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How to create virtual events people are excited to attend

We’ve all been there, we’ve all experienced it before, we might even be guilty of doing it to others. Death by PowerPoint.

A dull presentation can turn a virtual event into a big flop. It’s all too easy for people to leave or do something else entirely while leaving your event on mute. So how do you keep an audience that could be 1000 of kms away, interested and focused on your event and not the TV or that Facebook post?

In our podcast ‘create connect communicate’ we talked to professional media consultant, Denise Naughton, who shared some suggestions on how to create an event that will keep your audience interested and engaged.

Give it some polish and production value

Don’t treat your presentations like a Zoom call, organise them more like a TV production. Turn it into an interactive broadcast – put together a studio and have a proper set.

Think about TED talks. They are hugely popular and engaging because not only do they have excellent speakers but they also have a stage where you can see the speaker and their presentation, they have intro music and a proper camera set up.

Giving your event a production value can help keep viewers engaged, as it’s a lot more interesting when there are good visuals to go with the audio. It can help them feel like they are attending an event and not just another Zoom meeting.

Bring in the big guns

Which leads into the next point: you need to have speakers that are interesting and engaging. Make sure that staff speakers are well trained and try to include guest speakers and MCs.

TV shows have star power. Including guest stars, such as personalities, experts or even podcasters or influencers, gives your audience a reason to watch beyond the information your company is offering.

But just adding any celebrity is not a good idea – it might end up being a bit tone deaf. Rather try to get guest speakers that are relevant or subject matter experts, that are entertaining as well. Seeing that a favourite speaker is presenting can help draw in people.

Connect with your audience

Don’t miss out on the unique opportunities virtual events offer for engagement. Things like tweets and polls can be analysed and responded to during the presentation. You can ask questions and get poll results almost instantly. This allows you to share insights and create a community out of the audience; it can help them feel like they are learning not just from you but their peers as well.

Connect them with each other

You can also connect your audience with each other. One of the main reasons people attend events is to network with other professionals. There are different ways to connect and help attendees network at a virtual event. As cvent.com[1] suggests, you can connect and group up attendees for things such as virtual happy hour and provide them with goals and activities to get to know each other.

Don’t forget the fun

It’s still a great opportunity to get to know your clients and attendees. People still love to get different kinds of free promotional items, referred to as swag[2] (stuff we all get), at events. Host games and activities or opportunities for them to win or earn swag. Send them physical swag to their mail boxes or even hand out virtual ones, for example courses or free trials. This can all lead to your event being more memorable and successful.

Go for engagement!

Whether you are treating your virtual event like a TV show or hiring a guest star, the most important goal is creating a memorable and engaging experience for your attendees. By making an event that is engaging in some way[3] you create experiences that feel like an actual event and not just another Teams meeting.

Contact us for more ideas on how to make your virtual event something your customers will remember while maximizing your ROI.

 

 

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Posted by
Nancy van Heesewijk 
on September 8, 2021

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