The online world is full of distractions. Whether that’s replying to emails, scrolling through Facebook, or watching videos on YouTube, all of these distractions are just one click away.
Understandably then, virtual events have a lot of competition and as a result, that’s left many of us asking ourselves: “Is it really possible to keep attendees engaged at virtual events?”
With a bit of creativity and some good event technology, the answer is a resounding yes. This is a chance to completely reimagine audience engagement while expanding your audience in the process.
To seize this opportunity, here are five simple yet powerful ideas that will get your attendees in the zone at your next event.
Ask plenty of questions
To understand engagement, you need to put yourself in the position of your attendees. They’re going to be sat at home with all sorts of distractions around them. Compared to a live venue you can understand how easy it is for attendees to feel completely detached from the event.
To really change this, you need to communicate with your attendees and make them feel like they’re there at the event with you. Ask plenty of questions, and no, they don’t need to be complicated. Actually, the simpler the better.
What do you think? What would you do? How would you change this? These are some of the open-ended questions that encourage critical thinking and active participation amongst your attendees.
When attendees respond to these questions with good answers you know that they’re engaging in your content. Asking plenty of questions adds a personal touch and always encourages participation.
Encourage attendees to ask questions and read those questions
Communication is a two-way thing, that’s why a good conversation should always strike a balance between talking and communicating. We just touched on how to communicate with attendees so now it’s time to flip the equation around and look at how attendees communicate with you.
Getting your attendees to interact at a virtual event, is actually a lot easier than you’d expect. By just attending the event they’re already showing some serious interest, so once they’re at the event it’s time to funnel this into interaction.
The best way for this to happen is through the live chat feature which should accompany almost all of your event sessions. To get the most out of this, make sure to have moderators that can guide the conversation, that way you’ll ensure that attendees get the most out of the session that they’re participating in.
Tip: Do a bit of homework beforehand by identifying plenty of prompts and questions so that the conversation flows and attendees can become a part of the event.
Make it interactive
There’s no reason why a virtual event can’t be interactive, especially when you reconsider the first word. Technology is literally the be-all and end-all of a virtual event and even better, it’s a great tool to encourage participation and engagement.
Polls, chats, and quizzes are just some of the ways that you can break down the barriers between you and your audience. The best thing is that all of these interactive features will give you results in real-time.
With real-time responses, you’ll be able to identify what’s working, what’s not, and just how engaged your attendees are. This allows you to steer the conversation along with what your attendees want to hear.
Make it fun
Adding fun elements across the event is a sure-fire way to boost engagement. Again, there are plenty of options out there. The most popular being gamification through techniques such as trivia, quizzes, and contents. To take this one step further, you can also include prizes as a way to encourage participation.
Beyond gamification, another good aspect to utilise is live experiences such as a yoga session, a cooking class, or even a live music performance. This provides a great chance for your attendees to participate in something new whilst breaking down any barriers amongst themselves.
Have multiple breaks and very short sessions
To accommodate the attention spans of your attendees, create bitesize content. Simplicity is key here, so go through your event agenda and identify how you can deliver your content into digestible chunks. This could mean sharing one key message per slide on a presentation or offering your attendees a live experience.
Whatever you choose, always make sure to break the session up by asking a question, adding a poll, or having a coffee break. This way you will give attendees a lot more time to process the content that’s on offer, without having to force it on them.
This is vital because when you offer plenty of breaks you reduce the likelihood of your attendees making breaks on their own accord.
With some creativity and good event technology, there are plenty of ways to keep your attendees engaged. This is a fantastic opportunity to completely reimagine audience engagement while expanding your audience in the process. Put yourself in the position of your attendees and create a perfect environment.