A Virtual Experience Checklist
Annette Carroll 02.22.2021
One year ago, here in the U.S. and around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic began to unleash harsh new realities upon all of us, triggering unprecedented chaos and radical change. As this period of upheaval ensued, virtually all of us devised new ways of accomplishing our daily tasks. One of the skills most of us more fully adopted was the use of virtual communication tools to replace lost opportunities for face-to-face interactions. While we look forward to the day when we can once again meet regularly in-person, most of us agree, the future will likely involve some kind of hybrid approach, combing in-person and virtual experiences.
As we plan for the future, we at Okuma America are establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for working with virtual technologies to deliver optimal customer experiences. Following is a checklist we’re formulating to streamline the development of our virtual experiences so we can ensure they run smoothly and effectively. This checklist can be used for many different types of events, including product overviews, demos, training, and impromptu live presentations, to name a few. I’m sharing this resource in the hope that you’ll find it useful for your business.
Virtual Experience Checklist
▢ Establish Subject / Content Focus
It’s important to start by honing-in on the topic you want to cover with your audience. Develop an outline of key points, create a shot list, and collect assets (such as images, slides, etc.) that will be needed.
▢ Define Your Target Audience
Make sure your team shares a clear understanding of the specific audience you’re targeting, which could include customers, prospects and other business partners.
▢ List Products/Equipment
What product(s) will you be covering? This may be equipment, technology tools, software or even service offerings. Schedule use of these assets as appropriate.
▢ Determine Delivery Format
Decide what format will work best for delivering your message. This may be an impromptu live session, a scheduled live session, or an on-demand program that can be accessed by registrants.
▢ Select Delivery Media/Destination
A variety of delivery methods can be used, from Microsoft Teams to social media or your own website.
▢ Identify People Resources
Your team can include your own staff, experts from partner organizations, or professional talent. For more complex presentations, it may be wise to appoint a producer to manage the details.
▢ Anticipate People Needs
Even in manufacturing settings it’s advisable to help presenters look their best. Provide wardrobe tips for on-camera folks who are inexperienced, and an onsite hair and makeup stylist is often quite helpful. Make sure on-camera talent gets proper safety equipment (e.g. glasses) and training if needed.
Pre-event planning includes invitations, circulating A/V checklists and surveys. Set up the technology platform you’ll use for registrations, and conduct “dry run” tests to make sure everything goes smoothly.
▢ During Event
Take care of introducing your presenter(s) and stating the goals and topics that will be covered. Set up a central command center, appoint someone to monitor real-time interactions (if applicable), and make sure you have a back-up A/V plan in place.
▢ Post Event
Send appropriate follow-up messages to your attendees, and include a post-event survey to learn what's working well and what can be improved.
There are many forms of technology that will help you produce a quality event, from cameras and accessories to microphones, lighting and a teleprompter. At Okuma we’ve found that having a fully-stocked A/V cart keeps needed items at the ready.
We consider this a working checklist for now, and plan to continue refining our approach as we test-and-measure over time. As with anything we do here at Okuma, we’ll pursue this in the spirit of continuous innovation. How are things going with your virtual experiences and events? Is there anything you’d add to this list? Please feel free to share thoughts and ideas as we all work together to create successful virtual experiences.