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Mastering Virtual Events: How to Make Sure Online Attendees Feel Like They’re at an “in-person” Event

March 31, 2022 No Comments

Featured article by Omer Aftab

virtual conference 300x170 Mastering Virtual Events: How to Make Sure Online Attendees Feel Like Theyre at an in person Event

Over the past few years we’ve all had our fair share of cancelled events turned into virtual events, and we have certainly all had at least one event that felt as remote as ever. So, with this in mind, let us take a look at how to make sure online attendees can feel more like in-person ones, to make sure that you’re not the one hosting the event everyone secretly wishes was just cancelled.

Keep it relevant

This applies in two ways: keep it relevant to the current circumstances, and also relevant in that your attendees are getting what they signed up for.

You might find that the coronavirus pandemic is the reason that your event is online and if so, mention this. This does not mean that every event has to be purely about the pandemic, but show that you’re aware of the circumstances being less than ideal, and make it clear that you’ve done all you can to ensure engagement.

Similarly, don’t make the entire event about coronavirus – we’ve all heard enough of it by now. Just mention it and then deliver the content as you normally would.

Ensure the timing is right

You don’t need to overcompensate and drag your event on for three or four hours because you don’t feel your attendees are receiving the full experience. Similarly to the previous point, ensure the content is relevant and direct enough to keep your audience’s attention, without providing an opportunity for them to catch up on their sleep.

Speaking of timing, virtual events have more flexibility in their timing than in-person events do. Consider this when thinking about which day and what time to host your event. Nobody wants to attend a work-related event at 5pm on a Friday, but 2pm on a Monday afternoon might work.

Consider your platform

Before deciding on the first video conferencing service you find, do your research and pay close attention what devices your attendees will be using and will be able to access. When it comes to driving customer engagement with webinars,it’s vital that your event is hosted on a platform that is simple to use, offers multiple streaming sites, and so on, depending on your personal needs.

If the event is a formal, professional one, you’d be better off considering a paid specialist service instead of relying on a free platform. If it’s an informal event, however, something like Facebook Live may better suit your needs.

Involve your attendees 

Perhaps the most obvious point of all is to involve those attending the event! You need to incentivise people to continue watching and inviting them to participate in some way is the perfect way to do this. Interaction is naturally encouraged on social media platforms but if you’re using a paid service take the time to work out ways to involve your attendees. This might be through asking for questions, screening polls or inviting comments whilst you’re hosting.

In person, attendees would make comments and watch each other’s facial expressions, so try to simulate this as best you can in your virtual event.

And there you have it – everything you need to know to begin ensuring that your online events replicate the feel of in-person ones.  

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