A Guide to Virtual Symposium Best Practices

According to Markletic, 67% of businesses are now hosting virtual events in addition to (or instead of) in-person events. There are a ton of great reasons for this, including increased accessibility, better attendance, and lower costs.

But hosting a successful virtual event isn’t as easy as it may appear. It requires a lot of preparation and forethought—not to mention the right tools.

In this Superevent guide, we’ll be taking a deep dive into virtual symposium best practices, from choosing the right tech tools to creating an actionable agenda. So if you’re ready to get started, let’s jump right in!

What Is a Virtual Symposium?

A virtual symposium is a digital gathering where individuals come together in an online space, often via a video platform. Although they can be pre-recorded, they primarily occur live and can imitate an in-person event like a conference, meeting, or lecture.

As an illustration, a virtual conference could have identical features to an in-person conference, such as:

  • A keynote speaker to establish and keep the underlying theme of the event.
  • Guest speakers who are industry experts add more context and different perspectives on the theme.
  • An audience of attendees wishing to learn and expand their knowledge.
Make sure not miss a thing and download our bonus content: The Virtual Symposium Checklist

Examples of Virtual Symposiums

Microsoft Build 2023

User interface: virtual symposium platform

From May 23rd to May 25th, Microsoft hosted a virtual symposium called Microsoft Build.

Over the three-day event, 162 sessions were conducted, featuring talks by industry experts on diverse topics such as AI automation, Microsoft Azure, Java, and other developer solutions.

Adobe Summit 2023

User interface: virtual symposium platform

The Adobe Summit will be held in London on 8th-9th of June. If you can’t make it to the inspirational event, don’t worry! You can still catch any of the 200 sessions online. Industry leaders will delve into important topics such as B2B marketing, customer journey management, and collaborative work management. This will be an educational event full of valuable insights for online businesses.

Why Are Digital Symposiums Important?

  • Convenient and flexible: Virtual symposiums are both convenient and flexible as people can attend from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Lower costs: With virtual Symposiums, not only do you avoid costs like hiring the venue, but also costs like food, travel, accommodation, and other event resources you might need
  • Analytics: Virtual platforms often come with sophisticated reporting capabilities to track things like number of attendees, how long people stayed for, and rate of engagement. This information can help businesses find new leads and sponsors. 

Things To Consider When Organizing Virtual Symposiums

  • Size, structure, and timing: Consider how many people will attend your virtual symposium, as well as where they’ll access it from. Because of the possible time zone differences, you might consider making your event on-demand for those not able to make the live show. You might also consider running it towards the end of the day so that it doesn’t clash with people’s work schedules. 
  • Format and content: Consider the format and content of your symposium. For example, what topics will you discuss? How many speakers will you have? Will you allow attendees to ask questions and discuss topics amongst themselves?
  • Virtual symposium platform: Finally, you must pick your virtual symposium platform. This could be a dedicated platform like Superevent that allows you to create events for free, depending on the size. Alternatively, you might choose to host your symposium through social media, for example.
Make sure not miss a thing and download our bonus content: The Virtual Symposium Checklist

8 Virtual Symposium Best Practices

1. Set a Clear Purpose

First and foremost, set a clear purpose. 

Before any other planning takes place, defining the purpose of your virtual symposium is critical, as it lays the foundation for the entire structure. The purpose determines the required technology, resources, and content needed for the symposium. 

So, take the time to understand your objectives to produce better outcomes.

2. Choose the Right Virtual Symposium Software

When you’ve set your purpose, it’s time to choose your virtual symposium software. The one you choose will depend on the type of symposium you’re planning. 

You might require a simple virtual conference platform that just facilitates video streaming. Or, you might prefer a more comprehensive software through which you can manage and organize the entire event. 

User interface: virtual symposium platform

Superevent is an all-in-one event management software designed for professionals and organizations alike. With Superevent, creating an event application tailored to your needs is effortless, even without developer skills. 

The app empowers you to engage with your audience at any stage of the event, and your attendees can watch your event in real-time on their devices of choice, be it mobile, tablet, or PC.

3. Test the Technology

Go through a trial run of your event to test the technology before the big day. Get all the relevant people to test their software too to ensure it all runs smoothly. The last thing you want is to kill the momentum because of a 30-minute delay due to technical issues. 

4. Find Ways to Engage Your Audience

Your audience might be subject to any number of distractions, more so than if they attended your virtual symposium in person. They might have family members in the same room, there could be a knock at the door or anything else that might demand their attention. The best way to get around this is to engage your audience as much as possible. 

Some engagement ideas to get you started:

  • Q&A sessions where attendees can ask questions on the topics.
  • Virtual ‘coffee breaks’ where people have space to chat amongst themselves.
  • Live polls where people can vote on their opinions.
  • Feedback surveys to gather feedback. 
  • Ask people to post on social media about the event and to use specified hashtags.

You might also encourage engagement by awarding prizes or points to the most engaged attendees. 

Make sure not miss a thing and download our bonus content: The Virtual Symposium Checklist

5. Leverage Data to Determine the Symposium’s Success

Earlier, we mentioned how data can be a powerful tool for evaluating your virtual event’s success

Well, by collecting metrics like session durations, engagement, and survey results, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the event. Analyse these insights to determine which areas might need improvement for an even better symposium next time.

6. Use Ice-Breakers

Ice-breakers can lighten the atmosphere and help everyone feel more comfortable in the virtual environment. Attendees might be a little nervous about what to expect, particularly if they’ve never attended a virtual symposium before. Break the ice with jokes, audience questions, or interactive games and quizzes that everyone can get involved in. 

7. Keep Sessions Short and Sweet

It’s highly recommended to divide a virtual symposium into smaller, 30-minute sessions. 

It’s no fun staring at a screen for hours on end, and your audience may lose interest. Give them the chance to grab a coffee, stretch their legs, and converse in a welcoming environment. This will keep attendees engaged, refreshed, and ready to absorb more content. 

8. Always Follow up

Finally, you need to follow up with your attendees to ensure you stay at the forefront of their minds. Send an email thanking guests for attending and ask them to submit a short feedback form. 

Are You Ready for the Next Step?

Virtual symposiums are the perfect way of gathering audiences from every corner of the world. They’re particularly convenient for individuals who have family commitments or limited time for traveling. So, if you plan to organize a virtual symposium, keep in mind the best practices mentioned above.

If you’re feeling lost when it comes to organizing your event, why not consider using specialised software like Superevent

Our platform is tailored to experts in various fields, including scientists, medical professionals, and corporations. Small events come at no cost, and the software’s efficient management and communication tools streamline the planning process.

Sign up today and get started!

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