Virtual events are here to stay. Most experts predict that when we fully reopen from the COVID Pandemic for live events, at least 75% will have a virtual component that turns the experience into a genuinely hybrid event. No matter the forum, attendee interaction and engagement is the top concern when planning and executing an event. Even though we’ve been dealing with the “new normal” for some time now, we understand that there remains a bit of apprehension regarding engagement at Virtual or Hybrid events. Here are seven ways to design an engaging hybrid event that will help you ensure your attendees feel connected like never before.
1. Think Outside of the Box
The #1 form of Zoom gloom is that feeling you get when you’ve spent time and resources planned a Virtual meeting or Virtual conference, but after it ends, you feel like the experience needed something additional for your attendees in terms of engagement. Keeping your meeting objectives and purpose at the forefront of planning helps, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Today’s virtual event platforms offer unique opportunities to host memorable meetings that extend far beyond the computer screen. Don’t miss your chance to shine inside and outside of the box.
2. An Emcee will help your event
Hiring an engaging emcee or moderator helps to drive excitement and gives attendees the feeling of being involved in the event. The emcee will help control the show’s flow from start to finish, especially between the recorded session. A moderator or emcee will also help attendees get the sensation of a live event even while viewing virtually.
3. Provide multiple ways for attendees to engage
Virtual event platforms offer many options when it comes to communication with other attendees, presenters, or event staff. These options allow event attendees to submit their questions, concerns, or interactions in whichever method is most comfortable. With these win/win engagement solutions, the attendees can feel a more profound sense of engagement with the event and presenters.
4. Provide Virtual Sponsorships
Who doesn’t like “swag”? Even better yet…who doesn’t like a bag of swag? It doesn’t matter if your participants are in-person or spread across the globe. You can efficiently deliver unique and branded event items to their doorsteps via special services that have been created for these instances. Virtual swag bags are also coming into age due to the pandemic. One great thing is, just like the live events world, your sponsors can help to overcome any event costs. This helps to eliminate the fear of lost revenue for event organizers while providing sponsors the opportunity to reach their target audiences.
5. Plan Time For Engagement Breaks
Basic studies show that our attention spans typically are very short unless we feel emotionally connected. This is especially relevant in the virtual and Hybrid event realm. Scheduling back-to-back hour-long speaker sessions is a sure-fire way to minimize engagement.
Your attendees will value the dedicated time to interact with one another. Whether in-person or via virtual chat boxes, your attendees will want to engage, so give them every opportunity.
6. Delegate other tasks to your partners
It helps planners and organizers to focus on the #1 priority of the event, engagement. The focus on engagement can suffer if there isn’t adequate support staff to take care of the other items that need attention, such as production. Ensuring you have trusted partners will make your life easier as the event organizer or manager and help you to ensure the event’s main priority (engagement) is a success.
7. End on a High-Note
Booking a DJ or band was the typical way to end live events and conferences before the new normal arrived. But, there’s no reason to stop the party, which is now virtual or hybrid, until the end of the party. Book that entertainment that can help you put the cap on a fantastic program filled with engagement and fun. You can give participants the ability to connect with you and with other attendees post-event as well. Keep the event, conversations, and connections alive forever.
These event tips will help you ensure your next Virtual or Hybrid event is an engagement masterpiece.