Before the pandemic hit the world in March 2020, virtual meetings were virtually unheard of! They were an option, of course, but they were usually a last resort or not taken seriously in the grand scheme.
Now, we can not imagine life without zoom meetings. The idea of sitting in a conference room seems like a waking nightmare! And we are not alone in our sentiments, reader: before the pandemic, less than 100 million people used zoom.
Today, that number has more than doubled.
But with classes and meetings and hearings all conducted over the net, your attendees can get lost in the humdrum of people’s voices and computer noise. Here are ways to improve engagement for your next virtual event of any kind!
Raffles, impromptu competition, pop quizzes, and more are all randomized elements you can introduce into your virtual events to make them more engaging for attendees. Random events can be inserted throughout the event at (obviously) random intervals to help keep viewers on their toes.
Random events do not need to involve prizes or physical incentives, but they certainly help. Speaking of which…
Physical components like gifts, relevant projects, reference materials, and more are all things that attendees can use to anchor themselves in the event. While staring at a screen, it is easy to lose sense of time and place and start to drift away in their minds. You can help prevent this by “grounding” them with physical objects. Better yet, even just the promise of a physical object like a stress ball or prize like crystal awards is enough to engage viewers in the process of what you are doing. You can entice your attendees’ attention back onto you throughout the event with this promise of physical reward as a lure.
Keeping viewers engaged is keeping them on their toes. Therefore, you want them to feel as though they must participate (in the fun!) or they will be left behind. And this is not a threat you have to make ad nauseum: the simple act of cordoning off smaller groups of people creates a sense of community in that small group.
From there, you can trust the small group to hold one another accountable. Attendees will likely feel more engaged in the discussions happening around them—or at least feel compelled to feign engagement—when there is a greater chance that attention will fall on them. And when groups are smaller, the more likely that attention will actually fall on them!
One of the unforeseen benefits of hosting events and teaching from home is the fact that you can now read off scripts or prepared material over the course of class or your presentation without raising eyebrows.
These days, it is actually more important than ever that your pacing is spot on when it comes to virtual presentations for this reason. Because you are able to have all of your resources at hand, there really is not a good reason to get it wrong. This added pressure is nothing to shake a stick at.
However, this is one of those things that is actually easier done than said! Pull up a script and then open your video dialogue in the next window. Then—you are all set! All of your prep work is preparing your speech or any talking beforehand.
That said, while this may seem like a lot of trouble, it both streamlines the act of actually delivering content to your attendees as well as impress them with your eloquence and preparedness.
Quick Moving Agenda
In the same vein of rehearsed speech, you will want to keep your presentation materials chugging along fairly quickly from the time you capture your audience’s attention. This is a good rule of thumb in any business: that is, engage the customer as soon as you possibly can.
Even in these uncertain times, viewers are impatient. They want their content delivered on their schedule and on time. To keep their attention on you and their minds open, avoid getting side tracked for long periods by banter and other distractions.
That said, these things are good in moderation and actually play into the element of surprised discussed earlier. If your audience is on their toes, they are listening!
Integrate Other Media
One of the most underutilized benefits of a more robust working-from-home culture is the ability to integrate other forms of media. Video and audio are two powerful mediums which are being used in their most boring¸ basic fashions.
Though the pandemic caught us off guard at first and left us scrambling for our events to come back (which they did, better than ever), it seems as though Duchess County residents are doing their duty to society.