According to a study conducted by Upwork, it is predicted that 36.2 million workers or 22% of Americans will be working remotely by the year 2025. That’s why now, more than ever, business leaders are faced with the challenges of engaging their teams with meaningful experiences, no matter where they are.
Hailing from all over the globe, our Visit.org seasoned host team brings impactful messages from nonprofits to forward-thinking business leaders and their teams. Working in collaboration with our network of nonprofits, our hosts manage our hybrid and virtual experiences, engage audiences, and help train nonprofits to amplify their impact.
Meet Visit.org’s Event Hosts
Vince has been hosting events for 10 years after starting out on the mic by welcoming students at his college’s orientation. Since then, he has hosted TV, radio, sporting events, and festivals all over the world.
Angela started hosting live events over fifteen years ago, primarily consisting of talent shows and fundraisers. In the last 10 years, she expanded her repertoire to include cooking shows, trivia games, and live game shows, such as Family Feud.
Luis knows how to lead conversations with corporate clients from his experience navigating relationships with media stakeholders and corporate clients at his previous role. His favorite part about being a host at Visit.org is helping companies make a real impact.
Geri joins us from the start-up space where she worked with coaches and thought leaders by hosting online community events like webinars, workshops, masterclasses and a variety of experiences.
Austin has a degree in musical theater and has lived most of his life onstage in front of audiences as a professional singer and actor around the world. He has also spent time as a stage magician, MC at sporting events and founded his own event company where he acted as an MC and DJ for weddings, proms, and corporate events. Austin is also the creator and host of a podcast called “Right-Brained Realism”.
Jem joins the Visit.org Events team with years of experience preparing, facilitating, and hosting both in-person and virtual events.
Our team at Visit.org has facilitated hundreds of virtual events since the beginning of the pandemic, allowing us to explore some of the challenges facilitators face everywhere. Our Visit.org Hosts share their take on some of the most significant challenges to hosting events:
What are some of the most common mistakes or challenges you see with virtual events, and how can we overcome these?
Check Your Tech!
Luis reminds everyone to check ahead of time that you have a strong internet connection. You can use websites such as fast.com or speedtest.net. Upstream connection speeds of 1.5-3.0 Mbps are best for optimal performance in group meetings with HD video quality. Also, don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the video hosting platform before the event. Make sure you have the latest version of the application installed on your computer.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Austin shared, “I think sometimes the biggest mistake we can make is to take ourselves too seriously… If we’re stressed, anxious, or unsettled, the audience will be too. When we relax, they can too.” Geri agrees that a challenge is that we all think we need to ‘present’ in a certain way. She told us, “Embracing your own personality, your voice, and your style of presenting are so important in creating a genuine experience.”
We can’t underestimate the power of a smile. Jem suggests to “smile first to calm the body physically and then remember that your job is not to make everything perfect but rather to accommodate those in the room and highlight the impact of the activity.”
Vince reminds us that “everyone is human, things happen, and the audience will think it’s part of the show until you inform them otherwise. You’ll be fine if you keep the vision and end goal in mind.”
I’m sure we can all remember a time where our palms got sweaty, or our minds went blank as the audience waited for us to chime in, address a problem or fill an awkward silence. Angela reminds us that breathing is so important. Humor helps too. Austin said, “Smile, breathe, and riff some jokes out for the audience while taking care of the issue. Audiences are generally very forgiving of technical mistakes when they are handled graciously and humorously.”
If you could give one piece of advice to people looking to improve their hosting abilities, what would it be and why?
Keep Calm and Carry On
Luis reminds us that “when something goes wrong, you know more than the audience does.” Prepare for things to go off course and remember to breathe. Geri compared dealing with challenges as a facilitator to dealing with turbulence as a flight attendant. “Whenever I experience turbulence on a flight, I always look to the flight attendant to see if they’re freaking out. I think of [hosting events] in that same way. I keep a cool face, take a deep breath and think about what solutions I can create to navigate through the challenges. And if I need additional support, I’m not afraid to ask for help.”
Learn From Others
Austin suggests watching talk shows and listening to podcasts to figure out your own personal style. Listen for what you like and what you don’t like and make it your own. Never stop learning. Angela recommends working on your improvisation skills. “Knowing how to incorporate improv well can help a host seamlessly navigate the small and big hiccups that happen no matter how prepared or rehearsed you are.”
“Find your thing,” said Vince, reiterating the importance of authenticity. “Figure out what your strength is and double down on it. Being unique and having your own style is what will separate you from other hosts.” Rest assured, the Visit.org team and anyone who has ever attended an event with Vince knows that ‘Vince Bracy Energy”’ is his thing. Geri said, “Don’t be afraid to be you, share your own personality, bring your own flair to the experience. By maintaining a strong sense of self, you are inviting the audience to let their guard down and engage with you throughout the experience.”
For help facilitating your company’s giving back itinerary, click here.
For non-profit’s looking to connect with socially-minded companies, click here.