If you’re not seasoned in hosting virtual events, you may be worried about holding your attendees’ attention. After all, they aren’t sitting in front of you in a conference room, but instead behind a computer at home. Here are some ways to keep virtual attendees engaged:
Having a chat pod as part of your virtual event allows you to ask a question to the audience and have them reply in real time – and also to one another. It could be as simple as “Where are you located?” which could result in numerous people finding out they live in the same small town in Wisconsin. This allows for a bit of a human element and connection and can be used throughout the rest of the session.
Polling can work in a similar way to an icebreaker question – polls can be a great way to kick off a virtual event and get the audience engaged. However, as opposed to a general question being discussed in a chat pod, you get results delivered that immediately provide insight into who your audience is. We recommend having a few polling questions throughout your presentation, if appropriate.
A “guest presenter” could mean many things. This could be someone completely splitting the presentation time with you, or someone to come in and share a story or some information for 5-10 minutes. Another idea is having this guest presenter provide additional moderation or asked planned questions throughout the presentation. Any of these scenarios can help make the presentation more engaging when you’re unable to gather feedback from the audience in a face-to-face scenario.
While you may not be face-to-face with your audience, that doesn’t mean they won’t have questions! Just as you may ask them an icebreaker or polling questions, encourage them to ask questions throughout your presentation! Depending on the platform you are using, you can typically decide if you want the questions to be visible to the entire audience or just to you.
Video is typically helpful in keeping people engaged. Whether that is just video of the person or people presenting, or incorporating short videos into your presentation, there are multiple ways to use video during a presentation (incorporating short videos in a presentation doesn’t just have to happen while we’re talking virtual – you may want to consider that for your face-to-face events when it makes sense too!).
Rather than covering a step-by-step process or lesson when people join your session, have attendees view on-demand content prior so that when they join you live event, they are ready with questions, feedback and takeaways, providing for a richer discussion.
If you’re familiar with a KWL chart, it stands for:
The idea is what your attendees would comment under the “K” and “W” sections at the beginning of the presentation. This encourages participation and engagement and also can help the attendee feel like they have a hand in what they’re going to be learning. At the end of the presentation have attendees comment under the “L” section.
There you have it! These are just 7 ways to help keep your virtual events engaging – there are indeed other ideas and methods out there, and a lot of the time what works can come down to your specific event – things like the size, length, and content can all have an impact. Have an idea you want to share? Comment below!