Organize an #EFWeek online

What do I need to get started?

The starting point is pretty much the same as for organising an offline event. First you need an audience

A group of people willing to learn, share, explore, interact

This can be your students, co-workers, colleagues, clients, friends, or a specific group you want to help. It’s not a competition and you don’t have to break any attendance records, two is a group already!‌

Or you can consider having an event with people not in your immediate circle. If there are people in your local community you don't have contact with, consider reaching out. Venture beyond your immediate boundaries. Reach outside the bubble.

‌The best thing about online events is that you are not limited with capacities, thus your audience can be very broad if you do good marketing.

How to organize an event?

Define a topic (or list of topics) that interests your audience

This could be a survey or questionnaire, or interviews that you run with your clients or freelancers. If you can link it to your digital marketing campaign, even better. From this survey it will become clear which topics you need to focus on and who might be speakers.

Online types and formats

There are 4 types of online events depending on complexity and the budget (online meeting, online conference, broadcast or virtual reality events), but much more formats that can be created within each of the types.

The most easiest is to produce an online meeting (by using zoom, webex or any other teleconferencing tools), much more production will be required for an immersive virtual experience.

Online event formats are very similar to physical events with the exception of not being physically in the same place with other attendees and speakers.

  • Online Masterclass/ Training / Workshops

These are the sessions where participants learn a new skill or listen to an expert sharing experience on a certain subject. The trainer can have one on one interaction with the attendee, solve queries via live Q&A, share content via screen and more. It also enables students to attend online classes that offer instructional videos, exercises and practice tests. Students can personalize the dashboard and choose subjects and the instructor if the platform allows.

  • Virtual Meetups

Online meetups are the best medium to connect people you share common interests with, but in real-time. It can be a short 30 mins or longer depending on what you would like to do during the meet up. FYI: cooking, beer tasting etc is absolutely possible during there virtual meet ups too.

  • Ask me anything (AMA's)

A session with an expert or guest speaker. It’s a unique way of interviewing where the guest takes questions from the audience in real-time as well as some pre-submitted questions.

  • Virtual Summits / Conferences :

This is a multi-track or multi-session format of the event taking place during a day or several days. You can invite multiple speakers, host several tracks and sessions, have breakout sessions in between, conduct live polls and surveys. Speakers and attendees can have two-way communication between them over audio/video in real-time.

  • Virtual keynotes

It can be a Webcast or a keynote address by the speaker which is broadcasted LIVE over the internet on a source website. Keynotes can help promote your virtual event as it amplifies the message of the event by storytelling and branding of your event.

  • Fireside Chat

Hugely popular among the startup community. It is an informal discussion with a guest and the moderator. Its comfortable setting makes it engaging for the audience as it seems like you are listening to your close friend sharing deep insights.

10 creative online events formats ideas:

1. Online Birds of a Feather (BOF)

This session can follow a general virtual keynote for example. The event organiser can suggest BOF groups for delegates to join but participants can also create their own. Once suggested topics are recorded and participants make their choice, the organiser produces online breakouts to gather members together. The sessions take place without a pre-planned agenda and are designed to encourage discussion and networking.

2. Lightning Talks

As the name suggests, lightning talks give speakers a limited amount of time to make their presentation – no more than 10 minutes. They may or may not include slides, but if they do, the slides usually move forward automatically to keep speakers to time.

Because lightning talks are brief, it requires the speaker to make their point clearly and rid the presentation of non-critical information. This, in turn, helps keep the attention of the audience. It also means many ideas can be presented in a short amount of time. A period of between 30 to 60 minutes is usually allotted to lightning talks, allowing for up to 12 speakers to be heard.

3. Ignite Session

A form of “lightning talk”, Ignite Sessions give speakers five minutes to talk on a subject accompanied by 20 slides. Each slide appears for 15 seconds and is automatically advanced. The speaker must not read the details included in the slides.

4. PechaKucha 20×20

Also falling in the “lightning talks” category, PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and speakers talk along to the images.

5. World Café

The World Café format is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue. The process begins with the first of two or more rounds of discussion for groups of 4-6 seated around a table. Each round is prefaced with a question.

6. Online Soapbox

Including an online soapbox at your event can provide delegates with a platform to have their ideas heard. Individuals can submit proposals to participate and, if they are chosen, will be given a short time on stage to present an issue that is important to them.

7. Online Hyde Park Corner Debate

This format takes a central theme or question and has two speakers debate for and against. At the outset, the participants are polled to measure their opinion on the topic. Following the debate, they are polled again to see how many are now in favour or against. The winner of the debate is the speaker who caused the most audience members to change their votes.

8. Online Talent Show

The talent show format is ideal for presenting projects, demonstrating technology or pitching ideas. Participants have 3-5 minutes to demo their concepts and, ideally, this is done visually with props to create a “show”. Between 5-7 “acts” perform before the audience is asked to vote on their favourite. A presenter helps to introduce the acts and keep the audience engaged.

9. Online Storytelling

Storytelling sessions invite speakers to tell stories that help illustrate or enhance themes in the conference tracks. They should reflect the authentic experience of an individual, a team, or a community, but be told like a traditional story. The narrative should contain a beginning, middle, and end, characters and themes that hold interest, like adversity and triumph. Stories should be about 15 minutes long, with 10 minutes provided for Q&A afterward.

10. Online Braindates

Braindates help delegates learn from one another through one-on-one or small group sessions (otherwise known as “dates”). Participants make offers and requests for knowledge on topics of interest and are then matched together (this can be done manually or via an app). Matched individuals can then schedule meetings with one another, aiding both learning and networking.

You can make the use of online facilitation tools such as polls, quiz, white walls, quests.

Find a technology that can support your goals

‌The most complete list can be found here

Market it

Create an appealing event website or a landing page with the registration. For online events, it is important that the registration confirmation letter allows to add the event to the calendar. Nothing can be worse than to miss an event if it is not booked in your diary.

Invite participants

In your email communication and event invitations be very specific, brief and to the point. No one has time for noise.

Promote it

Event legacy

Record the event and have it available for replay. You can add this to your digital marketing campaign as well. Use the event content to produce blog post to drive traffic to your website. Thank speakers and attendees and invite them to your place (or to read more articles, etc) or to your next event.

Share your success ‌

Take photos or videos and share them widely! Use the hashtag #EFWeek. You can also @ mention us on our various channels: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram: @FreelancersEU so that we can repost it!