How do you keep attendees engaged during Virtual Events?
Creating and maintaining engagement is a tough task during a live event, let alone online. During virtual events, you’re competing with a heap of distractions from social media to email inboxes and pressing to do lists – so how do you keep your attendees engaged when there are all these distractions? Does it mean you have to settle for low engagement?
Research states that 47% of people are more likely to ask a question at a virtual event, with 37% of people more likely to speak to someone in a virtual booth that a real one. Being able to hide behind a screen is something that your delegates might appreciate during the virtual event, it’s up to you to leverage the opportunity to enhance the participation.
Here are five ways that you can enhance and maintain engagement among your attendees during a virtual event:
1. Use interactive Features
Using interactive features during your online event can contribute hugely to breaking the ice between the audience and the host. Using tools such as live chat, live polls or a live Q&A can encourage that interaction and draw your audience in. Live chat and Q&A will enable your delegates to ask questions and comment on a real-time basis. This will help them feel part of the event, and that their thoughts and opinions are seen. To enhance this further, consider having virtual booths available on your virtual event, giving delegates the chance to head to a booth to seek information or understanding on a one to one basis. This works well for virtual exhibition stands, providing the delegate with an opportunity to speak to someone from that organisation.
2. Ensure your technology is sound
A virtual event is a lot cheaper than hosting a live event, as there are no venue fee’s, setup and setdown costs, staffing etc. but you still want to make it stand out and successful. Ensuring that you have the best technology and best platform is essential to the success of your virtual event. Think about what aspects of your live event you would want to incorporate online and find a platform that fits that mould. Most of all, make sure your technology is safe and secure for your delegates, but also easy to navigate and glitch free. There’s nothing worse than buttons that lead to nowhere and chat rooms that don’t work properly – ensure that your platform is fully fit for purpose before you take it live.
3. Enlist passionate speakers
Different to live events, the attention span of a virtual event delegate is more than halved. If your content is boring, lacks creativity or simply is irrelevant your delegate might be quick to exit. Ensuring that you have passionate, engaging speakers for your webinars is essential. Make sure that they’re excited, organised, relevant and knowledgeable because there’s nothing worse than a speaker on autopilot about their content. Having passionate, well-known speakers from your industry will maintain engagement among your delegates, contributing to the FOMO factor. Have speakers that are so engaging and so full of great content that your delegates don’t want to be anywhere else, than at your virtual event.
4. Put face to the voice
The power of communication lies in so much more than voice. Facial queues, posture, stance and other types of body language contribute to the words being spoken to understand what’s being said. In 2021, it is predicted that over 70% of content online is set to be video, because communication is far more powerful when it’s visual as well as audible. Make communication easier and more engaging by putting a face to the voice of your event host by using video. Help your delegates feel welcomed by a friendly face, and more engaged by your host.
5. Create opportunity
In most event settings there is little opportunity for people to ask a question or comment on a statement. The powerful thing about an online event, is that you can structure these natural pauses into the webinar, schedule or activity. Delegates can only give their attention for so long online, so creating opportunity to pause, comment, ask a question during the event can help maintain interest. Whether you’re hosting an online workshop, exhibition or virtual conference – your virtual event will benefit hugely from strong communication throughout. Find ways to create opportunity for conversation in every area of your event, and you’ll be sure to keep your delegates engaged.
So how do you keep attendees engaged during Virtual Events?
Within a virtual event, you’re constantly competing with everything else on the internet, inbox and agenda of your delegates as the attention span is not as it is during a live event, so working hard at ensuring you maximise engagement is vitally important. Taking your event online opens up a huge door of new opportunity and new audiences – you could soon be reaching delegates from all over the world! Get ahead and engage with your delegates long before your event. Have a great marketing campaign to engage with your delegates and encourage excitement prior to your event, and watch the engagement continue as your event presses ahead.
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