Live Pitch Events: From In-Person to Online
Pitch events can require a bit more finesse than a regular presentation show. Now the attendees are the ones presenting their best ideas in front of a panel of judges.
For example, the Golden Giraffe Event Awards have for many years been where the very best in event marketing come together to compete for the converted golden statues. But, the highlight of the evening always being the ‘Learn from the Best’ pitch competition.
Here different groups present everything about their event, from the concept, objectives and ROI. Next, each of the judges carefully considers each aspect of each team’s pitch and usually, it’s a fun live atmosphere with a high competitive spirit before the winner is declared.
However, due to corona measures, there was no way the 2021 event could take place in person.
“Learning from the best is the central concept of the event,” says Robin van Leeuwen of EventBranche.nl, “…this is why we opened participation to the public. Normally we blast through 50 event cases a day, but now not only did we have a record 71 registrations – but corona has made physical events impossible”.
Luckily the show came to a solution together with Krowden (formerly NetworkTables).
How to Prepare For A Pitch Event
At any pitch event, if everyone has free access to open learning, and every case gets a stage – then the pitch event is a resounding success. In searching for a rapid online event solution, Krowden turned out to already have the experience of taking events virtually.
When in-person isn’t possible, pitches can be run virtually with no problem. The trick is to ensure that while the group is presenting to the judges they are simultaneously being streamed to the live audience at home, so everyone is included. An advantage of virtual is that the pitches can be pre-recorded for convenience and played at any time for both the judges and the audience, making scheduling just that little bit easier.
However, a staple of the Golden Giraffe Award event is the 7 minutes of live questions after a pitch. It keeps the teams on their toes and needs to be done live, projected from their own screen so they can answer on the spot. Just as it would at the physical event, but this time online.
After hearing the pitches the judges then run into the problem of needing a simple private virtual space to discuss and decide the winner. Fortunately, software solutions allow any host to seamlessly break away into private roundtable calls on a schedule and then come back without clicking a button.
An Example Hybrid Pitch Event Schedule
> 14:00 – 14:10 Opening presentation physical / virtually (Streaming).
> 14:10 – 16:00 24 x 10-minute pitches between the nominees and the judges, broadcast to the audience.
> 16:00 – 16:20 Judges privately deliberate on the winner.
> 116:20 – 16:30 Announce the winner and acceptance speech.
1-on-1 Presentations to Private Roundtables
A hybrid pitch event requires different types of virtual spaces to be prepared. Just streaming isn’t going to work. First, you need to start with a 1-on-1 environment between the presentation group and the judges. But that’s not all, it’s also important that everything is streamed to the online audience. Then after all the presentations have been heard, the jury needs to break away into rooms to decide and discuss the winner in their pre-scheduled roundtable rooms.
“It’s important that everything happens automatically, no one wants to set up hundreds of separate rooms, with individual schedules and timeslots all with different links, everything should be seamless with no input,”
says Matthijs Otto, Founder at Krowden.
Learnings from Traditional and Hybrid Pitch Events
It’s always important to keep the spirit of the event the same, wherever it is hosted online or offline. However, an online event requires several things to be set up ahead of schedule. For example, of course, you need to start with the software to run the virtual show – as well as stream it to the audience. You’ll also want to have the number of juries per session defined, and have live support on standby to help with any technical issues. For all of this, we suggest using one platform for everything to keep things simple.
Finally, for an online event, you need to find the right host. Even more so than a physical event, a good host needs to keep the audience engaged, especially if they are online. Be sure to keep the comparative energy high to ensure success.