Virtual Events at Wharton

The Virtual Events Timeline outlines steps and best practices for planning a virtual event at Wharton.

Before You Get Started
Staff: please consult with both Wharton Events and Wharton Computing on your event strategy.
Students: please consult with your Student Life Office on your event strategy.

Virtual Events Planning Timeline

2-3 Months Out

  • Determine the goal of your virtual event — use the Wharton Events-Getting Started page to assist with your brainstorming. Review the Event Toolkit steps for additional tips and documents to guide your decision making process.
  • Review general staffing needs and assign areas of responsibility to your team (Tech Lead, Event Management Lead, Speaker Liaison/Content Lead)
  • Submit Speaker Request Form (first step — submit for approval before inviting any speakers)
  • Invite and confirm interest with speakers/hosts
  • Set the date
    • Check in with appropriate stakeholders that there are no major conflicts
      • Speakers/Hosts/Moderators all available in the appropriate time zone.
      • Students should review event dates with their student life office.
      • Faculty and staff should touch base with Wharton Events for other potential event conflicts, Wharton Computing for ability to support. Make sure the event is not conflicting with a national or religious holiday that may impact your audience
    • Review Wharton and Penn calendars for important dates that may conflict
      • Review MyWharton and WhartonHQ for other conflicting events, check that the date works with academic deadlines, reading days, Wharton Dean’s schedule if attending
    • Review technology options to determine the best platform for your virtual event
    • Submit Operations/Tech Requests as appropriate for your group.
      *Student groups should work directly with student life program offices for all virtual event needs.

1-2 Months Out

  • Finalize Event Format
    • Live, pre-recorded, semi-live; 1:1 Conversation, Panel Conversation, Interactive with audience
  • Select Video Conferencing platform and confirm with Wharton Computing any support needed *
    • *Student groups should work with student life office to determine their tech needs and support level
  • Determine Event Management Platform if needed. Choose the Event Website platform, Invitation Method, RSVP System that are available to your group.
    • Examples: Events HQ, Direct registration on video conferencing platform, third-party registration system (such as Eventbrite, Qualtrics, Google Forms)
  • Gather assets
        • Confirm speaker full name, title and organization
        • Request short bio and high-resolution headshot
        • Confirm Media Release
        • View the Wharton Identity Kit for Virtual Event Templates such as backing screens and holding slides, as well as University branding and logos.

3 Weeks Out

  • Create event in Video Conference Platform
    • See Wharton Computing Virtual Meetings and Events guides for general tech information on system setup that may be adapted for any available platforms
  • Determine Q&A format
  • Design and review any event marketing materials: event website, registration, confirmation emails
    • Include information on how to access the event, when login information will be sent, proper time zone
      • Invitation (1 week prior to event)
      • Confirmation (automatically receive with registration is preference, includes event access details)
      • Reminder (1 day prior to event, reminder of access details)
      • Event is live in 30 (sent 30 minutes prior to start time, reminder with access)
    • Add to MyWharton Calendar
    • Add to Life@Wharton screens for additional advertisement to the Wharton community (Should select display date 2 weeks before event date)

2 Weeks Out

  • Connect speakers and moderators via phone/email to review content of conversation; share via email basic technology requirements and plan for your event
  • Finalize any graphics and branding – holding slide, lower thirds
  • Final invitation review

7 days Out

  • Event Tech Run-through with your team members assigned to oversee IT and Event Management (complete the following before sending any invitations)
    • Review different roles of each team member, any technology roles in your video platform that require specific instructions
    • Test graphics and branding – holding slide, lower thirds within the platform
    • Review Wharton Computing articles on Virtual Meetings and Events for additional advice on technology and event roles while hosting a virtual event
  • Send invitation to audience
  • Send separate email invitations to any speaker, including relevant presenter-specific event links from the video conferencing system.

2-3 Days Out

  • Tech run through with event staff, speakers, all on-video participants
    • Review technical run of show
    • Discuss contingencies if technical failures (dial-in numbers, swapping speaker order, alternate screen-share options)
    • Speakers review content of conversation, q&a

1 day Out

  • Event Reminder Email

Day of Event

  • Ensure all your devices are fully charged and plugged in (laptop/desktop, backup device for audio, such as a mobile phone)
  • Final connection test, run-of-show review with tech and support teams (1 HOUR OUT)
  • Greenroom review with speakers (15-30 MINUTES OUT).
    • Tech lead final run of show, reminder of contingencies
  • Schedule Event is Live email/final reminder email for 30 minutes prior

Post Event Follow Up

  • Update Event Page with video information if the event was recorded for further distribution.
  • Work with Production to prepare video recording.
  • Post video on appropriate website, email to registered attendees.