Virtual Event Engagement
Attendee engagement is imperative in the new age of virtual events. There are some events that make sense as a completely passive experience but mose events would greatly benefit from an attendee engagement strategy.
Here are three different virtual event engagement strategies and why they will help your attendees get more out of the event:
Acknowledge: When an attendee enters a virtual room for an event there’s both a relief and an anxiety of being anonymous. There is no typical check-in or registration process that offers that acknowledgment that you are welcomed at this event.
Some ways to acknowledge your attendees virtually
- Opening Question – Ask the full group an opening question they can participate in by typing in the chat. Read off responses with the person’s name so they feel acknowledged
- Icebreaker activity – The thought of an icebreaker makes some of us want to run for the hills. An icebreaker is just a way to relax and ease people into a group. A lot of icebreakers only take a few minutes and can greatly positively affect the dynamic. For some resources on icebreakers, keep reading!
Connect: Connection is the BEST engagement tool so create opportunities for attendees to connect and meet as much as possible.
- Small group/breakout discussions – Send attendees into breakout rooms or smaller groups. These groups can be a way to meet other attendees or to discuss a topic within the session. Consider providing questions to help facilitate the discussion.
- Attendee chat function – Utilize the chat function throughout the event and encourage conversation amongst the attendees
- Networking – Create a virtual “lounge” where attendees can spontaneously meet each other like they would at an in-person event
- Connection exercises – Connection exercises are an extension of icebreaker activities that are meant to form connection between attendees. For both networking and connection exercises check out Play on Purpose’s digital library. If you are looking for a skilled facilitator for your icebreakers or connection exercises check out On Your Feet.
- Interactive or team-building activities – There are a variety of activities to get attendees to interact such as a scavenger hunt, team-building and gameified activities. Check out this article for ideas.
Synthesize: Create ways for attendees to integrate or apply the content they are learning. Attendees will get more value out of the content and organization.
- Polls – Most virtual event platforms have a polling feature. Utilize this feature when you want to gauge how your attendees are digesting a certain piece of information in your content or to prime them for an upcoming point. For example: If your session is about how to more effectively communicate with your colleagues you could put out a poll that asks your attendees if they struggle with this.
- Report-outs – Have your attendees come together in small groups to apply a strategy that was taught in your session. Bring everyone back together and have each group designate a spokesperson to report out on how they applied the strategy. For example: if the session is about
- Collaborative note-taking – Create the ability for attendees to collaborate on notes on the session. These notes will be made available for others as a reference
- Co-creation of a real-time project – Utilize a digital whiteboard for attendees to contribute to an art project that is applicable to the content of the session. This feature is already built into Zoom but you can easily integrate whiteboards for other platforms. Allow room for creativity and silliness.
What are your biggest challenges around virtual event engagement? Have you tried any of these techniques for your virtual events? What’s worked well?