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13 must-have tools that will reimagine your virtual events

by | Sep 28, 2021 | Virtual

Here at FCCF, we routinely host virtual events such as AGMs, interviews, shareholder meetings, shareholder meetings, dispute resolution meetings, and more. Over our time of facilitating these events, we’ve taken notes on the do’s and do not’s of online resources to elevate online events. Part of ensuring a seamless virtual event is having the right software and online tools. We handpicked some of our favourite resources and provided them below.

1. Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is an essential application to have on your device if you present often, whether it’s formal or informal. Visual aids help to elevate your virtual events by assisting in effectively conveying information and increasing your audience engagement. From the basic templates to unique customizations, PowerPoint lets you share information in a multitude of ways through images, videos, sounds and text. One of FCCF’s favourite ways to use PowerPoint is to engage our audiences with gifs, or small animations during internal team-building meetings.

Microsoft PowerPoint is a paid application you are able to download on your machine and Microsoft currently offers two online purchase options: you can buy PowerPoint as standalone software for $139.00 CAD and it works on 1 device; or you can subscribe to Microsoft 365 which starts at $8.00 CAD per month, giving you access to not only PowerPoint but Word, Excel, Outlook, and OneDrive. All of these applications fall under the Microsoft 365 suite. The 365 suite also allows you to log into your account from any computer with the downloaded software, all you need is (your username and password.

2. Canva

Canva is a platform used for graphic design and allows users to create posters, custom documents, and presentations. Canva offers a range of other visual content that might be of interest to some, such
as social media posts, brochures, menus, Zoom virtual backgrounds and so much more. Canva is straightforward, the layout and easy-to-use templates make it a great option for anyone looking to up their virtual event engagement. It’s also a great place to create social media posts for promoting an event or creating take-home material, such as “tips ‘n trick” documents for attendees. Canva can be used for free, however, there are some limits to what you have access to. If it’s just one account you need, we would recommend you start on the free version until you really need to upgrade. Once you’re sure you need to upgrade there are two options: the Pro account which is $149.99 per year with up to 5 people on it; the next is the Enterprise account which is $200.00 per year for 5 people. The Pro offers you additional photos, templates and additional storage, plus the Enterprise offers everything in the Pro account with even more cloud storage available.

3. MailChimp

MailChimp has a versatile profile, from helping you build your brand to marketing an event. MailChimp allows a user to share information to a large audience through email, landing pages, digital ads and social media. Though this can seem overwhelming, MailChimp has laid out its website in a user-friendly, straightforward way that allows everyone to find what they need and utilize the platform to the best of their ability. For instance, at FCCF we use MailChimp for mass email lists, and the unique but user-friendly email layouts. It allows us to email all those invites to an event with the information required to register, join and to provide invitees with a small overview of what they should expect at that virtual event.

MailChimp has 4 pricing levels for their services.

    1. The first is Free and you are able to email 2,000 contacts per month.
    2. The Essentials plan, which starts at $9.99 per month with 500 contacts, has email templates and custom branding.
    3. The 3rd level is Standard and starts at $14.99 per month with 500 contacts – this version has send-time optimization, behavioural targeting and custom templates with dynamic content, which neither of the lower levels has.
    4. The last and highest level is Premium, which starts at $299.00 per month with 10,000 contacts. This level has advanced segmentation, multivariate testing, commissive reporting and phone support. One of the coolest features of MailChimp is they allow you to upgrade your max amount of contacts without changing plans. You can stay where you see fit and only pay per the number of contacts required, up to 75,000.

4. Kahoot!

Kahoot is a cloud-based quiz and trivia platform that helps bring some fun into virtual events. The platform allows you to create your own engaging education, professional and recreational quizzes to play within your meetings. We created one for a client by surveying their team on the question: What have you done during COVID? The answers varied from “I bought a dog” and “Tried out a new hairstyle” to “I picked up a new hobby”. We created the Kahoot based on the answers and colleagues had to guess who supplied each answer. This activity helped to build team spirit and gave everyone a break from the virtual workday. Kahoot allows you to add a competitive, engaging and educational aspect to your online events and meetings, both internal and external.

