We all know what it’s like to be at home and sit through hours and hours of virtual content, we get distracted by email, we check our Facebook or Instagram, walk away to grab a snack … let’s be honest we all have done these things! So, if you are creating a virtual event, here are some fun ideas to keep your audience with you, at least most of the time.
1. Chat Room: Everyone seems to love the chat so be sure to include this functionality in your platform. However, during powerful keynotes or awesome subject matter, consider turning off the chat so folks focus on the presentation versus trying to keep up with the rapidly scrolling chat, which can be challenging!
2. Polling: This can be a highly effective tool during presentations as well as transitions within the program.
If using polling during presentations, be sure the questions relate back to the content and that the presenter or panel use the results to circle back to the topic they are speaking to. This makes the audience feel like they are part of the session.
Polling can also be fun when working with a host or emcee. At the beginning of the day, have your host engage the audience with an icebreaker such as “Choose an item with in arms reach that someone else might not have and write it in the chat”, the host could ask “Where is everyone tuning in from today” or “Let’s see what areas of our industry everyone is from”. It is important to ask questions that give you measurable data as it relates to the goals and objectives of the event. Continue this throughout the day, during session transitions, meal breaks, etc.
3. Trivia: Who doesn’t like trivia? Create fun trivia questions that relate to the theme or industry of your event. These could be questions on scrolling slides during down times, like you see at the movie theater while you wait for the film to begin, with fun questions flashing across the screen. Or if you really want them engaged, consider using a tool that can create a contest with the attendee who answers the most questions correctly wins a prize at the end of the event.
4. Virtual Networking Rooms: Allow time in the schedule for the virtual audience to break into virtual networking rooms. This could be roundtable discussions with curated topics that attendees register for prior to the event or allow the virtual attendee the opportunity to create a topic for discussion during registration and post the topic in event updates so other attendees may register their interest.
5. Breaks: Some in the virtual audience like many breaks and some prefer less. Whatever the preference is, be sure to include breaks and offer things like a quick chair yoga session or a live DJ spinning music, taking requests from the audience. This way if the attendee wants to stick around there is something for them to do or see.
There are so many opportunities to keep your audience engaged. But remember, it is important to know your audience, cater to their likes and be sure the engagement tools you provide give you measurable data at the end of the event. Try engaging social media influencers in your industry ahead of the event to determine what types of activities the audience might enjoy. Whatever you do, keep it fun, keep it simple and keep it short!