Event Planner Jobs: How to Conduct a Successful Virtual Consultation!
Want to book more event planner jobs? QC Event School’s Student Ambassador, Tamesha Antria, is here to reveal how YOU can conduct a successful virtual consultation! Tamesha is a graduate of QC’s Event & Wedding Planning Course, as well as a student of the Destination Wedding Planning and Event Decor courses. Her business, Black Haven Events, offers clients everything from officiant services, wedding and event planning/coordination, virtual events, and much more.
The New Normal: Virtual Events
Isn’t laughing, talking, and listening how we’ve learned to connect as a human race? Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s been a challenge for event planners worldwide to transform those genuine connections virtually. But we’ve proven that it’s not impossible! Virtual events were around long before the pandemic began. But now, they are here to stay.
Virtual events are a great way to keep everyone connected – anytime, anywhere. There’s a lot of opportunity within this market. Your creative planning is what will set you apart from other planners. If you’re practicing safe social distancing, there are still plenty of event planner jobs out there for you. Tons of clients worldwide are in need of at-home events and activities. Virtual events can be made for any age group and will be essential as we overcome this trying time. Even if you don’t want to host virtual events long-term, it’s a neat skill-set to take full advantage of now.
My Experience with Virtual Event Planner Jobs
Since June of 2020, I have curated 60+ virtual events. From private zoom birthday celebrations to virtual trade shows; virtual events have proven to be an essential investment to any event and wedding planning company. Once circumstances are a bit better (with regards to COVID), businesses and clients will still want to reach beyond their local clientele. Having virtual events as a service will be extremely beneficial to your business! Managing and marketing virtual events is a task for a professional… and that professional is YOU!
Virtual Event Planner Jobs: The Initial Consultation
The initial client consultation important for any event, but it’s especially critical for virtual events. On average, virtual events can take 3-6 weeks to fully coordinate and market. Since this is less time than standard, in-person events planning, most of the important details and concepts are discussed during the initial client consultation. It sets the tone and pace for the planning process. As such, it’s important to be as direct and thorough as possible. Virtual events require a lot more detail than in-person events!
The 5 W’s and the How
During the initial consultation, you will discuss the main components of the event. If you’re not sure where to start, I’ll give you a little tip: start with the ‘5 W’s and How’!
- WHO is the event for? Is this an event for kids or is it for adults?
- WHAT is the purpose of this event? Is this for any special occasion? For example, it to connect distant family members?
- WHEN is the event scheduled for? Do you have a set date?
- WHERE are the attendees attending from? Are they local or international? Virtual events allow for connection near and far! Knowing where guests are attending from will allow you to coordinate each time zone as well.
*Pro Tip: Incorporating where your clients are attending from is a way to connect!
- WHY are you hosting this event? Are you comfortable speaking in front of sizeable crowds?
- HOW will you host this event? What platform would you like to host this event on (i.e. Zoom, Gatherly, Blue Jeans, Hopin, etc.)?
- HOW would you like attendees to participate? Virtual platforms are typically priced per person and how long the servers are needed for.
These foundational questions are great to start conversation. Most people can tell you that they’d like to attend or host a virtual event, but don’t know how to attend or host one. The initial consultation is the initiation of that conversation. As the event planner, you’ll down lay the foundation and expectations. This will help you to curate a successful virtual event.
Here’s another insider tip: if possible, have your client consultation via Zoom. Zoom is a free platform and has the ability to record the session. Keeping this in a shared drive for you and your clients to access will be a lifesaver for everyone.
Virtual Event Planner Jobs: The Importance of First Impressions
First impressions are the best impressions! Being knowledgeable, resourceful, and helpful are some of the top traits clients look for during the consultation. How we vet our vendors is how clients vet us during the initial consultation.
With that being said, be prepared for any questions they may have. Of course, if you don’t know the answer to a question, that’s okay, too! Clients book with you because you’re knowledgeable and resourceful. So, use that resourceful side of yourself to create a solution (i.e. partner with a vendor to make it happen)!
Make the most of the consultation by having or walking the client through a questionnaire. It’s critical that event planners have a full understanding of the clients’ needs, vision, and goals. A clear understanding ensures that the event planning process is as smooth as possible.
