A virtual event can easily lack immersion and emotion. However, these criteria are key success factors. In addition, interactions are very limited on a digital event. After a year of health crisis, we are all experiencing “Zoom fatigue”! Indeed, these devices require a permanent effort to maintain one’s attention, a requirement of concentration that one is not always ready to provide! Let’s review the conditions for a successful virtual event …
What is a virtual event?
A digital event is an event accessible via the internet. It brings together people in distance interacting in a virtual environment vs a physical place. We also speak of a digital or 2.0 event.
What are the events that can be digitized?
Almost all events can be:
- From convention to seminar;
- Through the conference, the corporate evening and the fashion show;
- But also the open day, the inauguration …
To find out more, click here: The different types of virtual events.
Advantages and limits of a digital event
A 2.0 event has several advantages:
- Benefit from a greater reach and audience than face-to-face – especially internationally;
- Reduce the carbon footprint by limiting travel in particular;
- Obtain data to measure the performance of the event.
Conversely, the experience offered may be limited and lose emotion and closeness.
Why does a digital event limit the immersion of participants?
What are the important factors to consider when organizing a virtual event?
Strong tendency to disperse alone in front of his screen
It takes an average of 12 minutes of concentration on a task in front of his screen for an adult.
And there are many stimuli to get distracted: smartphone notifications, receipt of an email, slamming door, multitasking …
Feeling of not being watched
When you attend a physical event, even if you are bored, you cannot get up and go.
Conversely, alone in front of his screen, there is no constraint to let go of the thread of conversations if you are bored.
Lack of an on-site audience
An event without an audience limits the impression of “participation”. Thus, this feeling restricts the importance given to the event.
Lack of a common place
The lack of a unifying physical place prevents participants from anchoring the event in memories.
Partial presence of other participants
The lack of proximity to the assistance and the usual social micro-signals generates a lack of sensoriality. Therefore, this deprivation produces a passivity that impacts attention.
Immobility imposed by screens
In addition to the “Zoom fatigue” syndrome, the camera focused on the faces limits the integration of the information received. And staring at someone all the time requires very close attention.
As we can see, on a virtual event, attention is at the heart of the subject.
This is why the stake of a digital event is twofold:
- Capture the attention of participants on a digital meeting;
- Maintain this attention and make them want to participate until the end.
How do you capture and maintain the attention of participants online?
1 – Organize your digital event on a TV set
A 2.0 meeting without a physical location or audience limits immersion. On the other hand, organizing it on a TV set succeeds in anchoring your event, because this TV studio gives the audience the impression of being immersed in a real universe.
A TV set offers opportunities for scenic decoration and digital scenography:
- You can match it according to the format of your event: cozy living room with comfortable sofa and armchairs, TV newspaper-style tray with desk and high stools, kitchen fitted out for a program like at home…;
- This decor in connection with the image of the company will give an atmosphere to your digital event;
- These scenes can be personalized with the colors and identity of the company;
- They are also renewed according to the content and the speakers.
In this way, this rhythm and this setting rekindle the interest and attention of participants throughout the event.
In some video meetings, the camera remains focused on the faces and thus generates weariness and disinterest.
A TV set offers professional equipment. And, by offering a multitude of camera shots, streaming is more dynamic and rhythmic.
A quality image and sound also facilitate the monitoring of interventions.
Thus, a TV set participates in the experience of the online audience.
2 – Design your business virtual event like a TV show
A virtual event is not a simple copy and paste of a physical event. Therefore, it is important to give rhythm to the event to maintain the attention of the participants.
What device to provide to clock it:
- Video and sound dressing to structure the unfolding with jingle, credits, transition, synths;
- Breakdown of the event into different sections to boost the achievement;
- Relatively short sequences and multiple subjects;
- Breaks to plan to give the public the opportunity to manage obligations for example. In this way, the audience “absorbs” the content better;
- Speakers with high added value – Schedule the most famous speakers at the end of the event;
- Presence of a facilitator to give fluidity and energy to the interventions.
This presenter also helps to encourage participants to take action. Indeed, they may not permanently stare at the screen, but most certainly listen to the exchanges. The facilitator will thus be able to “reintegrate” them into the event.
3 – Offer content that captures attention
12 minutes is the time to concentrate in front of a screen. It is therefore necessary to provide suitable content to attract and maintain everyone’s attention.
In addition, some audiences are part of the zapping generation who need to be constantly stimulated. Used to jumping from one content to another, they need to be “fed” with a variety of content.
And don’t forget that online, they can disconnect very quickly and without “complex”!
What type of content to consider?
- Alternate content formats: interviews, reports, animations, portraits, survey, reviews…;
- Vary the media: images, illustrations, computer graphics, videos, PowerPoint graphics…;
- Favor short formats. Eliminate unnecessary information to avoid overwhelming your listeners;
- Tell a story to generate emotion, reactions and memories;
- Prioritize cutting-edge, original and targeted content. Indeed a bored audience will attribute this disappointment to the company.
4 – Involve the audience of your digital device
The one-sided top-down speech is over with a physical event. This is even more true for a digital episode.
Indeed, each participant must feel concerned, collectively and personally. Like attention, interactivity is at the center of virtual encounters.
Many tools exist to generate exchange and engagement:
- The cat is a prerequisite;
- More fun, there are the following animations: quiz with live answers, word clouds, challenges, voting, poll, ranking, gauge…;
- Other ice-breaking and entertaining activities: selfie, mood, wall, logo, post-it…;
- Depending on the theme of your event, you can also plan recreational workshops.
Read this article on “animations for virtual events”.
5 – Propose networking
On a physical event, the meeting is essential. This is also true for a virtual event. By providing access to participants’ profiles, event platforms promote discussion.
Thus, offer the possibility of networking during your virtual events thanks to:
- Private courier services;
- Chat discussions;
- Discussion forums;
- Meeting rooms for networking appointments …
And why not organize a ” virtual happy hour »Dedicated to networking. This device will allow you to increase the conversation around the event.
6 – Communicate before, during and after
It is important to publicize your virtual event and especially to encourage your guests to participate. So plan a teaser campaign by:
- Revealing certain speakers or shared content;
- Showing behind the scenes and preparations;
- Offering interviews;
- Illustrating with photos and videos from previous sessions …
Maintain the bond with your guests before the event. Do not hesitate to remind them of the date and time of connection. And without forgetting the connection URL:
- A few days before your 2.0 event;
- 1 day before;
- The same morning;
- And an hour before to make sure they connect.
After your online event, submit replays, then thank the attendees. Also, don’t forget to analyze all your participation statistics for:
- Validate the achievement of your objectives;
- Know your audience better;
- Optimize your next event.
Read this article to learn more: How to measure the success of a virtual event?
7 – Emotion at the heart of your virtual business event
Emotion is essential to anchor your event: it will give your audience a memorable experience.
Any virtual device must integrate a “real” emotional component. A TV set, an impactful scenography, storytelling and interactivity will contribute to this.
You can also :
- Deliver personalized boxes to your participants to open only on D-day. These boxes can contain a cocktail reception or a gift. Why not an accessory for everyone to wear. Or even a well-being element… In the colors of your event, this tool will surprise and bring human warmth and proximity;
- Design a rich and unique theme that resonates with your target;
- Produce festive and sensational animations;
- Offer a live exchange with a personality, an influencer or other VIP.
Even more tips and advice
Read this dedicated article to make your next event a success.
The health crisis has upset the event industry. Digital is the solution to the impossibility of meeting physically. However, the participant experience remains essential to provide a memorable event by focusing on 2 key factors: attention and emotion.