The Last Thing Anybody Needs is Another Boring Virtual Event
This September of 2020, about 6 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we here at Lead Liaison noticed an interesting comment on LinkedIn from Katherine M. describing the 3 factors that entice her into engaging with a virtual event:
“For me it’s either
1) I learn something EXTREMELY valuable;
2) I get to connect with awesome people; or,
3) it’s super fun and/or entertaining”
We agree 100%!
Virtual events absolutely demand one of these 3 elements (and preferably all 3!) to avoid coming across as flat, boring, useless agents of overhype.
Let’s start with #1 – Educating and bringing extreme value to your audience
First and foremost, you must understand the wants and needs of your audience going into the event. Pre-event polling regarding potential topics on a scale of 1 to 10 will help your team to evaluate and further facilitate the presentations that will help bring in more attendees and keep them involved over the course of your online event.
Be sure to make the best use of imagery! Look to create fascinating and quick informational videos with colorful images, interactive elements and photography that commands attention.
Keep educational portions concise. Provide links to additional resources on your company site if your participants would like to learn more. The last thing you want to do is have your event drone on like a requirement that attendees must sit through in order to benefit, because trust us – home distractions, email inboxes waiting to be cleaned, and a treasure trove of other online diversions are readily available and waiting to steal your thunder.
Think strategically about how your team can interject sales initiatives, sponsors, and other business strategies along with vital education that will help your virtual event attendees find value in the time they invest.
Moving along to #2 – Helping produce authentic connections with inspiring like-minded people
Your event must allow time for participants to network and create friendships and new connections. Live chats and Q&A’s in sessions are wonderful, but encourage your team to think deeper about how they can help facilitate introductions and lasting relationships between audience members.
Breakout rooms, well thought out roundtables with attendees who are pre-determined to benefit each other from dedicated discussions, and ease of use connecting via social media during the event can add a next-level feel to your virtual event.
There is even software that provides online cocktail happy hours designed to allow for 5 minute discussions (much like speed dating). Use the premise of connecting with others over a drink as a tool to keep people at your event engaged and curious about what’s coming next. The opportunity to unwind, connect and discuss hot topics after a full day of learning together is a welcome conclusion.
Finally, and perhaps most important, we arrive at #3 – Bring the fun and entertainment!
We’re all living through unprecedented times that few have previously encountered. The wide spread use of masks, physical distancing and navigating a climate of ever changing politics and science has instilled an elevated desire for fun, captivating and thrilling experiences.
Gamify your event with classic trade show games such as Spin to Win (similar to Wheel of Fortune), Pick a Winner (akin to drawing a business card from a bowl), or online Scratch-Offs. Set probabilities of winning and automate gift cards to be emailed to the winners.
Perhaps your team is more interested in hosting a casino night with marketing gamification fun including Blackjack, Slot Machines or Roulette with real-time leaderboards. Competition amongst attendees promotes participation and guarantees engagement!
Think about the event from an attendee’s perspective. If your team was taking part in the virtual event instead of running it, what would THEY want to include to make the experience appealing and enjoyable throughout the course of the sessions?
The stellar news is that by integrating game dynamics before, during and after your event, you can assist in converting passive attendees into ENGAGED participants.
Lead Liaison’s gamification features are self-service and integration is inexpensive, simple and most importantly – FUN!
Don’t hesitate to reach out with ideas on how we can help liven up your next event!