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Hey Session Organizers! Dig Into These Speaker Resources for Hosting an Unforgettable Virtual Session at Denver Startup Week 2020

Denver Startup Week, founded in 2012, is a celebration of everything entrepreneurial in Denver - and beyond. The weeklong, free event unites the entrepreneurial community in celebration of the great companies, innovation and ideas, and the people and inspiration behind them.

Our core programming is amazing because of YOU - the entrepreneurial community. Your willingness to share your expertise with the global network of Denver Startup Week seems to grow with each year, and this year is no different. You have absolutely exceeded our expectations with the top-notch quality of sessions, presentations, panels, workshops, happy hours, social events, job fairs, and more you’ve brought to life.

Innovation and community are more important now than ever. Denver Startup Week is moving online to empower entrepreneurs to charge ahead as we build communities and successful businesses in 2020 and beyond. Given the new 100% virtual format, we want to ensure you are set up for success as you prepare for your session. In this outline, we’ve included tips & tricks, ideas, and resources to help you throw an unforgettable virtual DSW session.

Find the recording of the Session Organziner Orientation here and information on pre-recording here


  • Denver Startup Week is building an inclusive, connected, empowered, and diverse entrepreneurship ecosystem. We, the business community of Denver and beyond, must work together as we diversify & adapt our entrepreneurial spirit to build an even better, more resilient economy.
  • At Denver Startup Week we strive to make all of our sessions a space where attendees can connect, learn, and grow — regardless of gender identity, gender expression, race, ability, sexual orientation, and the combination of those identities.
  • Moreover, we strive to hold events that not just include, but affirm the identities of everyone present. Hosting an inclusive session takes intentional work and action by YOU, the organizers.
  • When you submitted your session, you agreed to make our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion your commitment to DEI. Please see our Code of Conduct here.
  • Please ensure your session speakers and content reflect a wide variety of perspectives. If you need assistance curating your session to align with these core DSW values, please reach out to DEI Chair, Dianne Myles (dianne@dopemomlife.com), or your Track Chair.
  • We will provide closed captioning for sessions at Denver Startup Week 2020.


  • For your session, you will be working on a team to ensure the event runs smoothly. This team will include your Track Chair, or another member of the DSW Organizing Committee, as well as your volunteer (to be assigned in by DSW before your test-run).
  • We will be hosting a test-run for the entire Week of content during the week prior, September 8-11. If you are planning to present live, please be prepared to present your production plan for this run-through. Going through your program in detail the week before will ensure you iron out any kinks before you’re LIVE during DSW. As they say - practice makes perfect.
    • Schedule your test-run here.
    • We will send a calendar invite with a Zoom link to join your test-run meeting.
    • Communicate with your session team about specifics on who will host the meeting: only one host is able to assign breakout rooms and change screen-sharing settings.
  • After your test-run, keep a line of communication open with your assigned session volunteer to discuss session details or any updates. Volunteers will be prepared to grab session highlights for DSW social media, as well as help moderate & encourage sesion engagement. Volunteers will also ensure that our DSW Code of Conduct is linked in the session chat at the start of the session.
  • To run your presentation you will receive a unique panielst link with a calendar invite for your session that you’ll use to gain access to your session stage.
  • Check and test all of your settings before your session goes live. Be ready to join the “backstage” 15-minutes prior to ensure your functions are working properly. Turn off annotation, and ensure participants are muted until Q&A.


  • Last year our hashtag #DENStartupWeek had 50M+ impressions! Get in on the action by promoting your events starting NOW! We’ve created a Social Toolkit to make it easy for you to promote your session.
  • Thousands of people have already registered and built their schedule! Let's build on this momentum and work together to continue to grow our registration numbers.
  • Be sure to tag your speakers to extend your reach. Don’t forget to use hashtag #DENStartupWeek.
  • We'd also love for you to give a shout out to a few of our sponsors. Take a look at the sponsor list and be sure to give them a nice social shout out as a way to say thank you for helping bring this FREE event, including your session, to life! The DSW logo and other design assets for your social media posts can be found here.
  • Follow DSW at the links below:

PRESENT LIKE A PRO: (Either Live or Pre-recorded)

