The Checklist: How to Set up Virtual Events – Part 4 of 5

This is the fourth of five parts on setting up online events. While focusing on storytelling, the information applies to any performing arts or virtual event. Our blog as well as our All Things Story Virtual Workshop Series are wonderful professional development resources.


  • Part 1 – Event Type, Audience, Timing & Pricing – REVEALED
  • Part 2 – Choosing the Right Platform & Registration – REVEALED
  • Part 3 – Rapports & Introductions – REVEALED
  • Part 4 – Test Runs, Sound Checks & Logistics – TODAY
  • Part 5 – Feedback Forms and Follow-Ups

Test Runs are different than Sound Checks. And do you get headaches with Logistics? Discover what we learned.

The timing and length of time dedicated is the biggest difference between Test Runs and Sound Checks.

The “Run” part of Test Run means you could “run” to the store (or online ordering) in case something needs to be ordered to make everything smoother.

The “Check” part of Sound Check means you are checkmarking that things are still smooth since that Test Run and happens the day of the virtual event itself.

Having Successful Test Run(s):

  • Schedule Test Run a month before the actual virtual event…though can “squeeze” one in within one week before actual event, but then you can run into trouble if someone needs to purchase better equipment/lighting as a result
  • Allow for the Test Run to take about 30 minutes while people want it to be a rehearsal and be the same length of the virtual event – and thus you would moving away from a “Test Run” and into the “Rehearsal” realm
  • Doing early Test Run makes it possible to have a 2nd Test Run if things do more “interesting” than you expected
  • Invite all presenters and co-hosts/emcees involved and give clear instructions and plenty of reminders
  • Have all presenters listed in your phone so you can text in case anyone forgot or miscalculated for the time zone
  • Of the 30-minute or so Test Run, take about 15 minutes to check and play around with lighting/sound/positioning while the last 15 minutes could be to live-stream (whether or not this is what you plan to do for the virtual event) that acts as a test AND a type of promo/anticipation for the event
  • People who are NOT part of the Test Run can still participated and be scheduled to watch for any live-streaming of test runs – have these people give comments within the feed of the virtual event AND send you group text for anyone else assigned to be “watching”
  • Always connect to the Ethernet/modem and NOT wi-fi
  • Not all Ethernet cables are equal – they have “categories” with number 6 being the best for the time being for fastest ability plus you can even get 100′ cable so you can set up in the room that you wish with your laptop

Thanks to storyteller Donna Washington, I learned about this 5 1/2 -minute video that visually shows you what you need to do for Test Runs. I agree with it all except for always worrying about centering on the screen. Sometimes it is smart to be on the side depending on your needs. AND…the best 90-minute version of the know-how is through Simon Brooks and his workshop “Breaking Boundaries of the Screen: Presenting On-line” on Monday, September 7, 2020 from 9-10:30am MDT that is part of our All Things Story Virtual Workshop Series.

Having Successful Sound Check:

  • Schedule your Sound Check at least 30 minutes before the virtual event
  • All presenter(s) and hosts/co-hosts/emcees need to be part of this Sound Check
  • Make sure sound/lighting/positioning work even though checked during your Test Run(s)
  • Keep the length to 15 minutes so you can allow early people to jump on early and open it up to mingling

Logistics Before and During:

  • Create/update/receive any paperwork with presenter(s) such as – contract, digital release (live-streaming and/or recording and/or picture taking/screen-shots) – see templates you can adapt at the Story Producer Resources page
  • Assign 2-4 hosts/co-hosts to divide the following roles – emceeing, admitting people into the virtual space (if applicable), watching real-time comments and/or chat within the virtual space, sharing screens
  • Develop “scenes” to share within the virtual space such as listing of funders, volunteers, upcoming events – can be video or picture files – can create using Canva (free and paid versions) – you can see examples of what we did for “The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities” (live) versus what we had for scenes for “Story Crossroads Spectacular: Youth & Community Tellers” (pre-recorded)
  • Give updates as people register to your volunteers/Board as well as to the presenter(s) – this motivates people to continue to promote the event – registrations always go up when you keep track as a team
  • Receive any handout(s) as well as any slide shows–if being used–at least a couple days before the event – offer to double-check for any typos so there is time to fix

Continue with us to Part 5 for the Logistics after the event in “Feedback Forms & Follow-Ups.”

You can make this virtual. You can realize your dreams for it.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities. See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here.

Participate or present as part of the All Things Story Virtual Workshop Series that kicks off Monday, September 7, 2020 with Simon Brooks.

Published by storycrossroads

Story Crossroads fosters creative and compassionate communities through the art of storytelling. 501(c)(3)

2 thoughts on “The Checklist: How to Set up Virtual Events – Part 4 of 5

Leave a Reply