One of the many questions since 2020 yet to have a perfect formula or recipe. I have been researching and here are my top 5 ideas, some I have been using for my past virtual events and some I will put them into practice soon.
1. Earn points to redeem gifts
A lot of virtual event platform has this feature ready – set the goals and audience can earn points after completing assigned tasks or missions. Instant gratification by using the points to redeem for gift cards or surprise swag box or sponsored gifts. I find this really useful to drive the audience to sponsor’s booths or get the audience more active during the general sessions or making sure the attendees network with one another. You can check out platforms like Cvent, OnAir by EventsAir or Hubilo.
2. Online games
Having games during breaks can be a good way to keep the audience occupied, especially those that do not have e-mail to response to or do not need such long toilet break. I use Engamio a new gamification platform to build simple games such as word search or jigsaw puzzle game, the leaderboard will create the competition among the audience. Platform like Engamio allows branding and it can be part of the sponsorship package. What platform do you use – care to share and comment?
3. Virtual photo booth
We are so used to getting a photo booth at a physical event but what’s stopping us from having a virtual version? Platforms like Snapbar even allows the user to add stickers (props) on their photo. If the user is super shy, he or she can just keep the photos without sharing them on social media.
4. Get physical
EventMB’s event had short 10 mins of workout session conducted by professional fitness instructor which I mind it very useful to get the audience moving or up from their seats after a few hours of intense knowledge downloading. There are other activities such as cocktail masterclass, mentalists show or even
5. Discussion forum
Turn the chat function during the session into a discussion forum. Some platforms rename the chat feature to Discussion Forum to encourage more subject matter discussion rather than normal chat. To achieve this, a good moderator is required to drive the conversation and this definitely can help to stimulate the discussion while the session is going on.
Presenting to live audience vs virtual audience can be very different and will have different challenges. Seasoned presenters or keynote speakers maybe very comfortable with the live audience and the live response but it is not the same in the virtual environment.
Presenters need to be more engaging on the virtual scenario and here are some features either already available on most webinar platforms or available to integrate into the presentation deck.
Crowdsource for topics of interest
Start engaging your audience before the event by setting up polls to understand your audience better and it is a fantastic way to curate or crowdsource for topics of interest from the audience. This will help the presenter to shape their presentation so that it’s more relevant or interesting to the majority of the crowd.
Another good example is to get the audience to vote for the case study that they want to hear from the keynote speaker. Let the audience feel that they are part of the event and they had the privilege to shape the content.
Connecting with the audience
Facilitator or moderator of the virtual event plays a very important role. I personally find that it is important to set the stage for the speaker by connecting with the audience through a simple get-to-know-you poll or word cloud. This is also a very good opportunity to introduce the feature of the poll and Q&A available throughout the event.
I feel it is important that the presenter or speaker can continue to engage with the audience throughout his/her session and it is never the same for the presenter to get a live response from the virtual audience. Responses from the virtual audience can also help to energise the presenter.
How can we get live responses from virtual audience?
Most of the webinar platforms come with Polling features, make use of the available features to get the audience to response – to see if they understand what was presented the last 10 minutes or more examples needed before moving to the next point.
You can also opt to get the audience opinion before a case has been presented so that you can show a before and after opinion or the opinion shift.
Allow the audience to use the live chat feature to connect with other audiences. The live chat feature can also be used during the presentation to get quick responses without having to set up a poll. Example, type “1” in the chatbox if you agree with the last point.
Gamify the experience with quizzes using available tools like Mentimeter or Kahoot.
Q&A is important at the end of the session, and more effective if facilitated by a moderator.