Virtual experiences are the talk of every digital conference today. With every in-person interaction pivoting to virtual – happy hours, client meetings, even full-blown conferences – it’s no wonder “Zoom fatigue” has become such a widely experienced sentiment. But it doesn’t have to be! Whether you’re planning a meeting for two or an event for 2,000, there is so much opportunity to create something meaningful and worthwhile for attendees.
Involve Your Participants. Creativity Is Key.
If you’re not prioritizing ways in which to make your presentation, town hall or upcoming virtual event engaging, then be prepared to feel as if you’re talking to yourself.
Unless tapping the typical webinar functionality, most video conference tools grant attendees the power to mute themselves and hide their video. But you can still incorporate ways to keep your audience on their toes – literally and figuratively.
Start off with your opening remarks or meeting agenda but keep it short and light, ideally one-minute maximum. You don’t want to lose everyone’s attention before you’ve even started. Same as if you were speaking at a conference in person, identify ways to involve your participants and engage with your audience. For example, taking a pause throughout your discussion to remind your attendees to submit questions; incorporating a quiz where attendees can only find out the answer by paying attention to the conversation – perhaps even prompting them to take a screenshot of a slide if you’re presenting a deck but they won’t find out why until later; telling everyone tuning in to physically stand up and stretch periodically. The latter offers a nice break from the sedentary lifestyle we’ve all become accustomed to.
Virtual Networking? Really?
Just because we’re virtual, doesn’t mean we still can’t network. And don’t shy away from all the great built-in features that your video conferencing tool has to offer. For instance, some solutions offer the capability to coordinate breakout sessions among participants. This creates intimate settings for small groups of attendees to chat amongst themselves, similar to how they might chat waiting in line for food and drinks.
Now that we’re not able to hand out physical business cards, breakout rooms can also offer a viable substitute to instigate LinkedIn follows.
Are you tired of doing the dance with people you just met at a conference, only to find out ten minutes into the conversation that they’re not really relevant to your field?
Online platforms help you dive deeper than the badge. Instead of just blindly walking up to someone with no more than a name and company affiliation to guide your conversation, virtual conferencing solutions ask participants the critical questions. This way, your first conversation with fellow attendees can go deeper than surface level in a matter of minutes.
You don’t need to be a tech wizard or a professional speaker to produce an engaging and effective virtual gathering. And, in many ways, the virtual world we now live in has only expanded our opportunities to make connections and attend events across time zones, all over the world. Instead of continuing to talk about this as the “new normal,” let’s start reframing the conversation. Virtuality is a critical component to any future gathering; it’s the piece of the puzzle that’s been missing. Let’s embrace it!