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Band Run, 2023. Credit: Nikolas Liepins/Ethography

Virtual Events

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Here you can find a step-by-step guide to help in planning a virtual event. Student Affairs Meeting Services can also support you from idea to execution!

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Step-By-Step Guide

1. Design Your Event

It can be helpful to approach the design of a virtual event in the same way you would a live event. 

2. Choose Your Date(s) Carefully

Do your dates conflict with a major University event?  Not Sure? Visit the Stanford University Events CalendarAcademic Calendar and University-Wide Events page for dates to avoid. Best Practice alert: Remember to consider the timing of Big 5 Events - New Student Orientation, Reunion Homecoming, Family Weekend, Admit Weekend, and Commencement.

3. Build Your Team 

Who are the key players producing your virtual event? Best practice alert: Besides the speaker or panelists, it is advisable to have a “supporting cast” of three or more assistants for any virtual event. 

4. Determine Technology Needs 

Stanford University IT (UIT) features a host of resources to help you determine what platform and/or format will be right for your meeting. Start by consulting this UIT Video Conferencing web page for online solutions and a range of video conferencing services that cater to your needs. All Stanford staff, faculty, and student Zoom accounts support independent hosting of Zoom meetings as an event platform.  

Useful Links

Here are a few useful link to help you get on your way to hosting your virtual meeting:

5. Adjust Zoom Settings & Controls to Protect Your Event.

Careful consideration of Zoom settings is critical to a successful event. 

6. Choose a Registration Platform

To further enhance the security of your event and reduce the risk of Zoom “bombing”, only provide Zoom access links to registered or invited participants. Many tools exist for doing so, including Eventbrite and Google forms.  Eventbrite even offers a tutorial on setting up an online only event. Zoom also offers a free registration feature with options to manually approve registrants and pre-assign attendees to Breakout Rooms (in Zoom meetings only).  However, opportunities to brand your registration page and communications are limited.

7. Publicize an event or make a campus announcement

University Communications can help you publicize events and make announcements. Stanford Report is an email sent every weekday to approximately 35,000 faculty, staff and other subscribers. Stanford organizations may purchase display advertisements in Stanford Report.

8. Prepare Your Speakers

When inviting panelists and speakers to participate, obtain speaker release forms in order to grant Stanford permission to capture a presentation in audio and/or video format. This will help you promote the event to attendees and use photos and videos to share event content when the event is over.

If applicable, gather and organize content for a presentation, creating slides with the University or department logo when appropriate (consult the University’s policies on Stanford Name and Logo use). 

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9. Produce Your Event

Remember, a little preparation goes a long way.  Key players should receive a briefing and agenda at least 24 hours in advance of the event.  On the day of your event, consider having the host (the person responsible for the technical components of your event) sign in 60 minutes before the meeting’s start time to confirm settings*, controls, and the video/audio connection.  Speakers, panelists, and co-hosts should connect at least 20 minutes prior to test their connection, find the best lighting and review the agenda.

*If your Zoom settings have been set to mute participants upon entry, disable screen sharing or video - don’t forget to give your presenters back their permissions.  You can do this in the Manage Participants window.

10. Follow-up with Attendees

After the event has concluded, use Zoom to generate an attendee report (if Zoom was the platform used to execute the virtual event) and follow up to share recordings or resources that were discussed, conduct a survey to collect feedback from attendees that may help you plan future virtual events, and/or market future events.

Tresidder Meeting Services, 2023. Credit: Nikolas Liepins / Ethography