Do you have an upcoming event that you need to host online? Hosting a virtual event can have many benefits – and it can be just as engaging and effective as an in-person event. It’s crucial to keep in mind from the beginning that your event is virtual. Here’s how to make your virtual event interactive and engaging.
Many people use interactive occasions for networking, engaging with clients, hosting activities with their remote team, and virtual team-building.
However, some event planners make the mistake of trying to imitate an in-person experience. Maybe you thought this was what you’re supposed to do to make it fun and engaging. Yet, this idea sets you up for an unimpactful experience.
First, it sets the stage for false expectations for attendees. Second, it makes the event host think of all the constraints rather than new opportunities.
So, here’s a look at some fun ways to make your virtual event interactive.
Hold Virtual Team-Building Exercises
Small businesses sometimes miss out on opportunities to build trusting relationships. Some 65% of remote employees say they’ve never had a team-building session. Virtual team-building allows for bonding experiences and many more benefits.
So, consider making it interactive by hosting a virtual escape room. Virtual escape rooms allow your team to go through a series of rooms to solve puzzles and murder mysteries. It’s a great challenge for participants to enhance their team-building skills. Plus, you can complete most escape rooms within an hour over Zoom.
Virtual Magic Show
What if you could get the skeptics and even the introverts to sit forward in their seats with eyes wide open? An online magic show hosted by a Zoom magician is a great way to make your virtual event interactive. While magic shows are loads of fun, it’s also a chance for your team to get to know one another.
Virtual events like these can remind attendees that because they’re not in-person, they can still be in it together, working towards a common goal. As a result, the entire team can remain connected on a whole other level.
Incorporate Quizzes and Questionnaires in Advance
Depending on the type of online event, you can allow your registrants to submit questions they’d like answers to during the event. This type of idea is perfect for webinars and social livestreams.
Another simple yet effective way to encourage participation is to include live polls and a Q&A session. The speakers and attendees can interact with each other, which turns out to be beneficial for both sides. Q&A sessions can occur before, during, and after the event to learn more about topic discussions and the speakers.
Moreover, you can encourage attendees to ask the most intriguing questions. Whoever does a fantastic job can receive prizes after the live event. For instance, you could have a food-and-drink-themed quiz and then send smoked meats or a cookie basket – prizes anyone can appreciate – to the winner.
While these interactions help the speaker counteract audience fatigue, they also help them remain connected rather than talking into a void.
Quizzes and questionnaires are a quick and easy approach to engage with the team. However, it also generates interest and anticipation as attendees look out for the speaker to present their questions.
Encourage Conversation in the Chatbox
When organizing your virtual event, helps to choose a platform with a chatbox feature. Chatting during the live event enables attendees to interact with the host and other attendees.
Plus, you might be surprised to see how much chatting can actually go on during a virtual event. When you think about it, it even gives introverted members a chance to engage – especially since in-person events can be challenging for them.
Either way, most people feel more comfortable with online chatting, so this can be an excellent opportunity to get those members to engage with others.
Set Up a Networking Event
Networking is the key to making connections and meeting new people in your industry. However, it gets increasingly difficult to meet various people in-person. That’s why a virtual networking event is a perfect way to get to know different people you otherwise wouldn’t meet face-to-face.
Consider hosting an online conference where small-business owners can get together and freely discuss specific topics. Virtual networking events are the best way to build connections and meet a broad range of people. Plus, they make it easy to interact with others since each person’s name is on display at all times.
Insert Live Tweets
If your audience uses Twitter, have them tweet about the event. For one, tweets can make the company and event known. Plus, it’s easy.
If you have one of those “aha” moments while speaking, consider inserting a slide with the Twitter icon followed by the big takeaway. Maybe it’s an inspirational quote or a surprising statistic. If it’s interesting in any way, encourage people to share it on social media.
Host a Virtual Workshop
If you’re planning an online workshop, make it fun and interactive by splitting members into groups. Virtual workshops that have “breakout rooms” or “breakout sessions” give team members a chance to ideate with each other in small groups. This idea works well because it focuses on driving engagement and allows people to know one another.
You could also consider hosting a virtual icebreaker. This is where you can get everyone to take turns and share something intriguing about themselves. Or they could give a quick tour of their homes and share funny icebreaker questions.
While icebreakers are fun to include, they also ease your audience into the event and make them feel welcome.
Making Your Virtual Event Interactive
While it might seem tricky to host a virtual event that makes people want to pay attention, you have plenty of options to make it fun and interactive. A virtual atmosphere can present its own obstacles — particularly when keeping attendees motivated and engaged. However, the types of activities listed above should give you a good idea of how to make your next virtual event memorable.
Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, and she enjoys keeping up with the exciting world of event planning and hospitality. Follow Cora on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for more life, style and home inspiration.