10 ways to increase the attendance and engagement of your virtual attendees
- Keep sessions brief and to the point
- Quality over Quantity
- Include Simu-Live & Recorded Media
- Schedule Event Sessions to Accommodate the Most Popular Time Zones
- Multiple Chat Rooms
- Breakout Sessions & Asynchronous Learning
- Small Roundtable Discussions
- Breaks for Mindfulness & Exercise
- Run the Meeting Over Several Consecutive Days
- Free Stuff!
1. Keep sessions brief and to the point
With the ability to multitask online or sign off at any time, you can’t expect too long of an attention span out of your virtual attendees. It is likely that they are sitting at home or in their office, visiting your virtual event for a couple hours in between other meetings and daily work tasks. If you keep sessions under an hour and highly specialized, you are far more likely to keep your attendees’ attention. We recommend not having more than 4 one-hour sessions per day.
2. Quality over Quantity
Just like our first tip, you have to assume that your attendees can and will log off if they are uninterested in the content of your event. We recommend focusing on highly-curated, high-production value content that truly adds to the experience.
A large reason why people like Virtual Events is because of their efficiency - stay true to that. Be efficient and mindful of people’s time. Curate content that is chock-full of information. Curate speakers who are highly regarded in your industry. And most of all - rehearse your presentations to ensure that your content and delivery are well worth people’s time and attention.
3. Include Simu-Live & Recorded Media
A great way to keep the attention span of your audience is to switch up the type of media they are engaging with. Simu-Live presentations are presentations that have already been recorded, and the presenter is monitoring the chatrooms, polls and audience engagement in real-time. Simu-Live recordings are great because you can really nail down the delivery of the content and take time to edit the presentation to ensure it’s effective and interesting.
You should also consider playing videos during your presentation. You can create your own videos or source videos from online that complement the topic you are going over. Playing video content at the beginning of your presentation can be a great way to hook people’s attention. Playing video content in the middle of your presentation can help re-engage people who may be losing attention. And playing video content at the end can be a great way to wrap up your presentation and make your delivery memorable.
4. Schedule Event Sessions to Accommodate the Most Popular Time Zones
One of the greatest parts about virtual events is their accessibility and inclusivity across time zones, departments, industries, etc. If you have an internet connection, you should be able to register for and attend Virtual Events. A difficulty with this, however, is accommodating people’s schedules in different time zones.
You will want to be conscientious of where the majority of your attendees will be tuning in from. You will want to schedule events for midday for those attendees. It will be impossible to schedule events to be optimal for everyone’s schedules, which is why you should always gather data on your attendees, implement feedback surveys and A/B test which times work best for the most people.
5. Multiple Chat Rooms
Implementing chat rooms is one of the biggest ways to keep attendees engaged and participating in the day’s events in real-time. If you have a large audience, it can be helpful to have multiple chat rooms happening consecutively. They can each be focused on a different topic.
Some examples of specific chat room topics:
Q&A with the presenter
Tech support & technical questions
General comments on the topic
Resources & links to more information
6. Breakout Sessions & Asynchronous Learning
Breakout sessions, or breakout rooms, allow attendees to participate in more specific learning modules and have more control over their own virtual learning experience.
Breakout sessions will have designated topics and speakers. They emulate the feeling of a trade show or conference, where there is both a main room and event, but also different rooms and sessions for people to attend at their own liberty. This form of a breakout session is great if you want to give your audience members more control over their learning experience and allow them to choose the specific tracks that interest them.
7. Small Roundtable Discussions
This can be considered another type of breakout session, but one that is used for collaboration, real-time feedback and attendee participation. After a keynote presentation, you can organize audience members into breakout sessions to allow for small group discussions to re-cap what they just listened to, exchange thoughts and information and network with each other.
8. Breaks for Mindfulness & Exercise
Humans can only sit still & be engaged for so long. Research shows that sprinkling in time for mindfulness & exercise throughout the work day can actually lead to more productivity and longer attention spans and general happiness - and at the end of the day, you want your attendees to be happy, right?
Consider having someone lead event attendees through a mindfulness practice or short yoga sequence. If you don’t have someone on hand, you can always play a youtube video. Whether people are actually participating in the mindfulness and exercise experience, or taking a few minutes to step away from their screens, allotting time for breaks & downtime will increase general satisfaction with your event.
9. Run the Meeting Over Several Consecutive Days
The Virtual Event world is coming to find that scheduling meetings over several consecutive days, for up to 4 hours a day, is optimal for registrations and attendance over time. Keeping the days short, yet consecutive, is effective for attention spans but also continuity and consistency. Each day you will keep your audience’s attention, and also keep up the momentum with their engagement.
10. Free Stuff!
Never, ever, underestimate the power of SWAG and free stuff! This is one way to “humanize” your virtual event experience and emulate that of an in-person event. We recommend sending out “experience boxes” - your attendees to open certain items during certain parts of the event. If this takes up too many resources, consider partnering with a drop-shipping company to deliver t-shirts, mugs, or any work-from-home essentials with your logo and branding on it to your attendees. One thing better than free stuff is getting free stuff delivered right to your doorstep.
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you are seeking out a highly capable and interactive event platform, or are looking for more virtual event advice, reach out to us at BeaconLive.