You can play Kahoot for free or buy a paid-for version based on your requirements and
needs.

    1. Kahoot!360 Standard is $19.00 per month and has up to 20 participants.
    2. Kahoot!360 Presenter is $39.99 per month with up to 50 participants and gains you access to their premium image library.
    3. Kahoot!360 Pro is $59.00 per month and allows up to 2,000 participants, along with access to their premium images you also get access to training courses.

5. Google Forms

If you have a Gmail account, you have access to Google Forms. It comes free with your email, is completely customizable and it’s extremely user-friendly. Google Forms is an online application that allows you to collect data from event registration through to post-event surveys. Google forms are completely customizable; you can choose the colours, branding, and layout of your questions. You can also create anonymous surveys on the platform if required. It then generates answers in 3 formats, first being the automatic collection of information into graphs and table charts, second being the online individual responses categorization, where you can see each entry, the name and what they selected (on anonymous surveys it removes the name and generates a random number for each submission). The third and final option is a downloadable CVS (can be converted to an Excel file if you have it installed) for easy sharing and data analyzing.

If you have attended an FCCF event with a survey at the end, you have filled out a Google Forms Survey. We utilize Google Forms during hiring, when hosting events, it is also how we created a company Kahoot for a client, we’ve even had people submit photos through a Google Forms Survey.

6. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud has over 20+ Desktop/Laptop and smartphone/tablet applications that you can use for
Photography, Design, Video, Web, Document Building and much more. In the professional workforce, Acrobat DC is commonly used for the creation and editing of PDF, it can also be used to get e-signatures on documents. Much
like in our previous newsletter explaining DocuSign, Adobe Acrobat allows you to assign signing to particular people and email a document directly to those that need to sign it. Acrobat also allows you to lock a document and force a signature, meaning that only you the creator can edit, comment, and alter the document. Those who receive the document for signing purposes can only read the document and sign it (or not), but they have access to nothing more.

One of FCCF’s most utilized software suites is Adobe Creative Cloud. The three biggest applications under the Adobe Creative Cloud that we use are: Acrobat DC, Premiere Pro and Photoshop. For all video’s edited post virtual events we use Premiere Pro and for all professional photos of our Workers we used Photoshop to match the backgrounds with our website colour palette. The ability for us to work seamlessly has been made easier with Adobe Creative Cloud. This suite allows you to purchase nearly all 20+ applications individually if you do not require the entire cloud, for Acrobat DC it is $19.99/month, for Premiere pro it’s $27.99/month, for Photoshop it’s $27.99/month. For the entire Adobe Creative Cloud with all 20+ applications it costs $69.99/ month.

Stock Images (Free)

When running a virtual event, especially during the last year, taking or acquiring images for a presentation can be painful. Either trying to coordinate a COVID safe way to take photos or acquire already taken photos can be both time consuming and exhausting. At FCCF we rely on the following sites to access professional stock photos for free.

7. Undraw

unDraw gives you access to professional Illustrations, which are easily accessed by search words. Such as “technology”, “office”, “happy”, etc. Undraw also gives you the ability to select the colour you would like your illustrations in. FCCF uses the same blue and grey colours from our brand to ensure that we carry over the same theme throughout our internal meetings and when working for a client we then use the same colours in their brand to ensure their branding is seamless through all virtual events we host for them.

8. Unsplash

Unsplash provides the largest selection of professional stock photos, they categorize all their images to help ensure easy searching and allow you to input a word, such as “office” and pull up all the photos they have associated with the word office. As a Virtual company that started during covid we leverage Unsplash for our internal work manuals along with Social FCCF events. We also use Unsplash for speaking engagements and virtual events. Unsplash is a great way to diversify your images and resources.

