Navigating the Virtual Event: An Event Director’s Experience


Navigating the waters of this virtual event world has been a little intimidating and nerve-wracking for even the most seasoned event planners and speakers. But I just finished working with a speaker on one of the best speeches I’ve ever watched in my 13 years doing this job, and it was all done via Zoom meetings. 

Lisa Sun, CEO & Co-Founder of Gravitas, is absolutely amazing in front of an audience and has an uncanny ability to make everyone in the room with her feel seen. She’s the type of speaker you know is going to “wow” any client you book her for.

However, the virtual meeting world is different, and I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Lisa’s talk includes slides, video, and some up-close-and-personal audience interaction. PLUS we were also experiencing technical difficulties up until the morning of the event…

But with a lot of advanced preparation, multiple AV Checks, and a couple of superheroes to the rescue, Lisa got “on stage” and blew everyone away. No one in the audience would have known the nail-biting anxiety we were all feeling just an hour beforehand.    

Here is a rundown of what made this experience such a success:


The speaker cared... A LOT.  As soon as Lisa was booked for her first virtual gig, she came to us for guidance about how she could make this Zoom speech feel as authentic as a live audience experience.  It was really important to Lisa that these clients get their money’s worth.  She is a perfectionist in the best sense of the word and wasn’t going to take the easy way out.  She spent a lot of time and money creating a beautiful camera-ready studio in her garment district factory in NYC.

Leading Authorities cared… A LOT.  At LAI, we care about speakers and how their content is delivered. And have the resources to make a virtual event shine! Our unique make-up of speakers bureau, event production, video agency teams work together to connect the dots and make sure that the speaker is comfortable with the event technology, is ready to make a great impression, and delivers a seamless performance. In this case, all three of our teams joined content and logistics calls with the client to make sure everyone was going to walk away from this happy. My colleagues’ specific expertise also came in handy during the preparation process.

  • At-Home Video Expertise. We had multiple consultation calls with Lisa, where our LAI Video consultant was key in ensuring the video was broadcast-quality. He offered recommendations for specific lighting, angles, and sound equipment to make this “home studio” as professional as possible. Read LAI Video’s specific tips on how to shoot remote, high-quality videos here.
  • Virtual Event Production. While many members of the team were new to the digital environment, our LAI Live consultant and virtual event expert is a seasoned pro. She met with Lisa on multiple occasions to provide suggestions for how to use the technology, incorporate audience interaction, and share best practices for executing a seamless production. Check out our LAI Live blog on how to mitigate tech risks of a virtual event.

Customization. Lisa (like so many of our speakers) had created an entirely new topic based on our current environment.  But, she also really listened to what this client needed their audience to hear during this webinar and made sure to incorporate that into her very timely talk… which is all about “Pivoting with Purpose.”

Rehearsals. In addition to the client AV check the morning of the speech itself, we did an internal LAI AV check with Lisa the day before. It was at this time that we realized two things:

  1. Lisa’s studio set-up background looked fantastic.
  2. Her wifi was way too slow and was creating some pretty serious glitches and delays. This is when Lisa used one of her superpowers – networking – to call a Spectrum executive she met at a speaking event earlier this year. He was able to get a technician to her office first thing in the morning to upgrade her wifi plan… just in the nick of time!

Trust. We all trusted Lisa’s instincts to include an audience interaction piece. The client seemed hesitant about incorporating a “breakout” and I’m the first to admit, I was also super nervous about this part of the plan (just because…technology).  But it’s a crucial piece of Lisa’s talk and she convinced all of us that it was necessary….and she was right….it might even be MORE necessary in a virtual event world.  It was a huge hit with the audience and you could tell by all the comments in the chat box that this group loved the opportunity to connect with their colleagues.

Everyone stayed calm. When things were looking pretty dire with the image resolution the day before, Lisa didn’t panic… she just simply said, “Let me get off this call and go fix this.”  And this particular client didn’t hire a production team. The people running the show were marketing and communications employees who quickly learned a new skill….and rocked it. 

The Power of a Virtual Event

I am someone who has entered the world of virtual events with a lot of trepidation.  I am not tech-savvy and my favorite part of this job is being onsite with meeting planners, producers, and speakers and feeling like part of a team.  

So imagine my surprise when I walked away (i.e. closed my laptop) after this event and felt as proud of and as connected to my team as I ever have at a live event!

We can do this for you, too!

Leading Authorities International is here to partner with you to make your next virtual experience a success. From training talent for virtual to providing broadcast-quality production value, our teams stand ready to help you every step of the way.

To get in touch with a member of our team right away, you can call us at +44-203-440-4196, fill out the form at the bottom of this page, email us at, or start a live chat with us online.

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