7 Things to Prepare For Your Virtual Conference Kick-Off Meeting

7 Things to Prepare For Your Virtual Conference Kick-Off Meeting

One of the first steps in hosting a Virtual Conference with CommPartners is to meet with a Project Manager for a kick-off call. You likely went over some details during the sales call, but now will you dive more in-depth with your producer to take your conference to the next level. To ensure this process is as smooth as possible and production gets started without a hitch, here are a few things you can prepare for this meeting.

What are the dates of your conference?

You have probably established this information by the time you have spoken with the sales team and signed a contract, but if you have reached this point and have not set dates, expect that it will slow things down.

What do you want your conference website to look like?

Elevate clients can create a completely customized conference website. Having an idea of what you’d like your site to look like will speed the creation process up. Here are some things to consider:

  • Will you use a sub-domain name of your website or will you use CommPartners’ domain name?
  • Will you create an entirely new design theme or base it off your main site?
  • What Elevate features and widgets will you include?
  • What will your page navigation look like?

You should also be prepared to share files of your color palettes, logos, and any other images associated with your organization that you’ll want to include on your site.  CommPartners is happy to help with any questions regarding your conference site environment, but for a truly custom look, arrive at the meeting with a prepared vision or idea.

How do you plan to handle registration?

Decide if your organization is going to process registration internally or if registration is going through the Elevate website. Both are possible, but your producer will need to know at the onset if registration is going through Elevate. The registration process will need to be built-in to the site and time may need to be added to the production timeline.

What does your agenda look like?

At this point, you should have a timeline prepared for your conference. Details about speakers and the sessions are not necessary, but your Project Manager needs to know when each session is happening, including breaks. They need to know you have left enough time for your learners to go from session to session plus take any necessary breaks.

At an in-person conference, learners have a certain amount of time to arrive at their next session. They have time to mingle in the hall or read the literature posted around the conference. There are also plenty of breaks built into the schedule for meals, to get water, go to the bathroom, and check email. Include breaks in your virtual conference agenda, as your virtual learners are doing the same things. They need to take personal breaks, look for the next session on the conference website, or address any technical difficulties they may have. They may also experience fatigue from online learning. Most are not accustomed to learning in this way and need breaks from the screen. Be sure that you include enough breaks in your schedule to accommodate the needs of your learners.

What is your session format?

Once you have you have a clear picture of what your agenda will look like, it is helpful to know what format your sessions will take. You have many options to choose from, will your speakers use just webcams? Slides and audio? A combination? Will some sessions be pre-produced? This can be a more in-depth discussion with your Project Manager at the meeting, but be prepared to tell them your expected attendance for the conference. It will help them choose the right format for your sessions.

Will you include sponsors?

Virtual Conferences offer several monetization options, and sponsorship is one of them. Be ready to let your Project Manager know what’s been sold to sponsors and at what level. Will there be sponsor videos or will your sponsors be introducing sessions? Are you including a Virtual Exhibit Hall?

A Virtual Exhibit Hall is home on your conference site for all the resources a sponsor can distribute to attendees. In each “exhibit booth,” the sponsor can upload PDFs, videos, company descriptions and links, and other assets. The exhibit hall will be open 24/7 – giving sponsors the opportunity for constant exposure.

Be creative when thinking of ways to include sponsors and be sure to prepare a list of participating sponsors for your Project Manager.

Will you include post-conference/session actions?

Finally, decide upfront if attendees are receiving items like credit, certificates, or evaluations after they have completed something at your conference. You then need to determine if they will receive them after each session or after the whole conference has concluded. If there is anything else attendees should receive after a session or the conference, now is the time to alert your Project Manager. These are actions that must be built-in into the site during the early stages.

By considering all of these questions before your first meeting with your Virtual Conference Project Manager, you not only save them time, you also save you and your team time. It will eliminate the amount of back-and-forth that usually occurs when trying to coordinate an event like this and advances the production timeline.

If you have any questions about your first kick-off meeting or would like to speak a sales representative, click here:

Contact Meghan Gowan, VP of Client Development at mgowen@commpartners.com.
SOPHE: COVID-19 Transition Case Study

SOPHE: COVID-19 Transition Case Study

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the event industry to go into a tail-spin. Organizations all over the world were forced to cancel and postpone their events. The Society of Public Health Education, SOPHE, did not want to miss out on the many positive opportunities a conference can bring to an association and decided to take advantage of the Virtual Conference option.

To successfully navigate the one week transition from on-site to virtual, SOPHE staff relied on a harmonic partnership between CommPartners staff and themselves. Accommodations were made to fit the agenda into the virtual world with such a short turn-around period. The three-day conference was expanded to cover four weeks, and the team decided to focus their attention on key events.

SOPHE staff’s preparedness at the onset and their willingness to adapt and learn from CommPartners staff made this a successful event for the organization.

Read the full story.

Peak User Group Conference 2020:Hit eLearning Out of the Park!

Peak User Group Conference 2020:
Hit eLearning Out of the Park!

CommPartners’ Peak User Group Conference started in 2018. After meeting clients face-to-face, and receiving positive feedback from participants, we knew this was something we wanted to repeat. So, we created a biennial, in-person learning and networking event that would bring together all the associates we work with within the eLearning space.