  • If you will be presenting live, create a place for yourself & your session in your home. This space should have good lighting (make sure there are no windows behind you), and a background that is not distracting (in case of any Zoom background malfunctions), as well as minimal background noise.
  • Think about framing and composition when setting up your shot. A good approach is to have your head, shoulders and upper torso visible in the frame. This should ensure that you’re not too close or too far from the camera.
  • If you can, consider trying a “two-point” lighting setup, where one light acts as the “key” and one acts as the “fill”. There are examples on YouTube of how to achieve this pretty easily without studio lights, and the results can still look very professional.
  • Use the best quality camera you have access to. The built in webcam on your laptop may be totally fine depending on the model, or you may have a dedicated webcam that provides a better picture, or even a DSLR you can use. Alternatively, if you have a high-end phone, this might actually have the better camera. Try to aim for a resolution of at least 720p or 1080p.
  • We highly encourage speakers & panelists to use the microphone on a headset, or pair of headphones, rather than speaking into the microphone on their computer. This provides a better sound quality, and helps eliminate additional noise.
  • Consider investing in or borrowing something like a podcast mic or a lavalier mic to capture audio. Do a test run first to get the levels right and make sure the volume is correct and that there’s no distortion or interference (e.g. buzzing or hissing sounds).
  • If you are referencing slides while you’re speaking, remember to still look at your audience (camera).
  • If sitting feels too stuffy or constricting, try standing! Be open to presenting in a unique way to help your comfortable level and ensure a good audience experience.
  • Coordinate the use of a Zoom Spotlight with your session team, this function allows you to switch between camera views for more than two speakers. (This does not apply to pre-recorded sessions.)


  • Encourage your audience members to post highlights during / after your session using #DENStartupWeek on social media.
  • The more interactive your session, the better. Share your screen, create a presentation, plan a Q&A,, have attendees answer a poll, etc. Get creative!
  • Encourage audience to post questions & comments into the chat. Think about a fun ice-breaker to open your session - for example “ where are you joining us from?” or “what year did you first participate in DSW?”“have you been to any other amazing DSW 2020 sessions yet?”
  • Encourage the audience to direct any questions that you don’t have time to answer to your Twitter handle, creating engagement and buzz even after your session is over.
  • Consider having some kind of giveaway at the end of your session - and announce that only those who stay through the end will be eligible to win. (Could be as small as a gift card or promo code, could be some sort of company-related membership or package - try to think of fun virtual prizes.)
  • Encourage participants to share their LinkedIn profile into the chat.
  • Share a LinkedIn profile for each speaker (either on virtual Zoom backgrounds, in the chat, or both).


  • Feel free to record from home. Please send us your pre-recorded file by September 9th.
  • Any video format is fine. Please make sure it is Full HD 1080p. Please do not send a Youtube / vimeo link.
  • Submit your video using the Upload Recording button in your DSW dashboard. Please share a link to a dropbox or drive file if it is too large.
  • We will be doing post-production on all submitted videos - aside from editing out any errors/empty time, please don’t worry about lower thirds or branding.
  • DSW will be offering first-come, first-serve slots for pre-recording and post-production of sessions at our studio space housed in The Commons on Champa.
    • Click here to book a slot to record your session - please read our guidelines for scheduling, and we kindly ask that you do not attempt to fit a 30-minute session into a 10-minute recording slot. 60-minute sessions can book a 30-minute slot on September 8th to chat with a DSW team member. We will be asking 60-minute sessions to record on their own, this time will be used to help with any questions/concerns.
  • MAPR Agency has offered webinar production services to session organizers as a means of support. If you’d like help producing your session, use the link above to see more about this offer.
  • One of the benefits of pre-recording content is that it enables you to focus your efforts on audience engagement during your session - moderating the chat, answering live Q&A as your session recording is streamed, etc. While you will still be leading your session, the option to not actively present opens up other opportunities for you to consider.
  • We will share recorded content through the DSW website, but not immediately. We feel it important to create an incentive for people to attend in real-time.


  • Remember you’re not alone. For your session, you will be working on a team to ensure your program runs smoothly. This team will include your Track Chair, or another member of the DSW Organizing Committee, as well as a volunteer, and a member from the Downtown Denver Partnership team. Only Organizing Committee Members & the Downtown Denver Partnership team will be able to assign breakout rooms and screen-share.
  • If there are obvious technical issues happening during your session, be honest with your audience. It’s best to have a line ready - knowing exactly what you are going to say in the face of a semi-embarrassing technical issue is incredibly helpful. Something like, “So sorry for the technical / audio / video issues folks! We are working to resolve it, please stick with us. Thanks for your patience!” can work wonders in the stress of the moment.
  • If there are obvious technical issues happening during your session, be honest with your audience. It’s best to have a line ready - knowing exactly what you are going to say in the face of a semi-embarrassing technical issue is incredibly helpful. Something like, “So sorry for the technical / audio / video issues folks! We are working to resolve it, please stick with us. Thanks for your patience!” can work wonders in the stress of the moment.
  • Click here for tips when testing and troubleshooting audio or video issues with Zoom on your own.
  • Reach out to your Denver Startup Week & Downtown Denver Partnership team members to ensure all hosts are on the same page about the issue at hand, and coordinating on what steps are being taken to resolve it.
  • Click here to contact Zoom technical support.


  • If you have any questions that were not answered in this article, please Contact Us here.


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