Recently, in a conversation with Melissa Jones Clark, an event enthusiast and sales strategist, Eventcombo explored some incredibly interesting ways of making virtual and hybrid events stand out in this post-pandemic world. Today, almost everything has turned virtual which has a considerable impact on the attention span of audiences. Engaging them now requires a lot more efforts and strategy. Melissa, the Director of National Accounts & Brand Experience at Meeting Tomorrow, shared some valuable insights and unique ideas, gathered from her extensive experience and commendable expertise, on how to jazz up virtual events to ensure success.   

For those who have missed the webinar or looking for a quick recap, we have compiled some interesting information shared by our expert speaker. 

1. Make Events Fun 

  1. Play a game: Games like, ‘This and That’ (a conversation game) can be played during the event where players have two options for answering a given question. They compare them and choose the one they prefer. The results can be displayed in the form of polls.  
  2. Games like this help energize people and keep them involved right from the beginning of the event. Such activities are a great ice-breaker and can foster great learning experiences. Some other fun games can be Madlibs, Jeopardy, Virtual escape rooms, Taboo, etc. 
  3. Provide entertainment: Event attendees love to participate. Anything that makes them feel connected to the event is a good idea to incorporate.   
  4. Get innovative ideas from social networking platforms and follow engagement creators to observe what they are doing. 
  5. Other activities can include, inviting a poet or a comedian who interacts with and engages people.

Are you gearing up to organize memorable hybrid events? Check out Your Ultimate Hybrid Event Planning Checklist.  

2. Vary Your Formats  

Since everyone learns and absorbs information in different ways, it is wise to include activities having different formats.  

  1. Spread out the event over time: Shorter sessions and snackable content are more effective. For instance, distributing a 5-hour session into multiple half-an-hour sessions over a month makes the learning easier. 
  2. Have impromptu interviews: Another great way of keeping everyone engaged is to have mini conversations or catch people by surprise (a pleasant one). Such in-between chit chats keep people interested throughout the event and also make them look forward to the upcoming sessions.  
  3. Utilize audio only option: For a change, it allows the audience to take a break, giving them flexibility to use only the hearing sense while the eyes can rest. This can be done by partnering with podcast producers, relevant to your industry. Social audio app Clubhouse has currently come up with many great ‘audio event formats’ which attract a huge participation and high engagement.  
  4. Utilize props: Something as simple as a white board or getting presenters to make their point using drawing or doodle art can go a long way in engaging participants. Such activities are memorable and thought-provoking, and also spark creativity.  

3. Personalize the Experience – Key to Building Business Relationships  

  1. Create polls for your audience: Ask your audience, ahead of the event, what they want and try to design your event around it. Value their opinions; if they voted for something try including that aspect in the sessions.     
  2. Focus on the comment section/chat window: Have a team, from the organizing committee, that answers the questions and takes care of important inputs. Value the point of view of your audience, focus on what is resonating with them, and understand their pain points. What they disagree with is equally important to address. Ask them questions and create conversations. Overall, the aim is to make audience’s experience better by making them feel how important their inputs are.  
  3. Make content specific to the audience: Make sure to use content that is tailored according to the needs of the audience. This can be done by using behavioural science and crowdsourced opinions. Help people find answers to their questions or provide them with tools to solve problems.  
  4. Send personalized swag: Gift your attendees something to remember. You can also let them pick their own gifts. There are various online platforms which let people choose something simple they are fond of.  

4. Be Intentional with Networking  

  1. Introduce people before the event: Doing a round of introduction with everyone before the event can be a great start. Fostering familiarity and connections would keep people engaged during the entire course of the event.  
  2. Create small, moderated, and specific groups for interactions: Keep the networks as small as you can for convenience and better reachability.  
  3. Allow people to network as they like: Do not force virtual and in-person audiences to connect or interact with each other unless it's absolutely necessary. Allow them the convenience to choose networking options and formats and provide them with appropriate platforms like virtual booths for remote audience and networking area for in-person participants.  
  4. Offer VIP networking opportunities: Many event tech platforms host exclusive networking rooms and sessions that offer a close interaction with the speakers. These are reserved for a specific set of audiences who are given special privileges for an additional fee.  

5. Put Attendees in the Driver’s Seat  

  1. Provide resources: Let people have resources and collaterals so they can learn more about what was spoken and shown during the event. Provide them with handbooks, whitepapers or other informative reads which they can use to dig deeper. 

If you are planning to host awesome virtual and hybrid events, here’s your one-stop destination! Check out Eventcombo’s In-depth demo of Fireworks™ by Eventcombo.

Check out the webinar here.