9. Pexels

Like Unspash, Pexels is a great source of stock photos. They have a user-friendly interface which makes looking for stock photos 10x easier. They also allow you to search by word or category. When in doubt on Unsplash, FCCF uses Pexels as a secondary option for the perfect Stock Photos

10. Icons8

Icons8 gives you access to photos, illustrations, icons, music and design tools. The platform is full of useful and easy to use options for everyone. It allows for easy searching of specific images, icons and music. The
platform allows you to find multiple visual and audio aids in one place and helps to cut down the time needed to find the right visual and audio additions to a presentation or virtual event.

11. Pixabay

Pixabay has over 2.3 million high quality stock images, videos and music files for you to browse and select from. All of their images, videos and music are shared by their community and are free to use for personal and commercial use just like Pexels and Unsplash. They allow you to take your virtual event to the next level by giving you access to multiple forms of visual and audio aids all on one site. Platforms like this and Icon8 help to reduce the time you spend looking for ways to elevate your virtual events.

12. oVice

oVice is a perfect solution to having a successful networking event before and/or after a virtual event. Networking is definitely challenging in a virtual environment as in a regular virtual meeting only 1 person can speak at a time, otherwise the audio compounds and nobody can hear anyone. oVice mimics what a real networking session would be like, allowing you go up to a person and can speak with them. In a virtual world this means that multiple conversations can be happening at the same time. With oVice, you can control a little circle with your cursor and walk to whoever you’d like to speak with. oVice takes it a step further by allowing you the option to fully create and customize the room your virtual attendees will socialize in.

For single use events, oVice offers 4 different packages depending on the amount of attendees/virtual room size you will require and for how long you will use the space per week.

    1. Meet up is $25.00/week for 20-50 participants
    2. Conference is $100.00/week for 50-200 participants
    3. Exhibition is $250.00/week for 200-500 participants
    4. Expo contact for more info

13. Wooclap

Wooclap is a great interactive tool to help keep your audience engaged. It provides a variety of different captivating and interactive questions that allows your audience to fully participate in your presentation. Whether it’s brainstorming, quick trivia, polls, matching, or something else – Wooclap has it. Wooclap is the answer to helping attendees in a virtual event stay engaged and connected all while having fun and learning.

For single event use Wooclap has 4 different pricing scales depending on what exactly you are looking for.

    1. Free is, well, it’s free! This is a great package to start with to see if Wooclap is the right fit, however, it would be hard to use this for a presentation as it only allows you to create 2 questions at a time.
    2. Basic is $149.00/event. We highly recommend this package as there is no limit to the amount of questions you can create and you can analyze all the results after your event ends.
    3. Pro is $249.00/event and this package includes everything from the Basic plan. It also offers the ability to fully customize your questions with your own design. Another bonus is that participants can join via SMS, making it easier for participants to access and participate throughout your presentation.
    4. Premium is $749.00/event and includes everything from the Pro package, plus it includes extra plug-ins (such as Canva and Moodle) you can use during your presentation. The biggest bonus here is Wooclap provides enterprise level logins.

14. Animatron

It can be challenging for speakers to keep attendees fully engaged during virtual presentations and Animatron helps to fix this problem! Animatron is a unique application that can help enhance your presentations. It lets you create cartoon graphic videos to help explain different topics and is great to keep virtual presentations
engaging.

Animatron offers 3 packages to pick from depending on what you’re looking for.

 

    1. Free doesn’t cost anything and is best to try out the product’s video graphic creation. This option is not ideal as the video you create can only be up to 10 seconds.
    2. Pro is $30.00/month and is what we recommend. It comes with all the features you really need, plus it lets you create videos up to 10 minutes long at 720p.
    3. Business is $60.00/month and is a great option if you’re looking for extra storage, higher quality graphic videos (1080p), and longer videos (up to 20 minutes)
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