This is especially true virtual event planner jobs. For example, in the virtual world, the clients’ needs and visions will determine the type of platform you’ll hold the event on. Say the goal is to primarily have multiple presentations. In that case, platforms like Zoom or Blue Jeans would suffice. Furthermore, if you’d like more mobility for networking, this would need to be determined during the initial client consultation, too. My personal recommendations for a more mobile-friendly platform option would be Gatherly or Hopin. These platforms are the virtual equivalents of in-person venues.
Keep in mind that once a client has committed to a virtual platform, it’s challenging to change it to another. So, be sure to ask open-ended questions that will encourage your clients to talk about what they want. That way, you can be confident that the platform chosen is the most effective one for their needs. Start with your ‘5 W’s and How’ and I promise you’ll have more questions along the way!
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that not everything has to be done in-person. Yes, I said it. I know we all miss a good luncheon, but I have also thoroughly enjoyed meeting from the comfort of my home and still connecting with people! Most of my virtual meetings have been extremely beneficial because I’m able to pay attention more. Instead of my clients inconveniencing their lives by going out of their way to meet me at a coffee shop, we host virtual meetings instead. I work with a variety of people; those with small and big families. Virtual meetings may have a few interruptions, but my clients appreciate having the choice of whether they want to leave their homes or not.
Virtual Event Planner Jobs: How to Conduct a Consultation
Conducting a virtual client consultation is actually quite simple. First, I go through a series of questions with my clients. These questions help me determine their needs. One of the things I’ll ask about is the theme of the event. For example, imagine that your client wants to host a virtual birthday party. Some of the questions you’d ask them would include:
- Whose birthday is it?
- What is the purpose of the event?
- Who’s hosting the event?
- Who are the attendees?
- What theme do they have in mind?
- What sort of things do they want virtual guests to be able to do?
- When are they looking to have this event?
- Where would they like this event held?
- Why are they holding this event?
- How do they want attendees to attend and participate?
Prior to the Consultation
Before the virtual consultation, I’ll send out a client questionnaire. This will help both parties better determine if we’re a great fit for one another. I will review the questionnaire before our consultation starts, and we then we’ll review it together while on the call.
This questionnaire will typically open the door to more questions from both sides during the consultation. I find that my best bookings and conversations have come from this method! Throughout the consultation, I’ll also repeat back the things I’ve heard and will keep note of everything in the shared meeting notes. Lastly, I always recommend keeping a record of anything you and clients discuss in writing. This will eliminates any confusion in the future.
Key Tips To Remember
During the consultation, be sure to look directly into the camera. Direct eye contact establishes trust! Yes, you can glance for a break from time to time, but make sure to maintain your focus on the clients. Speak carefully, slowly, and smoothly. Clients should have no problem understanding you. If you want to practice your on-camera presence before the consultation, do so! Grab your laptop, turn your camera on, and rehearse. It starts there. Virtual event planner jobs and client consultations are a different form of presentation. It’s one that is both formal and informal at the same time. As such, finding that perfect balance is key!
Ideally, By the End of the Consultation…
…the clients will have answered all of your questions. At that time, you should invite them to ask any outstanding questions they may have. If you’re using a platform that would be fitting for the client’s event, you can always host the initial consultation on that specific platform as well. This way, you can do a brief walkthrough of the platform and its different functions during the consultation. Not everyone fills out the questionnaire (we’re all busy, I know) and switching platforms can be done in seconds. This gives your first initial consultation versatility.
By the end of the consultation, your clients should be properly educated on the game plan for the event. Together, you’ll have reviewed the roadmap to the event, everyone will be aware of their role, and both parties will know what needs to be taken care of going forward.
QC Event School’s Virtual Events Training Course
QC’s Virtual Events Training Course is the perfect training to jumpstart your virtual planning career and help you book more event planner jobs! This one-unit mini course can be taken by those familiar with broadcasting technology and those unfamiliar as well. This action-packed training takes you behind the scenes, where you’ll review the history of virtual events, practice planning events with real-world scenarios, and much more! As a graduate of this program, I think my favorite takeaway was the invaluable questionnaire to use as a resource.
Thank you all for joining my today! Virtual events have truly been my pain, peace, and practice over the last year. They require a lot more work because you’re drawing people into you, from someplace else – and the only way to overcome that is to maintain the connection!
Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment below! I’d love to answer more questions about virtual events. Additionally, we can also connect in the QC Event School Virtual Classroom on Facebook, where we all share great resources and help one another to become greater. I hope to see you there!