Master the Timeline

When to start planning your online conference

All events – whether physical or online – require a high degree of planning. Some of our customers say that you can plan a virtual event in two weeks. In fact, this has already happened and we all got off lightly. However, the time pressure were extremely challenging and exhausting.

If you consider only the setup and planning for a summit or conference, it might be feasible to get an event organised in two weeks.

But the problem lies in the quality of preparation and in the ability of the organizers to plan ahead all eventualities. This is not always in our hands.

Before an event begins, a lot of external content often has to be collected that you may not have control over. Many people may work on certain projects or media that needs to be shared at the event. And the more people communicate with each other, the more complicated it becomes. Endless e-mails go back and forth and important time flies by. Managing time and people is a very challenging skill and not everyone wants to or can do it without the people involved feeling patronized. When this happens, the mood can change quickly before the event even takes place.

At scientific conferences, the invited speakers are often very busy people who have little time to communicate. As a result, content is sometimes delivered very late and cannot be announced or advertised properly as in trailers or programme announcements. 

Advertisements or announcements have to be synchronized.

If you want to involve sponsors for the conference, their content needs to be considered as well – graphic and design teams need to provide material in time or video needs to be recorded. 

All these issues need to be considered before you start planning the actual conference.

Plan at least four months ahead

We suggest a general timeframe of 4 to 5 months for medium sized events. If this is your first online event, please add another month. Experienced online event organizers will be able to organize a conference or summit in 3 to 4 months.

One important point must not be missed: The more active participants there are, the more time is needed.  Sponsors, speakers and organizers need to coordinate their availability to ensure smooth event planning. If this is your first time, please really make sure you have enough time to act if surprises happen.

Make a plan that involves all contributors and coordinate delivery times and meetings well. You should also schedule training sessions for inexperienced speakers to test their webcams and microphones with the host before a conference begins. Do this no later than one week before the event begins.

ICTAC offers free training sessions every month if you are or wish to become an active client. Please contact our conference manager.