Before the Zoom!

One of the differences I’ve noticed between virtual and in-person shows is what happens before the show.

At an in-person event you might have to look for parking, you wait in line for something to eat, find your seat, and chat with a few people while pre-show music plays. You might get to the venue 30 minutes before the show starts and still feel like you had to rush to your seat.

That doesn’t happen online.

I’ve seen people join literally as the show starts, and I’ve seen people sign on to a Zoom meeting a half hour before. But, since that pre-show time is a little different, it might feel a little awkward, so here’s some tips for what to do before the show if you’re hosting a virtual event:

When should people join?
Have people join early, but not too early. Give them enough time to make sure their device is working, the connection is good, and make sure they’re familiar with any controls they might need (mute, camera, chat, etc.)

Welcome everyone!
If this is a really large event, this might not be possible, but with a smaller group it’s always nice to say hi to people as they join the room. It’ll make things a little less awkward and also give them a chance to make sure the video and microphones are working. Even if the “official welcome” happens when the show starts, have something to welcome them (a picture, slideshow, video, etc.) For one, it lets them know they’re in the right place, 2) helps build some anticipation, and 3) helps reduce the awkwardness of seeing a Zoom gallery slowly fill up with participants.

Have a quick activity!
I recently performed at a virtual event where the host played music as room was opened, and then invited everyone to join a virtual dance party! This brought the energy up, got the cameras turned on, and made everyone feel like they were part of the group. If dance isn’t your thing, cool, maybe something like trivia questions will suit things better.

Even though the pre-show time may be a lot less than what you’d have in-person, having it go smoothly helps make sure the show gets off to a great start.

Learn more about Derrin’s Virtual Show!