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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 over the past decade.

Innovation and community are more important now than ever. Given the new hybrid 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.

We also hosted a live webinar where we went through this slide deck and recorded our discussion. View the recording here. Reach out to your Track Chair if you have perused all of these resources and still have questions.


This year, the continued safety and comfort of our community is top of mind as we present DSW in a hybrid format. We are committed to accessibility for all participants with varied preferences for interacting in-person during this pandemic. This means that almost all sessions will be held virtually as Zoom webinars. If you have not had a specific conversation with an Organizing Committee or staff member about your session happening in-person, it will be a Zoom webinar. The in-person interaction will be concentrated on our social and headline events, including Keynotes, Happy Hours, the Job Fair, and the Physical Product Showcase. Every session that is presenting a content-based program (for example, a keynote presentation) will also be livestreamed.


DSW is committed to supporting you in presenting a webinar. If you would like to host a watch party or small gathering for your session, you are welcome to do so as long as you still livestream your content to Zoom and follow these guidelines:

  • DSW requires that session organizers follow the most current guidelines for gathering safely as dictated by local, state, and federal mandates.
  • You must schedule a test run with DSW staff and volunteers to figure out sound quality, stage layout, staff roles, etc.
  • Please be aware that DSW is not liable for off-site events this year and will not be providing logistical support for any events occurring outside of our official venues.


  • 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 Chairs, Dianne Myles and Alexis Newton (dei@denverstartupweek.org), or your Track Chair.
  • Closed captioning will be implemented for sessions at Denver Startup Week 2021 via Youtube. ASL and multi-language interpretation is also available on select sessions and on request in advance.


  • First, all speakers, staff, moderators, panelists -- anyone who will be involved in your session -- need to be registered for DSW 2021. This is the only way they will receive their Zoom links ahead of time!
    • Target: Friday, September 17
  • Next, please email your Track Chair with your session title, the list of panelists and corresponding email addresses. Panelists will be added to your session listing at this time.
    • Target: Friday, September 24
  • Before your session, panelist Zoom links will be sent directly to panelist email addresses.


  • For your session, you will be working with a team to ensure the event runs smoothly. This team will include your Track Chair, or another member of the DSW Organizing Committee or staff, as well as your day-of volunteer (to be assigned by DSW before your test-run). YOU are the leader of this team and ultimately responsible for the content of your session. Volunteers are here to support you in that mission!
  • We will be hosting a test-run for the entire Week of content during the week prior, September 27-October 1. Please be prepared to present your production plan for this run-through and come prepared with any questions, polls, slides, videos, etc. Connecting with your team and going through your program in detail beforehand will ensure you iron out any kinks before you’re LIVE during DSW. As they say - practice makes perfect.
    • Schedule your test-run here: https://slotted.co/dsw2021
    • A Zoom link will be sent 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 there for technical assistance only - it is up to you to present slides, moderate the chat, etc. 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 actual presentation, you will receive a unique panelist link for your session that you’ll use to gain access to your session stage. Your assigned volunteer will be able to re-generate and re-send these links if misplaced.
  • Check and test all of your settings before your session goes live. Be ready to join the “backstage” 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time in order to ensure your functions are working properly.


Our Social Media Kit for Speakers includes messaging, graphics, and instructions to personalize the assets with your headshot. It couldn't be easier to share about your DSW participation on social media!

  • Don't forget to use the hashtag #DENStartupWeek and tag us in your posts! Last year our hashtag #DENStartupWeek had 50M+ impressions. Get in on the action by promoting your events starting NOW!
  • 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 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. DSW will not be offering any post-production or any live recording services this year.
  • Even if you record in advance, you still need someone to join at your scheduled time to hit “play” and to moderate the chat and Q&A.
  • Any video format is fine. Please make sure it is Full HD 1080p. Please do not use a Youtube / vimeo link. Make sure to play a local video.
  • 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, who will be supported behind the scenes by trained staff.
  • 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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