Most common mistakes with Virtual Events

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Hosting a virtual event presents its own unique challenges. Some apply to in-person ones, while some mistakes are specific to hosting an event online. This guide was created to show organizers the most common mistakes when hosting virtual events and how to avoid them. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be able to create a virtual event experience that’s purposeful, engaging, and effective. 

Virtual Event mistakes

The following are the five most common mistakes virtual events organizers make. 

Lacking structure

Developing and executing a structured plan is a virtual event key to success. Without this, your event can experience awkward pauses, overlapping speakers, miscommunication with attendees, and more.

To make sure your event is structured, start by creating a schedule. Add time slots for each speaker, segment, and meal break. It’s smart to include Q&A sessions throughout your event so attendees can have their questions answered, and you can also survey your audience with a live chat tool. 

The next step to improving your virtual event structure is to post your agenda before the event starts. By doing this, your audience will know exactly what to expect, and it eliminates the need to go over the agenda during the event introduction. 

Finally, incorporate some flexibility in your agenda and create backup plans in case things go wrong. Technical difficulties, speaker absences, and late entrances are common problems that can arise. By having a little flexibility and a solid “plan B”, you’ll be able to tackle these challenges with ease. 

Wasting time on irrelevant topics

Another one of the most common mistakes virtual events suffer from is time wasted on irrelevant topics. If the purpose of hosting the virtual event is to build relationships with attendees, it’s not a great idea to spend half of the event trying to sell products. By straying away from your goal, your event will lack a targeted direction. 

To avoid this mistake, create a clear goal for your event. Once you have a goal in mind, ask the following three questions. 

  • “What do I want my attendees to take away from this event?”
  • “What content can I share to help me achieve my goal?”
  • “What parts of my agenda do not serve the purpose of my virtual event?”

By eliminating parts of your event that aren’t important, you’ll be able to create a more concise and engaging virtual event. Create a purposeful and engaging virtual events script, only add content that’s relevant to your goal, determine which metrics are most important to you, and focus on adding value to your attendees. 

Trying to mimic an in-person event

Virtual events aren’t meant to be structured like an in-person event. This is one of the biggest mistakes virtual events organizers make. At an in-person event, networking is more natural, attention spans are greater, and distractions are minimal. With an online event, people can’t meet each other face-to-face, leaving the event early is much easier, and distractions are unrestrained. 

Technology allowed events to seamlessly transition from in-person to online, but the strategy for running each is different. To create an effective live stream event, host one that has the excitement of an in-person event without trying to completely replicate an in-person event. 

Start by tightening your agenda. Because attention spans are shorter online, virtual events should typically be shorter than comparable in-person ones. Long content blocks and drawn out speeches don’t translate as well online as they do in-person. 

Video Call representation

Next, provide guidance when it comes to attendee networking. Casual conversations are more natural in-person than they are online. Therefore, assign discussion topics when sending attendees into breakout rooms. This gives your audience a talking point and can prevent awkward conversations. 

Finally, make your virtual events as easy to access as possible. A huge advantage of virtual events is the ease of packaging and accessibility. When deciding between different software tools, choose those that let users access content in multiple ways and from different devices. You can also provide content libraries, summary posts, and quick video-clips to your attendees. 

Not having a moderator

Studio recording with camera operator

Having an assigned moderator is a great way to improve your live event. Without a moderator, virtual events can lack direction and smooth transitions. A moderator is a great person to provide an introduction, introduce new speakers, and guide the event through its stages.

When deciding on a moderator, pick someone who is enthusiastic and who understands your audience. Your moderator is likely the first impression for your event, so choose someone who’s excited about it. By selecting someone who understands your audience, you’ll be able to build better relationships with them. 

Forgetting to practice

Not practicing before hosting your live stream event is an easily avoidable mistake. Your speakers, moderator, and behind-the-scenes crew should all be familiar with the agenda, the virtual event platform, and their individual duties when hosting an event. 

As with anything, practice makes perfect, and conducting just one practice run will allow your team to spot potential issues and overcome them. Speakers should have a rough set of notes and script for their speeches. The practice run allows them to see if they’re taking too long, finishing too early, or are right on time. 

Make sure everyone is comfortable with the virtual event software. Test internet connection, get everyone logged in, and double check their camera and microphone. Once these are set up, the practice run will ensure that everything is working properly. 

How Arena can help

Arena has powerful software tools that event organizers can use to improve their virtual events. To improve attendee engagement through instant messaging, group chat, polls, surveys, and Q&As, consider adding Arena Live Chat to your event. This tool can be paired with Arena Live Blog to share relevant updates as your event unfolds. 

To collect user data from different touchpoints, build customer profiles, and understand your audience’s interests, you can also add the Arena Personas (beta) for CDPs. This tool keeps track of attendee information, engagement history, brand preferences, purchase history, and more. 


When hosting an event, it’s critical to avoid these five common mistakes virtual events organizers make. Create a structured event, focus on the event goal, use online strategies for your event, assign an event moderator, and don’t forget to practice. By doing this, you’ll be able to create an event that gets results and provides a positive experience for your audience. 

One way to improve your event structure, stay on topic, and engage your audience is by creating an effective virtual events script. A script can be used by speakers to guide them through their speaking points, remind them of what to say next, and keep them organized and focused on the goal. To discover how you can create highly engaging scripts for live coverages and virtual events, download our free eBook by clicking the link below.

Free ebook download: boost engagement in your virtual events.

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