on it early; from several months to a year prior to the event.

Are you a speaker? Now is the time to let the world know that you can present virtually

5. Budget thoroughly.

Your budget needs to be exhaustive, including all particulars, contingencies, and overruns. No matter how great your event goes on the floor, going way over budget is never a good look.

6. Deal in detailed contracts.

When you are creating and signing contracts with vendors, guests, and speakers, you need to make sure they include any and all details that account for all situations. If you pay attention to the details at the contract stage of an agreement and get them in writing, you are protecting yourself from costly and awkward mishaps.

7. Keep a comprehensive list.

One of our favorite event planning tips is to keep a comprehensive list that lets you keep track of where you are on your timeline and what needs to get done when. Check out this post for our ultimate event planning checklist!

8. Plan contingencies for everything.

No amount of planning can account for everything. When you are dealing with a many-pronged event with a million different moving parts, it is best that you accept that not everything is going to go according to plan. So a smart, experienced event planner knows that times spent planning for “what could go wrong” is time well spent and will save you huge headaches when you have all your Plan Bs in place.

9. Automate, automate, automate.

One of the benefits of our digital age is that there is a lot that can be automated, from social media updates to data tracking and ticketing. Find out what your options are to make as many repetitive tasks automated as possible, for example using a platform such as Hootsuite to coordinate and track your social media marketing. This will relieve your team to focus on other important responsibilities. 

10. Get feedback.

The event is over. Time to celebrate, right? Nope! Time to mine your attendees for valuable feedback on everything from the keynote speech to the food. After-the-event feedback is invaluable data for your next event, so make sure you reach out to attendees promptly, before they forget about their experiences at your event, and record your important learnings.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

45 event planning event industry terms that every planner should know.
7 tips to save money when planning an event.
Ten tips to make your corporate event unforgettable.