Three ways to create engaging virtual events in these challenging times

Third Sector Promotion Launch Interactions

While face-to-face events are currently on hold, we shouldn’t view this as a challenge but rather as an opportunity to engage and connect with our audiences in creative ways. Henry Hall and Jamie Hayes-Jones of Launch Interactions share their top tips for creating engaging virtual events

When you think of face-to-face events, what is it that attendees value the most? It’s the opportunity to come together, to collaborate, to learn and to have a good time. And that doesn’t have to change just because you’re delivering events virtually. You can still create meaningful experiences that replicate face-to-face interactions. Here’s how:

1. Be creative

The most obvious challenge is the physical one, in that events are no longer face-to-face in a physical place. So, how can we bring people together in a way that they can still socialise and have a good time? One creative solution to this physical challenge is to bring the event to the attendee’s home. 

Thinking about how the user attends the event is one of the most important things to consider.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada usually hosts a gala dinner for 300 people annually to raise funds. The challenge this year was how to get attendees to buy tickets when they’re not going to have a lovely three-course meal, with entertainment, in a fabulous venue. We replicated the live experience through having a live, virtual stream with an MC, who asked guests to move around virtual tables in teams where there were quizzes and a leaderboard to create a sense of competition. This sense of collaboration made it fun for the guests.

2. Advance your AV streaming

It’s in the planning stages of your event where you can let your creativity shine, but the most important aspect of your virtual event is in the delivery. Imagine planning a fantastic, immersive event only for your technology to let you down. Simple things like which browser you’re using can cause issues. Zoom is often viewed as a simple and easy way to run an online event, but if you really want to create a community, with engaging spaces, you need a platform that can do that. 

If you’re talking to an events supplier, really probe them as to how you can make your online event better, more professional and representative of your brand. Look into branding streaming software such as OBS and Vmix to help with this.

A successful online event is about being adaptable to the variables, such as multiple speakers joining from different broadcasting tools, various internet speeds and different streams running at the same time. Think about all the possible variables and plan for them to ensure your event runs smoothly. 

3. Remember that content is king

You may have invested in the best technology for your event but remember that content is king when it comes to engaging your audience. In order to not suffer from drop-offs, it’s so important to break up your sessions, make them shorter to keep attention spans, and include interactive elements to keep people engaged. And always remember to align your objectives, content and brand to maximise your event and ensure your attendees have the best experience possible.

Henry Hall is the Managing Director and Jamie Hayes-Jones is the Founder of Launch Interactions

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