Event Preparation

Shifting from on-the-ground events to virtual events is simply thinking of your event as a video production.  You should think of it as a TV show or a late-night talk show, where you’re the producer and director.

The first step is to choose the type of virtual event you want to conduct; this will dictate the format of your event and feel. You do this by asking yourself, “Want do I want to achieve?” and “Who is this event for?”

Below is a partial list of different types of CGU events:

  1. Conference
  2. Small, intimate lecture
  3. University-wide event for students/CGU community
  4. Sponsorship event
  5. Meet-and-greet
  6. Celebratory/award event
  7. Multiple-speaker conference w/ networking
  8. Entertainment event

The second step is to plan the logistics:

  • You will need to secure one or two people to help with day-of support (and possibly administration prior, depending on the size of event)
    • Recruit volunteers
  • For large events, create a committee that will help you
  • Understand that the standard attendance rate is 75% of who you invite; create your invite list with that in mind
  • Determine the subject of the event and who the speaker(s) will be
  • Establish dates for the event, rehearsals, and run-throughs (and make sure everyone is on the same page)

The third step is to decide on your technologies


Below are some software options to choose from:

  • Consider an emailing service to recruit participants if it is a large database
    • Constant Contact
    • Campaign Monitor
    • HubSpot (free plan)
    • Mailchimp
  • Decide if a survey will be needed for participants for feedback. Below are some options.
    • MS Forms
    • Qualtrics
  • Decide on a platform and software for RSVP that suits your event.
    • MS Teams
    • Eventbrite
    • Others
  • Decide if you’ll need to include any other technologies
    • Canvas
    • CGU landing page
    • YouTube links
    • Music
    • Background displays for all presenters/panelists
    • Breakout rooms with graphics and music

Marketing Campaign Creation


Your marketing campaign is how you recruit your participants. You may not need to follow each of these steps exactly, but this will help you create a solid strategy.

  • Submit your outward-facing events to the CGU Events Calendar.  By adding your event to the CGU Events Calendar, your event will be automatically added to CGU’s Start Your Week weekly email to the CGU community.
  • Recruit participants
    • If you have other avenues to get the word out (e.g., posters, advertisements, and flyers), please use the CGU PowerPoint templates (available by emailing darlene.bradley@cgu.edu)
  • Post to social media
    • Either use your own department’s social media or for a university-wide event, contact Marketing & Communications through Brand.cgu.edu and request assistance.
  • Publish in CGU newsletters.
    • Use your department’s newsletter (if applicable) or, for university-wide events, use MarCom’s newsletter.
  • Send invitation emails to participants.
    • When emailing folks about your event, be sure only to use your department’s database; if you wish to advertise it across the campus, you must check with MarCom first
      • Flyer information should be embedded into the email, not attached as a PDF
  • For more information on how to embed your email information, contact darlene.bradley@cgu.edu.
    • For flyers, posters, and PowerPoint templates that are branded for your department, contact darlene.bradley@cgu.edu..

General Communication Tasks


  • Be sure to communicate all necessary information to participants, host and co-host, emcees, and speakers.
  • Communicate the format of the event to all involved
  • Compose an invitation to all participants
  • Compose a formal invitation to each speaker
    • This will likely involve some back-and-forth
  • Create scripts for speakers and emcee, if necessary
  • Create a Broadcast Schedule for all involved (see Appendix 1)
    • Production notes can be included here



  • Create your budget and spend authorization (if applicable)
    • It is best first to work out the costs in an Excel budget spreadsheet (Events has a template if you need one)
    • Next, create your spend authorization in Workday to obtain approvals from Finance ( if you don’t know how to do this, Events can help)
  • Create a schedule timeline (start at least a couple of months prior, if not sooner). It should include, but not be limited to, the following:
    • Date of Event
  • Committee meeting times
  • Host, cohost, speakers, and emcee meetings and recruitment
  • When to contact speakers
  • When to send invitations to participants
  • When to send communications to all involved
  • When to create and send Broadcast Script Schedule
  • When to get OIT involved with technical issues if you use Zoom’s webinar feature
  • Plan for any PowerPoint presentations
  • Length of event (should be no longer than 45 minutes
  • When to create videos (if applicable
  • Customize the waiting room (available at least 30 minutes prior to event)
  • Select someone ahead of time to manage the recording
  • Plan recording for breakout rooms (since this can only be captured on an individual’s hard drive, designate a 24-hour turnaround so you won’t forget and lose the recordings)

Protocols for event


When setting up your virtual event, there are specific protocols to follow. Below is a list of things that may or may not pertain to your event:

  • Collect all participants’ emails addresses
  • Set up an RSVP system
  • Create event link
    • If you’re using Zoom’s webinar feature, you must contact OIT to help you with the links and communication; ask them to ensure that replies are sent to you, not OIT
  • Consider Zoom bombing (see Appendix 2)
    • If you advertise publicly, you need to send each participant a Zoom password
    • This will require first an RSVP system and then a reply to whoever RSVPs with the Zoom link and password
  • Prepare the event room
    • Designate someone to manage the chat box
    • Use the waiting room for control
  • Create email invitation with instructions for the day of the event:
    • Turn off your mics
    • Turn off your video
    • Don’t interrupt speaker
    • Inform about recording
  • Afterward, do event follow-up (put this in your scheduled calendar)
    • Thank everyone
    • Send recording
    • Ask for feedback


For the day of the event, you need to prepare the following (as applicable): 

  • Platform technology
    • Make sure everyone understands how to use the technology
  • Virtual background
    •  Make sure everyone can use a virtual background
  • PowerPoint presentations
  • Music
  • YouTube videos
  • Session recording

Prepare your crew


Prepare your emcee and speakers beforehand.

  • Create a script for them if needed
  • Schedule a run-through with panelists/speakers. This can be either just prior to the event or a day before. This makes sure everyone is comfortable with the presentation and prevents any surprises.
    •  Invite host, co-host, OIT, and speakers/panelists to a run-through session prior to event
    • If needed, schedule Zoom meeting with OIT to make sure the technology runs correctly and everyone knows how to use it

Additional info


For event templates, please visit: https://cgu0.sharepoint.com/sites/EventPlanning

•    Broadcast Schedule Template
•    Zoom Bombing Prevention Tips
•    Recording Zoom Events Guidelines