At this point, we’ve all been to the virtual event that might as well have been a pre-recorded Youtube video. While the infamous Video Sharing Platform has some pretty awesome content, if that’s all people were craving, they could go to... well… Youtube.
The Magic of a Shared Experience
You want more for your team, right? That’s why you are here! Your aim is for people to create memories together, meet someone new, or learn new things about their colleagues that allows them to see each other as humans, not another slack icon. Or maybe your hard working, bicoastal team deserves to let loose, have some laughs, and take an hour away from their inboxes. Whatever your goal may be for your event, it all comes down to being present and making memories together.
That's the magic of a shared experience. You have to be there to feel it.
First, how are we defining engagement?
- Lively conversations/activity in chat
- Discovering new things about one another
- High retention rate from starting attendance number to finishing attendance.
- Videos on and full of smiling, laughing, singing, beautiful faces
After producing and curating 500+ virtual events for over 20,000 people in the past 18 months below are a few of the key elements that we find helps create an engaging virtual event.
- Host Personality!
The most important factor is the authentic personality leading the experience. This is your magician, your mixologist instructor, your painting instructor, or your pizza chef. Is this someone you would want to be with on a cross-country road trip? That’s how we think about it. They keep the conversation flowing, you always leave learning some new trick, and you often look up and ask how time flies by so fast. The instructor's personality is everything on a virtual event and with the right hosts, you can forget that you are even on Zoom in the first place.
- Engage early in the event and often!
Your host should get back and forth participation early in the event. This could be asking all participants to grab something laying around their house, this could be encouraging folks to turn on their webcams and to clap above the camera to get some energy lifted, or this could be simply asking folks where is everyone tuning in from.
- Bake engagement into the DNA of the event!
Involve your audience - the best events have engagement baked into the experience. In the context of a magic show it’s bringing a different person onto the virtual stage to take part in each trick, in trivia it’s putting folks in breakout rooms and having them answer trivia questions, in a virtual concert encourage audience engagement with a live request-driven show with multiple entertainers on the other side that can play off of each other's energy to set the mood at home.