Now we have arrived at Peak 2020. Peak 2020 is a 2-day conference bringing together members from CommPartners’ growing community of clients, partners, and industry experts to network, collaborate, and learn. Enjoy a full schedule of Elevate LMS Training, Virtual Event Training, thought-leader presentations, and social opportunities with the thrilling backdrop of Nationals Park, home of the reigning World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals!

We designed this conference to specifically cater to prospective clients as well as current Elevate users using two educational tracks. Track A is more than just getting to know Elevate, it’s learning how to use the LMS to leverage your educational strategy. Track B focuses on getting the most out of Elevate, concentrating on creative and innovative uses for the LMS beyond what administrators might already be doing. These tracks are specialized to meet the needs of our learners, ensuring they have the tools to implement successful online educational programs.

If you have attended in the past, don’t expect the same content you saw at Peak 2018, says Kate Ratcliffe, Marketing Director, “as general technology is always changing, so is Elevate. We are going to highlight new features; we are going to highlight underused features”. Attendees will also have the opportunity to brainstorm with CommPartners’ team members to be sure they are best leveraging what they have learned throughout the conference within their organizations.

Whether you are already an Elevate user or you think it might be something you could use to enhance your education efforts, Peak 2020 has something to offer you:

What will you get out of Peak 2020?

  • Learn about Elevate LMS strategies and best practices
  • Make sure you are getting the most out of your current Elevate system or learn how your organization could benefit from an LMS
  • Hear about the latest online education trends from community experts
  • Pick up tips and tricks to keep your education program relevant and engaging
  • Earn CAE credits for your participation
  • Networking opportunities Engage fellow CommPartners’ clients to network and share ideas
  • Participate in fun activities such as dugout tours, batting practice, and have a picture taken with the world series trophy
  • Enjoy an evening at the ballpark with CommPartners’ staff and colleagues

Peak 2020 will be July 30-31, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Register now until March 26, 2020, for a “Pre-Season” discount. Please visit the Peak 2020 website for all the details. We are looking forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C., this summer!

Learn More!

Three Reasons to bring your Community into your Online Education Programs

Three Reasons to bring your Community into your Online Education Programs

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present at the 2019 Higher Logic Super Forum, on the topic of community-based learning.  At the start of the session, I discussed the difference between training and learning.  I suggested that training tends to be one dimensional or instructional, in support of a specific process or job with a singular path towards the end goal.  Learning can be described as a multi-dimensional approach, that links educational experience and work performance.  It focuses on personal qualities and situational decision making.  Too often online education programs that fit well into the learning space are structured as training.  The problem is, there is little space created for engagement, conversation and sharing of ideas and this leads to minimal learner to learner or learner to instructor engagement.

A way to address this situation is to create space for sharing of ideas, reflection and connection among participants. This was one of the initial goals when we formed a close partnership with Higher Logic to bring learning and community together as a single offering.  While we have had some success achieving this on a macro level with an integrated user experience (UX), a single menu structure and seamless integration, we have not had great progress on a content level.

In my talk yesterday, I made the case that if you are offering online learning that is enhanced from a collaboration among participants, an integration of your community and LMS on a program level makes a lot of sense.  Here are three benefits of integrating discussions within your online course, virtual conference or webinar offerings:

  • Your community members have already taken time to set up their profile and participate in the community. They can now leverage that presence to engage fellow learners in a more focused way. Adding online education to their participation makes them more active and creates synergy between the two platforms, therefore increasing participation.
  • Satisfaction with a course will be enhanced when there is the opportunity to share ones ideas or thoughts with other learners.
  • Adding discussions provides a continuum of what is learned. It provides participants the opportunity to continue with the topic once the course is completed.

Recently, CommPartners enhanced its integration between Higher Logic’s Community and CommPartners’ Elevate LMS.  Is it time for you to make this a priority in 2020?


If you have questions on how to move forward with community based learning, contact Meghan Gowen, VP of Client Development at mgowen@commpartners.com
CP Receives Best Continuing Education System Award

CP Receives Best Continuing Education System Award

CommPartners is excited to announce we have received the Best Continuing Education System Award from Talented Learning, an independent research and consulting firm devoted to helping organizations of all sizes choose and use LMS solutions and related technologies for their unique business needs. The selection of CommPartners as an award recipient included an extensive consultation and a detailed review of the platform. . CommPartners is honored to have been selected from over 750 LMS providers.

“I am grateful to be a part of this community and to have the opportunity to continue to evolve our Elevate LMS to support our clients development and growth. We are excited about 2019 as we continue to introduce new features that allow our clients to become their community’s primary source for knowledge and continuing education Says Rich Finstein, CEO of CommPartners

CEO & Lead Analyst of Talented Learning, John Leh, shared, “With more than 25 years of experience in serving associations and non-profit organizations, CommPartners has grown and evolved along with continuing education needs and technologies. The CommPartners solution is unique because it offers more than just a strong, community-oriented, mobile-responsive, modern LMS.

The platform is also supported by a variety of companion services, including curriculum and instructional design, as well as production and management of webinars, webcasts, live-streamed events and virtual conferences. With personalized, hands-on guidance from in-house experts, CommPartners ensures that clients achieve high-quality results from their investment in continuing education programs.”

If you are interested in learning more about Elevate LMS or CommPartners’ online learning and event solutions please contact us at info@commpartners.com.