Better Online Events, Part 1: Everything You Need to Run Awesome Online Classes, Meetings & Workshops

​As of the writing, the world is running the largest ever remote working experiment. Not only are many people suddenly tasked with conducting work, calls and meetings ​online, countless businesses are also scrambling to move workshops & classes on​ to the web.

If you've had to make such a transition from the offline to the online world and are struggling to make it work - or if that's a move you still have to make - this Better Online Events mini course is for you!

More...

​Here at Thrive Themes, we've been working with distributed teams for many years. Although our products aren't related to online work, virtual meetings, online webinars & workshops and working with video and audio content in general have been our bread and butter for a long time.

​We've created a mini course that teaches everything we know about how to conduct more effective events and we're publishing it for free, for anyone who can benefit from it.

Lesson 1: All the Most Important Stuff

Lesson 1 of the course could be called "basics", but really, the basics are all the most important things in this case.

In this lesson, we'll look at what the 1:1 Mistake is (and how to avoid it) and you'll learn the dos and don'ts of using the 7 key tools in any online event:

  1. Online meeting platform
  2. Internet connection
  3. Audio hardware
  4. Camera hardware
  5. Lighting
  6. Presentation tools
  7. Collaboration tools

Once you know how to deliberately use each of these tools, your online events will be worlds better!

Links & Resources

Here's a quick roundup of links and important resources mentioned in the video:

Meeting Platforms

There are dozens of online meeting and webinar platforms to choose from. Primarily, you need to look for the purpose and use case that a platform was made for and make sure it matches what you need.

​There are mainly 2 categories of meeting tools we're interested in. First, there are tools that are suitable for online meetings and classes. These include:

Second, there are platforms that primarily have a sales & marketing focus. These include:

And there are also a few platforms that attempt to be versatile and equally useful for each purpose:

Audio Hardware

Improve your audio hardware by using:

Collaboration Tools

There are countless tools to choose from that enable seamless, realtime collaboration to accompany your meetings. Here are a few worth considering:

  • Google Docs is excellent for shared note-taking.
  • A Web Whiteboard is a free, shared whiteboarding tool
  • Miro is a collaboration tool that translates planning, brainstorming and design methods from offine to online.
  • Invision Freehand is a collaborative whiteboard made for design teams.

Coming Up...

In the following lessons of this mini course, we'll deconstruct how to run better online classes, online meetings, physical classes (such as yoga or fitness classes) and sales webinars. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below!

Author: Shane Melaugh

Shane Melaugh is a co-founder and the CEO of Thrive Themes. When he isn't plotting new ways to create awesome WordPress themes & plugins, he likes to geek out about camera equipment and medieval swords. He also writes about startups and marketing here.

  • Do you have a recommendation for a lavaliere mic (low or mid-budget priced)?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      My top recommendations are the Purple Panda lav mic and the Giant Squid one. Not sure why they both have funky animal names, but they’re both affordable and great!

  • Howard A says:

    Excellent initiative, Shane. Unless I’ve missed the obvious, then for people who want to continue with this learning opportunity, how do we do that, since there is not any sign-up form here?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      We’ll be publishing the following lessons here on the blog and on YouTube in rapid succession. If you’re subscribed to our newsletter and/or the YouTube channel, you’ll get notified. 🙂

  • Ben Y says:

    Great Stuff – Thanks!

  • Frank Okun says:

    Shane, Thanks for this lesson…I am forwarding it to one of my clients.

  • Christina H says:

    You need to use floating video on your own posts so I can see the video while I scroll the post 🙂

  • Bob Y says:

    As with all of your stuff, this is very helpful and quite timely. Thank You!

  • Jordan says:

    Informative, however, one thing you didn’t cover was workshops or events where the instructor is doing something physical as in a yoga class or a dance class, etc. that would be an interesting topic to cover thank you.

  • Wow! This has been very useful for me. I used to organize meetings and workshops offline, but travels and meetings will be postponed for a while. So, we have to learn fast about it. Just one question Shane: During webinars do you recommend to have the chat open during the whole session or just during Q and A? Many thanks for your help.
    I´m sharing this material with some friends.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      This really depends on the type of webinar or event you are running. For me, if I have a presentation, I want to keep chat and other distractions closed while I’m presenting and then do a separate Q&A. But if it’s a more informal event or if the teaching is meant to happen mainly through the interaction with students, I’ll have chat open the entire time.

  • Dave S says:

    Very helpful! Thanks.

