Plan your event
If you have decided to hold an event, use this template for initial planning:
Audience, purpose and timing
- Why are you holding the event – and how does it fit in with the overall knowledge mobilisation strategy?
- With the purpose in mind, who will be the target audience? How will you reach them?
- What are you trying to achieve from the event? What will be the measure of success?
- Are there any timing on budgetary constraints, or other considerations?
Designate lead roles
There are three areas of responsibility for an event:
- Content: Responsible for the strategy, appointing speakers, aligning content, evaluation
- Logistics: Responsible for organising the event, including the delivery channel
- Communications: Responsible for advertising the event and branding
Different platforms are better suited to different meeting types and delivery methods.
- Microsoft Teams Meetings and Zoom Meetings are built to enable general or collaborative team meetings where the primary goal is meeting ‘face-to-face’ with attendees, open group discussion with voice and video enabled, or presenting slides, documents or a virtual whiteboard for viewing or collaboration
- For a meeting that includes discussion, consider standard Zoom or Teams meetings; for meetings that involve a lecture style or education focus, especially for large numbers, use Zoom or Teams webinar.
Webinars and training seminars
Microsoft Webinars or Zoom Meetings / Webinars are best suited to meetings that are primarily intended to:
- have a presenter or series of presenters and an audience
- include moderated interaction where the audience can provide feedback or questions – e.g. using chat, Q&A and polling options
- may require attendee registration
However, if the webinar is more complex, you may consider a paid virtual meeting or event service such as Cvent. This may be suitable if you:
- would like a more professional looking interface for the event
- have high profile presenters
- have a large number of presenters in disparate locations or requiring additional support
- need production assistance for moderation of presentations, videos, Q&A
- would like an all-purpose solution for marketing and registrations (e.g. an event website)
- require technical support
Online or hybrid conferences
For a large conference or virtual event, you would probably consider using a paid service. However, Microsoft Teams Live Events is also an option.
These types of events are primarily broadcast events, i.e. a set of presenters for a very large audience where interaction is minimal (e.g. Q&A) and collaboration is not required.
Tips for hosting online events
- Keep the event as short as possible.
- For large groups and where time is short, have participants introduce themselves via the chat function.
- If your internet is ‘unstable’, try turning off your video to reduce the bandwidth.
- Offer as much pre-work as possible before the meeting, with pre-reading and submission of discussion points to aid in discussion and collaboration.
- Nominate a facilitator to facilitate discussions, just as you would for a face-to-face meeting. Facilitation of discussion can be more difficult online; facilitators may need to call on participants to start the conversation.
- Make use of the ‘break out’ rooms function to aid discussion.
- If you have guest speakers, develop an instruction sheet for them specifically for your meeting, this should include the basics such as how to share slides, but also how you are managing facilitation and discussion. Organise a test run for presenters before the event.
- Make sure presenters are able to use their camera/mic.
- Make sure they know how to ‘control’ the slides.
- Have a Plan B if the technology stops working.
- Discuss how Q&A will be managed during the live session. Chat is fine for smaller events, however Teams Q&A or Slido may be preferred for larger events where there is the ability to moderate questions.
- Let the presenters and attendees know the session will be recorded.
Platform: Face to face meeting
If your meeting will be face to face, here is a list of what you may need.
- Access and parking
Equipment to bring
- Recording device
- Note pads
- Water glasses & water jug
- Promotional materials e.g. tote bags, water bottles
- Slides from external parties?
- Are they using the correct template?
- Are they correctly branded?
- Morning/afternoon tea
- Special dietary requirements?
Accommodation and transport
- List of who requires accommodation
- Cab charges
When creating the agenda, consider:
- Introduction, housekeeping and Welcome to Country
- Who will speak and for how long
- Who will introduce them
- Facilitation if necessary
- Allow time for breaks
- If online, limit to 60-75 minutes and allow plenty of time for questions
- Consider a moderator for questions
You can advertise the event via Eventbrite or similar platform, or email.
Don’t forget to include:
- Purpose of the meeting
- Key speakers (with short bio if necessary) – make sure you have their permission
- Location (including registration links)
- Set up confirmation email and reminders for 2 days prior to the event and 2 hours prior to the event. If online, ensure the link is prominent.
- Ensure the invite is sent to all presenters (especially if online so they have the link to join)
- Promote via your communications channels – can include website, email, newsletter, social media. Ask your networks for help to promote.
- Request slides at least 1 day before the event
- If online, include as a single slide deck
- Create holding slides for introduction and Q&A
You can send a survey (using an online tool such as SurveyMonkey) to seek feedback from participants. This can be fed into the event process for continuous improvement.
More from the CERI User Guide
This chapter of the User Guide is one in a series available from The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre website. It was prepared by members of the Collaboration for Enhanced Research Impact (CERI) Coordinating Group to provide practical tips on knowledge mobilisation and science communication for researchers working in the prevention of chronic disease.
The Collaboration for Enhanced Research Impact (CERI) is a joint initiative between the Prevention Centre and several NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence, established in June 2020 to enhance the profile and impact of chronic disease prevention in Australia. We are working together to find alignment in the policy and practice implications of our work and to develop shared communications across our various projects and participating centres.