The Complete Event Planning Checklist for Virtual Events

With virtual gatherings at an all-time high, many people are applying their event organizing skills to the digital realm for the first time. And why not?! Virtual events are a super powerful way to not only stay connected but also spark new connections, build your audience, or promote your brand. 

However, whether you’re a seasoned planner of in-person events or a total novice, there are some unique challenges that can come up when working with a virtual format. The key to melting your event planning worries away? Planning ahead and knowing your tools and audience. 

Here at CIC, we host dozens of events each month. We’ve seen firsthand, over the course of years, what makes or breaks a successful virtual gathering. So we wanted to share our process to help make your virtual event smooth sailing. Use the checklist below as a guide in your event planning — from double-checking your tech setup to following up with attendees after the big day. 


For online events, tending to your tech needs is the equivalent of booking and prepping a physical venue for an in-person event. Just as you’d want to make sure that you have selected the right space and set up the right amount of chairs, you’ll want to make sure your virtual space is ready to welcome your attendees. 

Reliable webcam 

A high-quality video is more likely to keep an audience’s attention than a pixelated, blurry video. Often a laptop’s built-in webcam does the trick, but make sure to test it in advance to ensure that it provides the quality you need. We recommend purchasing an external webcam to connect to your computer, if you need video that your laptop cannot capture. Make sure you have the correct cords and adapters to plug the webcam into your laptop, and that you test it beforehand.  



All of the above applies to audio as well. Oftentimes a laptop’s built in microphone will work for a small meeting that has one person per screen. However, if you’re coordinating a larger event where multiple guests will have to rely on the same microphone, invest in high-quality microphones to ensure everyone is heard. 

For example, Venture Café After Dark’s live concerts use external microphones and a recording interface to pick up vocals and instruments, resulting in high-quality sound that’s pleasant to listen to. Bad audio, whether it’s too quiet or cutting in and out, is a reason that people leave virtual events, so the investment in quality sound equipment can really help retain attendees. 


For smaller virtual meetings, echo can be a problem for participants. Echo occurs when a participant is unmuted and is using their computer or phone to both listen and speak. Many virtual event platforms have automatic echo cancellation, but headphones are recommended in order to avoid this echo problem altogether.

Video conferencing software 

Know what platform you will be hosting your event on and be familiar with it. Platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Remo all have tricks and features that make them intriguing and fun to use, so take some time to explore your software. Oftentimes, these features — like Zoom’s polls, for example — can prompt users to engage during the event. 

Be sure that the software you’re using is installed on your laptop or phone. If you need some help picking the best platform to use, check out our comprehensive guide to virtual event platforms

Appropriate background 

You want all presenters to be easy to see, so be aware of lighting and everything that’s in your videocam frame. Ideally, seat yourself in a space where your background is clean, clear, and undistracting. Avoid sitting somewhere with a light source (such as a window or lamp) behind you, as this will cause you to look dark against the bright backdrop. 

If you don’t have a clear space to use, or you just want to spice things up, see if your platform allows you to choose a custom background. CIC has a variety of downloadable Zoom backgrounds of beautiful, well-lit office, lounge, or meeting spaces. Feel free to share these as an option with other speakers in your event, too! 


Alongside planning the event itself, you also want to make sure you’re taking the right steps to invite and attract your audience. If you’re just getting started with promotion or want to boost up your attendee count even further, our virtual event promotion guide offers more details. Below, we’ll quickly go over the key aspects of promotion to be aware of. 


Whether your event is large or small, paid or free, it’s a good idea to have your attendees go through some sort of registration process. This allows you to keep track of who your audience is and keep in touch with them later on. It also gives you the ability to see roughly how many guests to expect at your virtual event. 

Many platforms, like Zoom and Eventbrite, allow you to send your guests a reminder email shortly before your event. It’s always a good idea to set this up, as virtual events are much easier to forget about than in-person events! 

Promotional graphics 

Creating an eye-catching graphic to get the attention of potential attendees is invaluable. Your graphic should provide a clear representation of the event. Include the name of your event and the date and time of its occurrence, but steer clear of too much text, as it can become difficult to read. 

Ensure that the graphic you’re creating is sized correctly for each platform you’ll be posting on to increase legibility. For instance, something readable on Instagram may not translate well to a Facebook event banner. Use this handy guide from Hootsuite to determine the best image sizes for each platform. 

Both Canva (free) and Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (subscription-based) let you easily resize graphics so that you can have a consistent, attractive image across multiple platforms. 

Here is an example of a promotional graphic that appears on the event’s Eventbrite registration page, as well as social media posts, newsletters, and digital event calendars:


Provide your attendees with a centralized landing page that can answer all their event questions. This could be a Facebook page, an Eventbrite page, or a dedicated page on your website. The landing page should provide a description of the event, ticketing information, any outside links that attendees will need to access, an event schedule if applicable, and a nice graphic. 

Having a centralized page with all of your event information prevents your guests from having to hunt around the internet to put together pieces of content, which can quickly discourage someone from attending. Instead, with a landing page, they can absorb all the necessary information quickly and efficiently, and have a place to return to for any event questions. 

