Let’s face it, virtual events are going to be here for a while and are probably going to be a big part of our future. Although platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout (the list could go on) are fantastic and have given us the opportunity to communicate with one another ‘face to face’ during lockdown, they also run risk of becoming tiresome. Video chat is helping us stay employed and connected but what can we do to reduce Zoom fatigue?
Drawing from our experiences and using feedback we have received off the back of our online events we’ve put together a few of our tips to help make virtual events more engaging and worthwhile.
As human beings we can be pretty understanding. We also appreciate things don’t always go as planned. This has become more evident during lockdown when we’ve had to adapt to new ways of working and new technology. You can’t prepare for every situation, but as long as you have quality content, then a few hiccups along the way shouldn’t matter too much. Make sure your presenter is enthusiastic and you are prepared to take over should someone’s internet cut out. It’s still important to test your tech beforehand, but if on the day something goes wrong just stay calm and find a way around it.
By breaking off into smaller groups it gives attendees the opportunity to interact with each other rather than just sitting back and simply watching the show. It also helps to keep the event engaging if everyone gets a bit of screen time and the opportunity to introduce themselves. It’s much harder to do this on a larger scale and can take up quite a bit of time so if you can, try smaller groups of people. Zoom allows you to create rooms which you can then assign attendees to at some point during the event. You could decide to give the groups a topic of conversation or simply give them some time to chat amongst themselves.
Content is still king in the online event world, it’s just important to mix it up to keep it engaging. It’s easier to switch off behind a screen or when you are sitting in the comfort of your own home so in order to make your event successful it might be worthwhile breaking up the agenda. Create a game plan before you start which outlines what you want to cover during the event and throw in something fun people will remember. We already know we need to make time for networking but why not try an ice breaker, Q&A session or a short quiz. Gamification techniques are a fantastic way to excite attendees beforehand and get them to invite a friend along. We held a live recipe demonstration during one of our events which went down well.
It’s important to remember that whilst virtual events are a great alternative there are differences and our attention span online can be much shorter when we are sitting in front of a screen at home. Don’t try and make an event an hour long if it doesn’t need to be, but at the same time try not to cram everything in. If you can it’s always nice to finish a little earlier so that everyone gets a bit of their time back.
Whether it’s during the event or sending a survey out afterwards, it’s helpful to receive feedback in order to improve future events. Also, by reaching out it may spark some new ideas for things you could change or add to your event, you hadn’t thought of before. Where you can, make sure you adjust the event accordingly so that attendees feel that giving you feedback was worthwhile. If you can’t make a change perhaps communicate why at the next event so that they don’t think their input was just disregarded. It is important attendees get the most they can out of your events. Asking for feedback is one of the easiest ways to tailor them around their needs and doesn’t take much time or effort from both parties.
James also put together his top 3 tips for when you are presenting:
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