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Virtual Events Engagement 101 [or how to increase attendee’s engagement on online conferences]

Posted on 05/11/2020

In COVID-19 times, many event professionals started taking their events to the virtual world. The question is: how to create compelling activities for your audience to increase virtual events engagement?

How not to lose his attention to e-mails, the internet or even family members? Remote participation in events is becoming more viable every day. Technological advances that make their costs cheaper. With it, the figure of virtual events emerges. And that brings together not only the physically present participants, but also the virtual ones.

However, it is not enough to guarantee a live transmission of lectures and debates. For increased virtual events engagement, it will be necessary to invest in planning to guarantee a satisfactory experience.

Technology companies have already adopted this strategy partially or in full, with the live broadcast of opening presentations. Last year, Facebook estimated that it reached 1 million people in its broadcasts from its developer conference, F8, as we already told on the blog.

Other sectors are also starting to join, such as the Global Finance & Credit Conference & Expo, to be held in August. Participants will either be able to go to Chicago, where the program takes place, or virtually. As the event’s own website highlights, it is an opportunity to broaden horizons, since exhibitors and sponsors from several countries are expected, including Brazil.


Focus on the participant ensures successful virtual events engagement

Even though they are far away, the virtual participants deserve no less attention than their companions present at the programming site. On the contrary, your attention can be even more difficult to maintain, as occurs on the internet itself. Therefore, one of the foundations of successful event planning lies in improving the experience of those who attend the event virtually.


1. Online requires even more planning

Just as you plan on the participant’s journey that is physically present, you will also need to assess how to make the virtual experience equally interesting.

These participants need to be as engaged as the rest. One of the fundamental steps in this direction is to designate and train facilitators and hosts. These guys are key when of virtual events engagement and how to keep attendance of participants high.


2. Promote the use of technology

The integrated platforms for events already provide, by themselves, a virtual environment, in addition to allowing live transmission and questions to live speakers. In addition, apps for events include networking tools, which eliminates one of the main objections to virtual events – the lack of physical interaction between participants.


3. Have the right infrastructure

The management of virtual events requires special attention to infrastructure. Image and sound quality are essential, especially the latter. There will be no use for an excellent speaker if you cannot hear him.

Likewise, it is necessary to guarantee a stable internet bandwidth for the transmissions and the additional traffic that will be generated by the interaction with the participants.


4. Pay attention to detail

Not all presentations and / or programming items are suitable for virtual events. A good example are slide shows in rooms without lighting, which will require more sophisticated technologies for transmission.

Items such as the number of cameras, the speakers’ costumes (prints and stripes should be avoided, for example) and the maintenance of the transmission, to avoid “whites” in the program are details that can harm the experience if they are not taken into account.


5. Make previous tests

Virtual events requires a prior assessment of the conditions of transmission and audio. So that the transmission occurs without surprises. Make sure that AV positions the cameras well, for example.

Speakers will also need to be integrate their-selves into the management of virtual events to fully understand the requirements of this new reality. If there is time for rehearsals with the speakers themselves, so much the better.


6. Respect the schedules

This can be one of the most complicated items in the management of virtual events. As experienced organizers know, incidents do occur and it is not always possible to keep the schedule on schedule.

However, this can be a discouraging fact for virtual participants. Filling the waiting period with relevant content is a way of maintaining engagement, as well as making the content available later on the event website.


7. Ensure feedback from participants

For greater engagement, keep in mind that virtual participants need to have feedback and interaction mechanisms with participants. You can achieve it through your event app.

Also, other channels can also be included, such as social media. Virtual participation can also be extended to those present at the event site, through screens that transmit what is happening in other places.

The management of virtual events engagement foresees new approaches beyond what is already traditional, but they can also bring compensations. Your audience will have great potential for expansion beyond the physical limitations of the location.

New opportunities for exchanging experiences and learning are created for both you and your participants – and, after all, that’s what events are for, isn’t it?



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