Virtual event engagement is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about challenges for event planners today. With short attention spans and a digital medium, keeping attendees on their Zoom screen (or Bizzabo, or On24, etc) requires a different mindset when planning speakers and content.
A speaker can’t simply deliver great content and grab the attendees’ undivided interest as they would in an in-person setting.
Take examples like:
- offering breaks on the agenda,
- keeping sessions short (under 30mins),
- offering Q&A,
- incorporating various presentation formats (panel, fireside chat, keynote, TED talk, etc.), and
- making sure the platform (video and slides) is easily viewable
These are relatively simple ways to rearrange your audience from zoning out and hitting that minimize button!
To stand out in this virtual event world we are currently living in and increase virtual event engagement, you will need to take it up a notch though. Here are a few ideas to incorporate into virtual events to ensure that audience engagement and interaction is high.
Top Virtual Event Engagement Techniques in 2020
Virtual Event Engagement Techniques
Think back to your in-person events.
Did you have entertainment, a keynote speaker, or magician to kick off the meeting? Why should virtual events be any different?
Take the time to find entertainment to kick off your meeting with a bang and get your attendees excited and engaged. Due to the virtual fatigue that takes place, you may want to consider planning virtual entertainment mid-way through the meeting as well.
We offer multiple breaks at in-person events, so again virtual events should offer the same. Maybe consider providing a virtual lunch for your attendees with a provided code for a meal delivery service, a mid-day fitness break where you invite someone to lead a virtual group stretch or yoga session to get the blood flowing.
No matter the size of your virtual meeting, set aside time to have your attendees do an icebreaker activity. If you have a large audience than use a platform like Zoom that will allow you to break up into smaller groups to do an icebreaker activity on a more personal level.
This should not take up a lot of time, but it is a great opportunity for attendees to get to know each other and gives them some social interaction with a few fellow attendees for the feeling of normalcy. This could even be a mid-day activity to help break up the listening fatigue and incorporate social interaction.
Examples of easy icebreakers:
- Questions and Answers: What is your favorite beverage? What is your favorite type of music?
- Guess Who: Post a fact about someone and everyone picks who they think it is
- Team Trivia: Break up into teams and make it a friendly competition
- Discuss your role at the meeting/conference, why you are in attendance, what you are hoping to take away
OR check out the Icebreaker platform to help your attendees get to know one another with guided conversation games. These are excellent ways to bump up your virtual event engagement.
Your team-building activities should not be put to a halt just because you are having a virtual event.
Some would say that team-building and icebreaker engagement is more important than ever right now. Keep your remote teams engaged by hosting a virtual team building game like a host-led game show or a virtual escape room. Check out Wildly Different to create a custom experience for your next event that your attendees will love.
Giveaways are not essential, but they certainly have a way of boosting morale and showing your attendees that you appreciate them. Giveaways can also help keep attendees feel more connected to your event from home and engaged throughout the duration of your next virtual meeting.
Consider rewarding your attendees for participating, interacting with others, or asking questions to keep the engagement levels high throughout the entire meeting. Do not forget, no matter how great the gifts are your attendees still need breaks!
Click here for some great swag/giveaway ideas for your attendees.
One of the top ways to increase virtual event engagement or engagement for any event for that matter?
Create an online messaging network with Slack or another platform to allow your attendees to connect, socialize, and send each other virtual business cards. This can allow for attendees to have scheduled discussions, chats initiated around certain topics, and much more.
Or consider matchmaking as another way to allow your attendees the opportunity to make connections and network with one another. Check out Brella, a matchmaking platform where your attendees choose their interests and are matched with other attendees that have similar interests.
After your meeting has concluded consider hosting a networking reception for your attendees to socialize, unwind, and make connections. Break groups up into smaller, moderated rooms, share a cocktail, and consider having a topic for discussion to start the networking conversation.
We know that we all have our mobile phone on us at all times, so consider extending your virtual event to the attendees’ mobile phone by incorporating a mobile app.
A great way to keep all your attendees informed and in the know of what and when things are taking place is a mobile app. This would allow you to send push notifications and give easy access to the event agenda, speakers info., see who is attending the meeting, and a community that allows you to connect with other attendees.
A full day of webinars, virtual team meetings, virtual conferences, and phone calls can get a bit exhausting and honestly, boring if it just includes sharing a presentation and listening to speaker after speaker.
Virtual event engagement requires a different mindset and planning strategies to make virtual work for you. Make sure to implement the simple ways of engagement and then create new ways to engage your attendees virtually, keep them interested, and have fun while doing it!
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