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6.5 Essential Techniques Virtual Event Leaders Need to Master


IT’S TOUGH KEEPING AN AUDIENCE ENGAGED DURING VIRTUAL EVENTS. HERE’S HOW TO DO IT RIGHT.Previously, we discussed what you need to do PRIOR to your Virtual Event in order to keep the enthusiasm high. The following tips will KEEP your audience engaged and excited through the duration of your event.

KEEP ATTENDEES ENGAGED DURING YOUR EVENT.1) Set Them Up for Success: Post obviously located tabs on your welcome page to help guests navigate easily throughout their experience. Tabs such as:
• “Start Here” tab: Create a step-by-step list on how guests can get the most out of their experience. i.e.
– Step 1: Create Your Profile. Click this link to get started.
– Step 2: Earn Points. Complete these 3 tasks to start earning points.
– Step 3: Start Networking…
• “FAQ” tab: with content such as, how does XYZ work, “How to reset my password,” “Will I get a copy of the presentations I attend?”, “How long will this event stay open?”, etc.
• “Live Support” tab: people need access to immediate live support that is offline from the “main” event conversations. Encourage those items to go to a different channel, and have staff dedicated to handling these, etc.

2) Keep it Short (and on Schedule!): Be sure to keep your sessions as short and concise as possible, and include a bio-break about every 2 hours.
• Keep sessions to about 20-30 minutes.
• A keynote speaker can be 60 minutes, IF their content allows.

PRO TIP: During breaks make sure your moderator/host keeps everyone updated on when the next session will start, i.e. “…we will be starting our next session in 10 minutes…”

3) Networking: Help your guests get connected to the right people.
• One of the features we provide our clients, starts matching people as soon as the attendee registers. Our analytical tools scrape user-entered data to help guide professional matching, and will alert the parties why they should connect. Give attendees points for each connection, so there is incentive for them to fill out the requested data.
• Block out a short period of time prior to the opening ceremony for people to network via small break out room (much like a live face-to-face event).
• Host a photo wall – ask people to post a picture of themselves on the photo wall: a) with the background indicating where they are from, b) wearing an article of clothing representing their favorite sports team, c) with your product.

4) Prizes: “Must be present to win.”
• Once the attendee’s name is called as the winner, give your attendee 2 minutes to privately chat the administrator. Otherwise, another name is called.
• This keeps people actively engaged.

EXTEND YOUR EVENT FOR THOSE WHO STILL WANT MORE: Some of your guests may still be hungry for more interaction and/or content. Keep in mind, most people have personal obligations to tend to after working hours. So, if your main program ends after normal business hours, you’ll need to provide something highly engaging for your after-event extras. For example:

5) Happy Hour BINGO: BINGO is one of the easiest games, and everyone knows how to play.
• You’ll need a super engaging host who can keep the audience laughing and having fun
• The BINGO cards should be sent in the “swag bag” upon registering
• The winner is the first person who chats they have BINGO and provides proof privately with the on-line moderator

6) “Personal” Q&A’s with a Keynote Speaker: Host a private 30-minute video call where your keynote speaker takes live questions.
• Assign one of your staff members as the virtual room moderator
• Limit to 10 people so it’s engaging and personal

PRO TIP: Host more than one of these sessions. The virtual world loses some intimacy when compared to in-person events. By holding a few of these exclusive sessions, your guests have a fabulous opportunity to be seen and heard in an almost 1-on-1 atmosphere with a highly sought-after speaker.

6.5) Personal” Q&A’s with an Author: Same idea as 6, but this time, book an intimate video Q&A with a popular author related to your event or industry.

PRO TIP: Ask your author to sign a few copies of their book and send them to the attendees of this small group session. Every time they look at the book, they will think of your event.
I know most of you are new to the virtual world and thinking of ways to keep your audience engaged is daunting. We’re here to help make it easy.


About the Author

Heather Bundgaard is a Custom Virtual Event and Trade Show Display Account Manager at Skyline TradeTec, located in Lombard, Illinois. Her marketing career started over 25 years ago with a focus on trade show planning and execution. Heather's current role allows her to work with various companies and industries on their custom virtual and physical trade show needs: from design, to implementation, to post-event analyzing, to asset management. Heather strives to provide supreme customer experience in order to relieve her clients of stress and wasted time.

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