  • jay Hequet says:

    Great and timely initiative, Shane! I am just starting to design an online course platform following the Course Creator. Is there any way to include videos or links for how to incorporate online events on Thrive Apprentice as a course as well? Thank you and take good care

    • Phil says:

      Hey Jay (fellow CCer :),

      if you want to include videos from your online events I think you have to download them and include them as some kind of bonus

      If you want to include links to webinars etc, I think they cannot be directly hosted in Apprentice. You need a 3rd party webinar service provider (and Shane has done an amazing review of them on his Active Growth blog). Then you could put the link into the text or a button that triggers a signup form maybe…

  • Tim J McLeod says:

    The atmosphere sounds at 2:40 were awesome!

  • Finn Ulbæk says:

    Very interesting information, as always

  • Thank you for sharing all your knowledge, Shane.

    The tools you recommend are great!

  • Anne says:

    Thanks so much Shane, excellent info and delivery!

  • Mohamed S says:

    Amazing Shane!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Robert says:

    Thanks a lot Shane. These simple tips can make all the difference. I never dove this deep into the online presentation-world, but aspecially now, it’s more of a necessity , rather than a additional choice.

    Among other things, I work as a public speaker all over the world, and being forced right now to move my presentations online turned out to be quite a husle. In a few weeks I was supposed to do a live presentation in Milan for 9000 people. That’s been shifted to an online presentation now.

    As I rarely work with flip-charts, and stay away from Powerpoint Presentations, I don’t see many challenges there. However, I do work a inviting my audience to do certain couple- and group activities for a minute or two before returning to my presentation. Or having each participant do an exercise individually, before explaining the purpose of the exercise and continuing.

    Could you give me any tips on how I can create a high engagement online, where people do both individual as well as couple or group exercieses? I intend to provide high quality, and a dull presentation is the last thing I’m looking for now.

    Thanks,

    Rob ert

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for your comment, Robert!

      When presenting to a huge crowd online, the audiovisual side of the presentation will be entirely one way. On a call with 10 people, you can have everyone sharing video and audio and you can replicate some of that crowd interaction. But with 1000+ people, there’s no way to do that.
      You can still create engagement and interaction, but the audience’s interaction tool is chat, in this case. I think we can learn from live streamers, in this regard. There are many live streamers who entertain massive audiences and manage to interact through giving prompts and reacting to chat reactions from the crowd.

    • Phil says:

      Hi Robert, first of all, I wish you all the success in the world with this huge endeavor.

      Shane speaks of streamers and maybe you want to have a look at Pat Flynn’s channel. He does a YouTube live stream now (during crisis) for 3 weeks in a row and I think he handles it very professionally.

      Somewhere on his YouTube channel, you’ll also find some info about his streaming set up. Some info nuggets might be found in there, too.

      As a total optional bonus he recommends the Elgato Stream Deck. I have one myself and can only recommend it to have all kinds of interactions and things available at the tip of a button.

      Hope that helps.

  • Frank Zuniga says:

    This first lesson was packed with great tips so i am eagerly awaiting the next lessons. Moving our past offline meetings online is now an essential skill. Covid 19 is going to end up as an accelerator in these skills and we will be emerging onto a new landscape. Once we see how business can be done in these new ways there will be more demand to make these changes permanent. Also i was reading that less traffic means less polution and our environment is getting a chance to heal itself for the first time since the start of the industrial revolution.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      We certainly live in interesting times. And I also believe that some of the changes we’re seeing with remote work will stick, even after the crisis passes. So now’s a good time to level up our skills in these areas!

  • Jack Shea says:

    Very helpful

  • jensher1 says:

    Thanks Shane that was really helpful

  • Denis says:

    Shane any plans to launch a new webinar platform?

  • Dave Sollis says:

    Hi Shane,

    Great advice as ever.

    I moved online about 12 – 18 months ago. I’m just in the process of starting to migrate my training courses from another platform to my own site. I started using Thrive Apprentice this week and I’m enjoying it so far.

    Your Course Craft training has also been very helpful to me.

    Thanks & please keep doing what you’re doing.

    Best Wishes & I hope you stay safe & healthy,

    Coach D

  • Phil says:

    Shane, just another bunch of pearls of wisdom from you. Amazing, as always (and very very welcome in these changing times).

    I wonder if you would consider doing an online course about webinars and how to use them the right way for marketing (products).

    As I know the quality of your other courses and have been a very happy student, I would love to learn this technique from the master as well.

    I wonder if others are interested in something like this, too? (give it an upvote if yes)

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thanks for your comment and suggestion, Phil! I hadn’t planned to do a course on this topic. To learn about webinars, I’d point you to Jason Fladlien. He’s been specializing in webinars for years and he’s a pretty good teacher as well.

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