As we approach the one-year mark of dealing with the pandemic, virtual events are only growing more prevalent, and necessary, for many organizations trying to stay afloat. Yet at the same time, “Zoom fatigue,” has become a real thing.
From fundraisers and social hours, to conferences and team-building retreats, organizations are tasked with both transitioning every event online and competing in a saturated space. How can you stick out from the crowd and ensure your attendance stays steady?
No matter what the virtual event you’re hosting looks like, the following tips are great ways to encourage lively virtual events that cut through the noise and leave your audience feeling recharged, rather than ready to log off early.
1. Have a moderator for your event
Even if your event is just a social hour, a moderator can ensure everyone’s time online runs smoothly, conversation doesn’t lull, and all guests get a turn to speak. For events such as a webinar or Q&A, a moderator is crucial. When someone else is clearly in control, it’s easier for attendees to relax, learn, and enjoy.
2. If your event is in a webinar format, find ways to make it interactive and allow time for questions
This goes hand-in-hand with enlisting a moderator. If your event is in a presentation format, incorporating interactive elements and time for questions is key to keeping people engaged.
If your event is more along the lines of a social get-together or networking event, have a plan in place for gamifying the event, stimulating conversation, or otherwise engaging everyone in attendance.
3. Come prepared with unique, entertaining icebreakers
Even with lots of practice, joining a virtual event with strangers can be tough for your participants. Stocking up on some fun, creative icebreakers that facilitate real conversations is one way to ensure the conversation doesn't stall and everyone feels welcome and at ease.
4. Build breaks into the event structure
Let’s face it: everyone needs a break from being on-camera sometimes. If your event requires screens on, build short breaks into the schedule or make it known that people can turn off their screens for a few minutes as needed. This will combat fatigue and encourage better conversation when screens are on and break time is over.
5. Provide a valuable resource leading up to or following the event
Another way to entice people to RSVP and show up: provide fun and informative materials related to the event. Whether it’s a summary of what to expect, helpful further reading, or something lighthearted and fun before or after a social virtual event, these types of resources will get guests excited about their experience. Sending materials or information in advance can set the stage so attendees know what to expect and make the event more valuable to all attendees.
6. Practice, practice, practice!
No matter what type of event you’re hosting, make sure you’re comfortable with all that it entails. Troubleshooting technology in-advance, doing a practice run-through, or even just checking that your Zoom settings are configured correctly are all important ways to ensure everything runs smoothly when it's showtime. Plus, the less nervous you are going into an event, the more confident and at ease you’ll be.
If you need support as you think through your digital strategy during this unusual time, we'd like to help. Click to set up a free strategy call with our team.