Everyday, more and more business solutions are rolling out — platforms, apps, software, AI, and more — everything and anything to make your business run better, stand out, and give you an edge. However, at the end of the day, the foundation for success is still human connection.
Connection doesn’t mean working in the same cubicle space — it’s chatting with a client that’s always on the road, celebrating success with coworkers in different time zones, and engaging your audience on their terms and in their space.
That is why virtual events and meetings have become a standard necessity for professionals around the globe. Luckily, there are countless ways to connect instantly with anyone at any time. From a video conferencing solution like Zoom to a more immersive experience such as Fortnite, there are plenty of choices to fit what you need.
From a recent study conducted by vFairs in 2022,
“Virtual events have higher attendance than in-person. Around 93.2% of people surveyed stated that their virtual event was successful when considering attendance rates. In fact, 77.2% of individuals surveyed said that they prefer virtual events because of their ease of attendance.”
So, in an ever-changing hybrid world, how can you create not only an engaging experience but a lasting connection with your audience?
Somewhere at some time, a lot of meetings became boring, but when you had a captive audience in a conference room, it didn’t seem to matter (but it should). Virtual meetings and events blew that apart. Holding your audience’s attention is crucial — holding it virtually is critical and easier than you might think.
Don’t underestimate planning your virtual events and meetings in advance. This doesn’t have to be a job in and of itself, but it’s good to have a solid idea of how you want the event to run and your goals. As you’re planning the flow of the event, remember to create an inviting, fun environment for your audience. One they will remember and, even better, choose not to forget.
Before the event, give your attendees a heads-up on what they will experience and how they will connect. You don’t need to put a minute-by-minute run-of-show together, but preparing a soft plan with goals helps keep the event flow focused. Sending out intriguing tidbits or an agenda will allow attendees to prepare themselves and get excited about attending. This will keep everyone aligned and less confused about why they’re here.
Include some brief instructions on how to join the event and a list of what they’ll need, headphones, a laptop, preferred browser, minimum device requirements, etc. The goal is for the guests to interact with each other, not with tech support. Opening the event a few minutes early can allow users time to log in to the platform and troubleshoot issues without feeling rushed.
From the time your guests log in, capture their attention and make them feel at ease by:
Did You Know? Visuals have a huge impact on audience engagement. A bright, sunny setting can elicit energy and curiosity. A more neutral, standard-looking office environment can help attendees focus and get down to business.
Webinars can simultaneously bring a lot of helpful and pertinent information to a like-minded group of people; unfortunately, they can also be boring – but they don’t have to be. The truth is, it’s hard to pay attention to a talking head while trying to read a novel of text on a slide.
A quick and easy way to solve webinar tedium is collaboration. Instead of a presenter broadcasting information, using tools like whiteboards or working docs engage your audience. People are more present and engaged when they actively think about the content. The audience will feel like they’re a part of the conversation, not just a bystander. Create moments for your attendees to work together, provide topics for them to solve as groups, and create “yes, and” moments.
Your guests will feel even more connected by setting up a virtual photo booth, like Outsnapped. Once you have the virtual photo booth setup, you can easily insert a link or a QR code for the guest to pull up on their phone. Guests can still interact with each other as they take their photos and leave with favorable memories.
Did You Know? It’s been shown that using a whiteboard helps keep an audience engaged. It increases visual and sensory alertness and promotes creativity and productivity.
Online communities are becoming increasingly popular as we explore the world around us. People want to share their stories, feelings, ideas, and more — and creating a space for that is incredibly important. Creating an after-event experience is imperative to keep your audience engaged with you and each other.
After the event, invite users to return to your virtual space to have follow-up conversations and maintain the excitement they had during the event. Re-engaging with your attendees will familiarize them with you/the brand and help them remember their experience. This will naturally lead to growing and nurturing your community.
Guests can re-introduce themselves to important contacts and keep the conversation going. The gallery of photos from the event can be a fun reminder of the experience and the connections that were made. The experience doesn’t have to end when the meeting ends.
Did You Know? According to HubSpot, some 67% of B2B marketers say that events make for one of the most effective strategies they use. One key factor is the ability to follow up and keep in contact with participants.
As mentioned, there are a lot of new ways to get online and interact. But what is the right choice for your needs? And of course, budgets are always front of mind. That is why virtual solutions continue to win against traditional in-person events.
There are too many options to list here, but these are a few of the most popular sites for holding virtual meetings and events.
Google Meet is integrated with Google Suite. Almost everyone has a Gmail account, so this is an easy choice if you have Google Suite. Jumping into a 1:1 with another user is not a problem. However, from a technical and user experience standpoint, there are limitations and restrictions.
Microsoft Teams is packaged with Microsoft 365, but yet, a lot of companies still use other platforms for their meetings and events, even if they have Teams. Teams have a lot of great business features — chat, video or audio calls, and screen sharing — making it a good option for 1:1 or smaller meetings. Like Google Meet, it lacks the complexity needed for bigger events or more collaborative meetings.
Zoom is the platform that grew in popularity during the pandemic and has become a staple for shorter business meetings with fewer attendees. In the last year or so, they have upped their game with breakout rooms and whiteboards. They have a free version that allows you a certain number of attendees for 40 minutes, but accessing robust features brings you into tiered pricing. It, like many platforms, will enable you to change your background, but currently, there isn't a uniform way to create a visual brand experience across each user.
Double A Labs is an easy-to-use virtual world with all the tools, whiteboards, breakout rooms, real-time in-place content, and more you need for collaboration. It’s more of an experience than a simple meeting space. Imagine walking into the lobby of a brick-and-mortar building for your virtual event — it’s that real.
It’s also “always on,” which allows users to come back to the site — which is a game changer for companies that do training, have a changing content library, or want prospects to come back and remind themselves of aspects of the company.
The design of your space is customizable, so your world can best represent your business. It will cost more than an already integrated platform. Still, it’s easy to install (no complicated IT), and no hidden charges or constant upgrades are needed for the best experience.
Virtual worlds, meetings, and events are not about losing human connection through technology — they are about building it. We hope to see you virtually soon!