Promotional plan

Mapping out how you’ll post about your event helps you stick to deadlines and drives audience attendance. This will be how your attendees discover your event, so think about who your target audience is. When you have your answer, go where they are! Ensure that your event is viewable to the public well in advance, so that you give attendees enough time to find it and put it in their schedule. Don’t worry about them registering and forgetting — use the registration reminders! Once your event is public, have a cross-platform plan. No matter how niche your subject matter is, people and audiences are diverse. Leverage community calendars, content-related hashtags, location-based promotion, and anything else at your disposal to make sure you’re getting your event in front of the right eyes. 

Before the Event 

A lot of your event prep work will happen in the weeks or even months prior. However, there are a few action items you should be sure to address in the days leading up to the event. 

Event link 

Before your event begins, ensure that both participants and attendees have easy access to the link they need to access your event — whether it’s attached to their ticket, in a calendar invite, or sent in a reminder email right before your event. They should be able to easily find it without digging through their inbox. Especially because virtual events don’t require an attendee to leave their current location, it’s easy to forget where or when an event is happening. So the easier it is to find your event link and the clearer your reminder communication is, the better chance that your event will be well attended. 


If your virtual event lineup includes special guests or speakers, confirm with them well in advance. A good guest speaker makes a great incentive for attendees to tune in, so make sure they are booked before you begin promoting your event. A few days before your event, touch base with your speakers to make sure they are still confirmed, have access to the software you’ll be using, have all required equipment, and know what’s expected of them. 


Hopefully you’ve crafted an event schedule and posted it on your event’s landing page. If not, now is the time! Audiences want to know what they’re walking into, and especially if your event has different segments, looking at a schedule can help your attendees plan their day. 

If you already have an event schedule, now is the time to dig into it a bit more on the back end. Note in advance when to expect pivotal moments such as: speaker transitions, introductions, screen sharing, etc. This will help you, or whoever is coordinating the flow of the event, be on top of these details, instead of scrambling in the moment.

Due to video lag, and the fact that everyone is in a different room, a nitty gritty, down-to-the-minute schedule helps smoothen your event. Send this schedule out to presenters and coordinators so that everyone is on the same page. 

Lastly, writing out a schedule can help you anticipate segments of your event that may run behind, and allow you to have a back-up plan to adjust the timing of your event. Virtual events running over the designated time frame can disrupt an attendee’s day, or force them to leave your event early, causing them to miss important details. Have a plan to get your event back on track if it begins to lag. 


Practice, practice, and more practice

A “tech-check” is essential for any virtual event. Use this time to make sure you know the ins-and outs of your video conferencing software and that the settings for your event are correct. Did you need to add a waiting room? Do that now! It’s helpful to run through the tech-check with a friend on the other side of the screen, so that you know how others will look and sound. If you’re using any external equipment like a webcam or microphone, make sure they are effectively connected to your computer and others can hear you. While this seems like a simple item to check off your list, it’s important not to rush. Technical difficulties are a large reason why attendees leave a virtual event early — and they’re easy to avoid (this tech checklist can help!). Make sure you catch them and troubleshoot them in your tech-check. 

Hit record

For most virtual events, it’s helpful to have a copy of your event that you can rewatch, send to attendees, or use as marketing material at a later date. In-person events often have a photographer, so think of this as a virtual replacement. If your event recording will include attendees’ video or chat contributions, be sure to inform everyone at the beginning of the event that the event will be recorded and how it will be shared later on. (It can also be helpful to announce this a few times so that you catch people who might have joined a few minutes late or stepped out for a moment during your announcement.)

After the Event 

“Thank you” emails

The attendees of your event are always potential customers, partners, ambassadors, and connections. Stay in touch with them! The easiest way to do that is to send a thank you email after your event has occurred. 

Your thank you email is also a good time to send along a recorded version of your event. This way attendees can rewatch particularly relevant bits or catch up if they had to leave early. And, this mail is another good opportunity to mention future events you have coming up. 

Consider sending this email to all registrants, not just registrants who actually attended. You don’t know why someone missed an online event, but sending a recap is always appreciated, as they took the time to register. 

Don’t forget to also send a thank you to your speakers! 

What went right? 

First of all, celebrate yourself! You just threw a virtual event, connecting individuals in a time when connection is needed most. Whether you provided entertainment, education, or just a place to relax, you should be proud. 

Take this time to make a note of everything that was a success, so that you can replicate it for future events. Then, make a note of things you want to improve upon, and make a plan to implement them at your next event. 

Lastly, in this digital age, data is your friend. Look at your event data to see what your attendees thought went right. What was the segment of programming that had the largest audience? When was the chat busiest? Virtual events provide much more data than in-person events, so harness it and use it to your advantage.  

Getting Ready to Host Your Virtual Event

Hosting a virtual event can be just as much of a feat as hosting an in-person event — and it can offer just as much of a pay off! Thankfully, there are easy ways to ensure that you are well prepared and that your event can run seamlessly. Start your planning in advance, get familiar with the technological aspects of running your event, and remember that events are all about bringing people together and giving them a meaningful experience.

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