Marketing

How to Create a Run of Show Template for a Knock-Out Virtual Event

Published on June 15, 2022 • About 6 min. read

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How to create a run of show template for a knock-out virtual event

Any virtual or live event needs a director to run the show.

Much like a director on a movie set, there are various moving parts you need to account for.

Your participants and ‘crew’ need detailed organizational documents just like actors need scripts to cue places, lines, and scenes, and keep everyone on the same page.

But keeping all these cues in one place and knowing how to organize them can be daunting. You want to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing (and when) so your event runs smoothly, but how?

One solution is to create a run of show – but what is it and why does it help?

We’ve spoken to our internal communication team to tell us:

  • What a run of show is
  • Why you need a run of show
  • How to create a run of show template

Let’s dive in.

What is a run of show?

A run of show is a living document that outlines minute-by-minute line items within an event. It’s like your event’s storyboard – covering everything from production cues to speakers and event topics – so everyone knows what they need to do and when.

For virtual events (see: great virtual event ideas) a run of show is less about production cues like lighting and stage location, but having a crystal clear image of the event’s progression. This includes a to-the-minute breakdown of speakers and talking points and any Q&As or audience breaks.

Run of show dashboard

How is a run of show different from an agenda?

A run of show is a comprehensive minute-to-minute breakdown of all the components that make up your event – from speakers to intros and supporting materials.

An event agenda is a broader outline of event topics and speakers and doesn’t dive into the more granular details required to run the show – like the amount of time allotted per speaker per topic, or the amount of time allocated to attendee Q&As.

Why do you need a run of show for a virtual event?

A run of show is crucial to running a streamlined virtual event that flows naturally and makes sense to attendees – by organizing key event details and keeping everyone on the same page.

Other run of show benefits include:

  • Putting presenters and organizers at ease
  • Spotting potential event problems or areas of friction
  • Making event changes without disrupting the flow of the event
  • Envisioning the event from your audience’s perspective to keep their needs top of mind

Regardless of if you host a webinar or panel discussion, or stream a webcast, you’ll need a living document that covers all your bases.

If you’re livestreaming your event, make planning easier by finding a reliable video engagement platform that quickly connects participants no matter the event type. If you’re using Livestorm, you can easily manage your virtual event from start to finish and automate entire events with CTAs and start and stop times.

virtual event software

Let’s explore how to build a run of show template for a best-in-class event.

How to build a run of show template

Run of show templates can be made for virtual, hybrid, or in-person events, and should contain specific information relevant to your event’s ‘location’.

For example, if it’s a virtual event, make sure you include a small section above the run of show itself with easily accessible links to the event’s video engagement platform, the presenters’ backstage pass link, pre-roll links, and links to any media assets.

Then, in the same section (regardless of event type or location), include links to the event script, event brief, slide deck, event time and name, and call time(s).

Virtual run of show intro example

After you’ve outlined the essential details and made event links easily accessible to everyone involved, you can turn your attention to the following event elements:

  1. Panelist information and contact details
  2. Timestamps of each discussion topic
  3. Talking points
  4. Videos or supporting materials and documentation

Use the following example for ideas on how to start crafting your template. Then, build out your run of show template with the key tips below.

Virtual run of show template example

1. Find your story to connect themes and topics naturally

To start building your template, you’ll need to consider the progression of the story you’re telling.

Ask yourself why you’re hosting the event, and what part it plays in your overall brand story. Then consider how you can connect the dots between speakers or topics while always referring back to how they add value to your audience.

You can start by roughly brainstorming and outlining your virtual event’s speakers and discussion topics. Then, think about the flow of the topics themselves: does the topic progression and order make sense? If not, adjust accordingly.

At this point, you can segment and slot in each keynote speaker, panel discussion topic, or workshop based on order and relevance. Think about: how long each topic will take, and when it makes sense to schedule breaks or Q&As.

Then consider how you want to open and close the event and how much time you want to set aside for introductions. Ask yourself: what topics get attendees warmed up? What topics leave a lasting impression? Weave these into your story to help boost video engagement metrics and delight attendees.

2. Provide all the key information

Your run of show is only as valuable as the information that goes into it.

You’ll want to include all relevant details and links in the template to make sure everyone has access to crucial information and supporting materials.

Add particulars like speakers’ contact information and presentation topics, as well as any links to key documents, slideshows, streaming tools, event decks, briefs, scripts, or videos appearing in the event for a smooth, seamless flow.

3. Color-code each segment

Run of show templates involve a lot of moving parts – like multiple speakers, various media, and event production or tech requirements.

That’s why color-coding each segment of your event can help you make sure it’s super clear for everyone when you’re ready to go live.

Assign different colors for things like: intros and outros, speakers, pre-recorded videos, panelists or other live content, and product walkthroughs or Q&A sections.

For larger or hybrid events, provide a key to ensure everyone knows what each color means, for example, which parts of your event are live or virtual.

This additional layer of organizational finesse can help you master more complex events and use your virtual events as collateral for your video engagement marketing efforts.

If you’re using a video engagement platform like Livestorm, you can automatically record events so registrants can easily access and watch your events at any time.

Hosting an on-demand remote event with Livestorm

4. Share with the main players early

Once the speakers or panelists are confirmed, share the run of show with everyone involved.

It gives speakers the opportunity to make any relevant changes to the proposed topic duration or order, based on their expertise and insight.

It also keeps everyone involved aware of any changes and can shape how other speakers approach or alter their topics or time segments.

By sharing your run of show weeks before the event, you’re fostering a collaborative, transparent, and honest environment that helps keep key players at ease and in the know.

5. Be flexible throughout planning and even during the virtual event

Your run of show template is the paper version of your event – but, it should remain fluid or ‘alive’ to accommodate any event updates or changes.

When you start creating your template, you’ll notice it’s a rough sketch of speakers and talking points that gets granular as event details crystalize.

However, event details can change and should change (see point above) and it’s important to keep this in mind when building out your template. Remember: it’s not set in stone. It’s a paper document that exists to reduce stress, not add to it.

On the day of the event, use your run of show as a trusty guide – but don’t panic when your virtual event doesn’t strictly adhere to it. Work around and adapt to unexpected changes by adding or subtracting minutes from one or multiple segments, which are all already laid out in the template.

Use your run of show to steal the spotlight

A run of show is a vital document that can transform your virtual event into a blockbuster hit that delights and brings value to your audience.

Use our tips to craft your run of show template for a streamlined, comprehensive, and meaningful virtual event.

Then, use a video engagement platform like Livestorm to make it easy for your audience to participate without downloading anything, and engage them with interactive features like polls, emoji reactions, and live chat.

Frequently asked questions about run of show templates

What should be in a run of show document?

A run of show document is a comprehensive minute-to-minute breakdown of all the components that make up your event – from speakers to intros and supporting materials. Things to include in a run of show document include:

  • Panelist information and contact details
  • Timestamps of each discussion topic
  • Talking points
  • Links to videos or supporting materials and documentation

How do you write a virtual event description?

To write a virtual event description, you’ll need to briefly state and summarize what your event is about, its keynote speakers or panelists (or any additional content), and what value it brings potential attendees by highlighting how your event will help potential participants achieve their goals.

What should you not include in a run of show template?

A run of show template shouldn’t contain anything that distracts organizers and participants from understanding the exact flow of the event and their place in it. Things not to include in a run of show template include:

  • Catering details
  • Full-length presentations or speeches
  • Speakers’ personal notes
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