Tired of the same old boring virtual meeting? (We hear ya.) What once felt like a fun concept—being able to attend a work meeting AND still be in pajama bottoms—quickly lost its allure. It seems like in only the blink of an eye, virtual events became the norm in 2020. And just like most things that become part of the norm, the novelty can soon wear off.
By May, the term “Zoom-fatigue” had already been coined, and more than a few people started to find themselves getting a little choosier with the virtual invitations they accepted.
So, the question then arises, how can you keep participants engaged in virtual events, especially when these types of events are starting to feel like a dime a dozen?
Answer: SPICE ‘em up.
Virtual events are incredibly advantageous to business, that is, when they are executed correctly. Read: when a virtual event is actually engaging.
When a virtual event is engaging, it can:
- • Increase team comradery
- • Build rapport with potential partnerships
- • Extend your brand’s reach
- • Generate future leads, even
- • Serve as a thank you to your team
Sounds pretty good, huh? But how exactly do you get people fired up for your event? And keep them coming back for more? Read on to discover five of our favorite ways to easily turn a drab virtual event into something the attendees will be talking about for months to come.
1. Add Engaging Elements to Your Virtual Event
One of the simplest ways to make a virtual event more engaging is to add interactive elements to the event. Depending on how many virtual events one person might attend in a single day, it’s no surprise if their eyes start to glaze over and their attention lags when they’re simply listening to a screen talk at them all day.
Instead, create moments for interaction to help keep things more engaging. Utilize polls to engage your audience or employees, or set aside time for Q & As. Depending on the size of your virtual event, try to have a quick chat with your employees as they hop on to help make their presence felt in the ‘room,’ or you can even start with some of these icebreakers to liven things up if it’s a crowd that doesn’t know one another.
2. Make for Friendly Competition
Friendly competition can take some of the pressure off of online meetings or virtual events and are incredibly easy to incorporate. These competitions can be as simple as who has the best Zoom background or you can go as far as creating something more engaging, like trivia.
For example, this company allows you to create trivia questions for your attendees, either by writing your own questions or choosing from their bank. When in action, questions will appear on attendees’ computers in a projector-like view, and they can answer from their mobile devices, which will automatically tally their points. Hype it up even more by offering prizes for your attendees with the highest scores.
3. Hire a Live Musician to Up the Tempo
Music has long served as a means of connection between people, so why not use it to connect with your virtual audience? In this unique year, we’ve already seen musicians power virtual fundraisers and events, especially when top names band together (forgive the pun) to raise awareness for both local and global causes. But even if you’re not setting out to change the world with your virtual event, musicians are one of the easiest ways to bring a bit of toe-tappin’ joy to any virtual space.
Teaching an Italian cooking course online? Why not hire an opera singer to really spice up the experience between courses? Hosting a virtual pub trivia? Hire an Irish musician for a night of traditional music. There are plenty of creative opportunities to incorporate music into your event.
4. Send Fun Swag Bags to Hype Up Attendees
One of the best parts of attending an in-person conference or event? The swag bags. These little promo bags help attendees feel welcomed and connected to the event, and more often than not, they contain some pretty cool stuff. So when in-person events were swapped out in exchange for virtual events this year, it’d be reasonable to think that the swag bags would go out the window too. But not quite.
Sending swag bags to attendees ahead of your virtual event is an excellent way to humanize your event, engage your audience and give them something to look forward to. Companies like SwagUp help you create and ship your swag bags all in one convenient place. Don’t want to give something physical? Give a *digital* goody bag consisting of deals or free trials from any sponsors you may have.
5. Make Your Virtual Event Truly Hands-On
Ever crave a virtual event that felt a little more…involved? Some companies are now taking virtual events to the next level by sending pre-packaged boxes to the homes of attendees that they will actually use in an upcoming event, making it truly a hands-on experience.
For example, LABeerHop offers virtual beer tastings with two certified cicerones, and they even organize the delivery of the 6-pack right to your doorstep. Led by an Irishman from Cork, this business holds Irish whiskey tastings, working with local liquor stores to deliver miniature samples, also to your doorstep. Some restaurants even supply the ingredients for a multi-course meal that attendees can pick up and cook at home alongside a virtual chef.
This approach to virtual events carries a more relaxed and fun vibe, which is excellent for occasions like thanking your employees for a successful quarter or even using the opportunity to build rapport between potential partnerships at B2B events.
Final Tips for Spicing Up Your Virtual Event:
If you’ve caught the creative bug and you’re ready to spice up your virtual events, make sure to keep these final notes in mind.
Guestboard (that’s us!) offers a happy medium—an easy-to-use interface that allows for multi-room events, but also offers additional collaborative tools like a shared resources section, checklist, group chat, and more.
Be organized. Send your attendees everything they need for the virtual event, whether that’s meeting notes or event boxes, well in advance to avoid last-minute scrambles.
Let attendees know what to expect ahead of the event. Does this virtual event have a hard start time, or can they come and go? Do they need to be prepared to contribute anything? You’ll likely want videos on to make the event more engaging, so let them know this too.
Consider the timing. With more and more virtual events taking place, be mindful of your attendees’ time and attention span. You may be surprised by just how much can be accomplished in a short virtual event if all of the attendees are highly engaged.
Have fun! If your virtual event starts swaying more on the side of fun instead of productivity, ride with the wave. You can rest assured knowing that there will most likely be a few boring virtual events to attend in the future!