Deciding on your event format

Unsure whether to run an online or in-person Victorian Law Week event? This section sets out some things you may want to think about when making your decision.

When deciding on your event format, it’s always essential to consider your target audience’s needs and capabilities, as well as the latest Victorian Government advice about COVID-19.

What format works for your audience?

Your target audience is the most important factor to consider when choosing an event format. What type of event is the most suitable for them? It might be helpful to consider:

  • How does your target audience like to receive information?
  • What is an appropriate setting or location for them?
  • Are they comfortable attending online events?
  • What type of event works with their daily lives (location, time, duration)?

Here is some information about different specific event formats to help you make your decision.

Benefits of a live online event

  • It’s cost-effective – No venue hire, catering, printing or equipment costs – an online event can be much more cost-effective than an in-person event.
  • You can reach more people – You’re not limited by the size of a physical venue, so most online events can accommodate more attendees than in-person events. Online events also allow you to engage with attendees in locations across Victoria
  • Protect the privacy of your audience – If your event deals with a sensitive topic, privacy may be very important to your target audience. Online events allow you to control privacy settings, so that attendees are not publicly visible. Many online platforms allow you to set up your event so that questions can be asked anonymously, attendees’ names are hidden from the group, and their cameras and microphones are disabled.
  • Easily record your event for lasting impact – Most platforms allow you to easily record your online event, and you can share the recording to extend its reach. Consider sending the recording to all registrants after the event, so that it can be easily shared by attendees and you capture those who were unable to attend on the day.
  • It’s easy to collaborate – Online events allow you to use multiple speakers in different locations. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other organisations, incorporating speakers with different expertise or perspectives.
  • It buys you time! – You can start marketing your online event and accepting registrations before you have even decided on your streaming platform or sorted out your event logistics. Simply set up a booking page using a free booking website (such as Eventbrite or Humanitix) and let registrants know that you’ll send them the event link the day before the event.
  • Proceed with certainty – The unpredictable nature of the pandemic means that it is impossible to know what life will look like in May – and what rules about public gatherings may be in place. Deciding on an online event from the outset means that you don’t need to worry about making last-minute changes to your event format, if the public health landscape changes.
  • It’s easy to stay COVID-safe – If you run an in-person event, you will need to follow the latest Victorian Government advice about COVID-19. You may need to submit documents to the Victorian Government and obtain approvals in order to run your event. It’s easier to stay COVID-safe if you run an online event!
  • Make use of accessibility features – Some online platforms have accessibility features such as captioning and audio description. Are you making a recording of your event available? This will enable people to view the event at their own pace and will allow you to provide further accessibility measures, such as transcripts. Always let people know in advance about the accessibility measures you are providing. Keep in mind that online events are not suitable for everyone and can create a barrier to access for some people.
  • Get detailed data about your event – Analysing viewing and engagement data will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your event. Want to know how many people stayed for the whole event? How many questions were asked? This data is easy to access for online events and means you won’t have to rely on a post-event survey that few attendees will respond to.

Disadvantages of a live online event

  • Technological challenges – Online technology has made life easier in recent times, but it’s not without its challenges. It is a good idea to have a dedicated person who is not participating in the event to manage the streaming technology and brief your speakers.
  • Less interaction – There is no getting around the fact that online events are less interactive than in-person events. Consider using live chat, live Q&A and polls to engage with your audience. If you want to run a workshop-style event, consider capping the number of attendees and setting up the event so that attendees can turn their cameras and microphones on.
  • Distractions – One advantage of a live event is that, once people are at the venue, they are focussed on the event. When people attend an online event from home, they often have other things competing for their attention. If appropriate, consider using interactive elements, such as polls or live questions, to keep your audience engaged.
  • Accessibility – Online events are not accessible for everyone. Is your target audience computer literate? Do they have access to the internet? Are there specific login requirements that might be difficult for some people to navigate? If you are relying on attendees reading supporting materials, are they accessible?

In-person events

In-person events will be more likely to attract your target audience if held at locations that the target audience frequents (such as a libraries, neighbourhood centres, community groups) – go to where your audience is, rather than expecting them to come to you.

If you would like to run an in-person event, it might be helpful to consider:

  • Will your event be held at a location that is convenient for your target audience?
  • Will your target audience will feel comfortable gathering in a group?
  • Is the venue accessible? Are there any additional measures you can put in place to increase accessibility?
  • Are there public transport links and parking?

Make sure you have a back-up plan in place, in case the rules about public gatherings change and your event cannot proceed in-person.

All in-person Victorian Law Week events are considered to be public events for the purposes of the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s Directions. If want to run an in-person event, you must comply with the requirements set out in the Victorian Government’s information for organisers of public events and the COVIDSafe Public Events Framework 2.0 (as updated from time to time). These documents provide a detailed explanation about the COVIDSafe requirements for public events.

In some instances, event organisers may need to submit documents to the Victorian Government and obtain approvals to run their events. A simple way to work out which COVIDSafe Event documents and/or approvals are required for your event is to use the public event self-assessment tool.

Pre-recorded online content

We do not recommend submitting pre-recorded online content for Victorian Law Week, although we recognise that this may be appropriate in some instances.

In general, live online events attract larger audiences because they create a sense of urgency. It’s easy for people to put off watching on-demand content if it’s accessible at any time.

You might want to consider a hybrid approach: running a live event and uploading the recording to the Victorian Law Week website afterwards to extend the reach of your event.

Got any questions?

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for guidance on planning your event.