If you have participated in virtual events before, you know that not all are created equal. For various reasons, some are a big hit while others….not so much. Most virtual events, while informative, have a greater purpose of selling a particular product or service. The events that are successful are the ones that go on to have a better return on investment. What makes a virtual event a success? Well, there are numerous pieces that when combined together, make a virtual event great. However, if you think back on your own experiences you will see a trend. The virtual events that kept you hooked and engaged are the ones that have the biggest impact.

So how do you keep an audience engaged when they are spread out all over the country or globe? While it is challenging to read an audience you can’t see, there are several ways to ensure audience engagement.

1. Prepare a Visually Pleasing Presentation

With today’s technology there is no reason to stick to the boring tradition of PowerPoint slides. Sure they are easy, familiar, and convenient; but do they really make the right statement? Probably not. This does not mean you can’t use slides. Just make sure they are vibrant and interesting. If you are sticking to a simple background, bullet points, and an image, you are doing it wrong. Enlist the help of a graphic designer and let them turn your boring bullet point slides into an infographic or other visually pleasing display.

If you are interested in skipping the slides altogether, there are several presentation software options out there to help you create visually appealing and interactive presentations for your virtual event. For example, Wideo allows you to integrate slides with quality animations. Prezi is another presentation software that allows you to create interactive presentations even if you have no design experience.

2. Give Your Attendees Options to Interact

It is hard to keep an audience engaged when they have no way to voice their opinions or interact with the presenter. For this reason your virtual event should incorporate widgets such as polling, Q&As, surveys, chats, and more. Use online polls or surveys to ask compelling questions on important or controversial topics. Make sure your widget shows the tabulated results on the screen for all attendees to see. Attendees should also be able to easily ask questions. Instead of addressing these questions at the end of your virtual event, consider answering them as they are asked to give the presentation a more conversational feel.

3. Incorporate a Surprise into Your Virtual Event

Nothing will bring a straying audience back like announcing an unexpected surprise. Some surprises you can incorporate into your virtual event are:

  • Offering up a giveaway
  • Pulling an influential person into the conversation that you did not announce
  • Showing live comments streaming from your virtual event’s social media feeds
  • Giving away a “secret” tip or piece of invaluable information

By keeping your virtual audience on their toes, you are assured that they stay with you throughout the entire presentation.

4. Include a Panel Discussion

Virtual events can often seem pretty one sided, even with various widgets in place. A great way to create a more spirited and engaged virtual experience for your attendees is to include a panel discussion. This will allow a group of experts to discuss a subject and provide their own opinions in a more conversational setting. Remember, you don’t want this to be a podcast, so make sure the discussion includes webcams so each presenter is displayed on the screen.

5. Use Gamification Techniques to Increase Engagement

Gamification is the process of using the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to non-gaming contexts. Virtual events provide a great opportunity to apply various gamification techniques. For example, you can have your virtual audience participate in various activities throughout your event such as surveys, polls, quizzes, puzzles, trivia, and more. For each correct answer, or participation, the attendee gains points. At the end of the virtual event, the person with the most points wins a prize.

If you want your virtual events to meet your goal ROI, it is important to spend the time to think creatively during the planning process in order to implement strategies your virtual audience will appreciate. Have some great ideas, but not sure how to implement them? Worktank is here to help! Complete our contact form or call 1.877.975.8265 to learn how we can incorporate your creative ideas into your next virtual event.

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