Do You Need a Know Before You Go for Virtual Events? Yes!
“Know Before You Go” documents are an important part of planning an event. They are vital sources of information that tell attendees what to expect, where to go, and even how they should pack! However, planners may not think a “Know Before You Go” document would be necessary for virtual events. After all, it’s not like virtual attendees are “going” anywhere, except maybe their home offices.
By adjusting the information presented, adding additional virtual resources, and keeping your audience in mind, a virtual “Know Before You Go” document (or handout) can be an invaluable resource for your virtual attendees and just as effective as a “Know Before You Go” for onsite events.
Curate Your Information
At the end of the day, virtual attendees are still attendees. And just like their onsite counterparts, they’re still going to get lost and need guidance. The key is to curate your information. You don't need to provide details about the city where the event is taking place, or other onsite information such as dining options, places to park, or hotel rates. This cuts down on extraneous information, and let’s be real, in this day and age anyone can look up that information on their smartphone.
Alternatively, you should include information that will help your virtual attendees find your virtual venue. Instead of directions to the convention center, provide directions on how to log in or access the virtual sessions. Instead of advice on what to pack for the weather, provide advice on webcam etiquette and whether or not attendees should expect to be “camera-ready”. A "Know Before You Go" for a virtual event may look different, but by providing relevant details, it can still serve the same purpose as an onsite document.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
The best part of a virtual “Know Before You Go” is that technology can be incorporated throughout the entire document. For starters, your virtual “Know Before You Go” can be a “living document”, or a document that is continually edited and updated. Instead of being used before your event and then discarded, a virtual “Know Before you Go” can be used throughout the entirety of the virtual event.
Along with the convenience of being able to update and edit a virtual “Know Before You Go”, you can incorporate additional technology into your document. For example, you can include hyperlinks that take virtual attendees directly to the registration site, or the virtual event platform.
Along with links, savvy planners can include other virtual resources such as PDFs, screenshots, and videos. Being able to include these types of virtual artifacts can assist virtual attendees with logging in, password resets, and other basic troubleshooting.
Know Your Virtual Audience
Not every attendee will be tech-savvy, and the ones that are will not all be on the “same level” tech-wise. A good "Know Before You Go" will level the playing field, and enable attendees to navigate the virtual event platform with as little confusion or frustration as possible.
By sending a “Know Before you Go” to all attendees prior to the event, you can ensure that attendees who are not as tech-savvy gain the information they’ll need without feeling “singled out”. And adequate information about technology/the internet and ensure will ensure they do not feel frustrated, left out, or forgotten during the virtual event.
A good “Know Before You Go” can also serve as the first-line defense when it comes to technical issues and troubleshooting. If the information on resetting your password is in the “Know Before You Go” then your attendees don’t have to bother with tech support.