By now, anyone would be shocked to hear that someone has never attended a virtual meeting or event. But, we might not be so shocked to hear that “it was just ok” or “that could’ve been said in an email”. We are finding that after months of moving events online, some are struggling to find ways to keep their content fresh and provide decent value to the attendees. It may require some out-of-the-norm thinking, but with proper use of technology and incorporation of quality education, a desirable and successful outcome is possible. 

Technology is more important now than ever for hosting engaging meetings and events. However, we are finding that even the best of the best blue light blocking glasses can’t prevent “screen exhaustion” and “zoom fatigue”. It can be challenging to even know where to start when beginning to plan, so start with an informative and user-friendly event website. The event website should be a resource for potential attendees to learn about the event and register. The website can include the event itinerary and communicate to potential participants the value in attending the virtual event. 

Pro tip for standing out: Be concise with the information on your website registration page. Someone should be able to figure out if this is a virtual meeting or event they want to attend within the first 60 seconds on your page. If your website is top notch, people will associate that with how your event will go.

Gaining participant interest and registration is an important first step, but keeping participants engaged with the use of technology once the event starts is even more important. So, sure the event team knows how to effectively use the technology. And if they don’t, hire someone! Nobody wants to join a virtual event and have to deal with the infamous “technical difficulties”. 

Pro tip for standing out: Make sure that there is powerful WiFi wherever the meeting, event, or presenter is streaming from. Although it would be nice in our personal lives to have a mute button, you don’t want a presenter’s mouth moving with the words lagging 2 seconds behind.

There are many new tools to provide a more “real” virtual experience. One of these being virtual reality. While this concept seems new to many of us, taking advantage of VR is not as difficult as it may seem. Give your attendees a tour of a museum or gamify a trade show floor using software. Take VR to another level by having event attendees create an avatar for themself that can walk around an event venue virtually to network or choose different breakout sessions they may be interested in.

Pro tip for standing out: Research new softwares or ways of live streaming. A screen share, although effective, is not always exciting anymore.

Since moving meetings and events online, it is a lot easier for an attendee to get up and walk away, or start working on something else. The point of your virtual meeting or event should not be to provide background noise to someone’s lunch hour. If that was true, our industry would be trending on Spotify Podcasts. Ultimately, you want engaged attendees that are learning something. If they feel as if they didn’t gain valuable knowledge, they will likely not be interested in attending future events with you. Try partnering with an educational institution or a highly valuable principal in the industry to add credibility to the event. 

Pro tip for standing out: Not only does your educational speaker affect the quality of the event, but also the uniqueness of the content they share. People want solutions without having to read between the lines. Find someone who is able to speak on a different angle than attendees have maybe heard before.

Written By: Kelly Pawlak