Virtual events are becoming increasingly common for obvious reasons in 2020. Thankfully, even your least-tech-savvy customers have likely adopted technology now. It’s necessary to keep us connected. From virtual galas, to online shopping, to zoom calls, to customer meetings — 2020 has catapulted digital, live experiences into a new norm.
Whether you’re taking your hosting individual meetings with your customers, hosting webinars for the first time, or figuring out zoom meetings, here are 7 tips to engage your audience when you can’t be face to face.
- For large events, designate a tech point person. Your point person’s only job during the live event will be to moderate the meeting and run A/V, being ready to answer questions from your audience who can see, but not hear you. Your tech lead should not also be a presenter or PowerPoint pilot. They have enough to focus on — especially if your technology hiccups or even fails.
- Practice within the system. Conduct your dress rehearsal on the same technology platform where you’ll host the live event. Webcasting platforms are not identical. This gives your presenters the chance to learn the unique characteristics of the specific system.
- Email reminders. For a single webinar, send out reminders 24 hours and one hour ahead of the event. For larger virtual events, you may be able to send out email reminders with new information in each one: download the event app, here’s how to network, don’t forget to sign up for the raffle, etc. For individual meetings, a calendar invite is sufficient.
- Stick to the schedule. Respect your audience’s time! Deliver on what you promise. If you promoted a one hour event, it should last exactly an hour — no more, no less. (Of course, this goes for offline events, too!)
- Use live polls to engage your audience. Typically, about 60% of a B2B webinar attendees participates in the live polls. Not only will poll responses give you more information about your audience, it’s also a great way to keep them focused on your content (and not multitasking).
- Ask for feedback. Many webinar and event platforms include a survey tool. If yours doesn’t, it’s worth the extra effort to create a survey in an app like Survey Monkey. Feedback from your virtual events is crucial to create future content that engages.
- Press the record button. No matter the event type, it’s worth the extra click to record it. This recording can help your presenters brush up on their skills, remind attendees what was discussed, and, most importantly, be shared with people you invited who weren’t able to join live, so they don’t miss out.
I hope these tips help you to keep your audiences engaged in the age of COVID-19. I expect the popularity of virtual meetings and webinars to continue to increase in the post-pandemic era. As people continue to become more comfortable with the digital technology that connects us, they’ll concurrently become more comfortable with leveraging that same technology for business purposes — saving both time and money. And if there’s to be just one take away from 2020, isn’t it that we shouldn’t take our time for granted?