Virtual events, once born out of necessity during the pandemic, are here to stay. The advantages of virtual events are numerous, including greater audience reach and increased attendee engagement, all at a reduced cost to create. But switching from live to virtual events isn't as simple as purchasing a platform and recording speakers.
Zoom fatigue is real and no one really likes the idea of one more meeting to attend. Our stages have turned into our computer screens, meaning our shows have turned into TV-like programs. This means we have transformed from event planners to broadcast producers. Everything has changed, from the way we produce an event to the way we format the content.
But there are ways you can elevate your event into a broadcast-quality design to ensure engagement with even your most distracted audience members. Here are some tips for success.
Virtual attendees expect to be entertained. When they sit down at their computer, they don't want to attend just another meeting. Try transforming their computer screen into a dazzling display by adding motion and graphics. By incorporating graphic design elements and movement, simple words on a screen are converted into eye-catching elements that mimic a television show rather than a meeting.
Don't allow your event to fall victim to an attention break. Since it's so easy to get distracted during a virtual meeting, we must work in overdrive to ensure our audiences don't have a reason to divert their attention elsewhere. Consider opening stingers, which are videos that introduce the meeting, eye-catching transitions between speakers and even keeping your attendees on their toes by changing up the presenters' backgrounds.
Break up your content by creating mini commercials, which provide an opportunity to drive home event objectives or highlight successes. Showcase CSR partners and initiatives, share employee or customer testimonials, or monetize your meeting by focusing on sponsors.
We all know the power of live entertainment at an event. So, don't forget to add an entertainment element when planning a virtual gathering, too. Bring the excitement of live entertainment to an online setting by booking a live band, comedian or magician. Increase the wow factor by adding customization to the entertainment, either through a personalized delivery of the materials, or by recording and sharing the live performance with attendees after the event.
Our sensory experience is limited for virtual events and attendees must rely on what they can see and hear. Heightening these senses quickly is the key to keeping audiences engaged. One way to do this by having an artist create visuals in real time. Just try taking your eyes away off the screen when a real-time illustration is being created right in front of you. Not only is this eye-catching, but it also serves as a powerful retention tool for key meeting objectives.
Shannon McSpadden is the head of Creative and Production Services at Bishop-McCann, a brand experience and event production company. She is a gifted graphic designer, whose modern design sense and pristine eye for detail have earned her many national awards for excellence. Over the past 15 years she has created unique designs for a variety of clients across the country, ranging from food trucks to high-end jewelers. She has been recognized industrywide for her skills, and her ad designs have been featured in W, Vanity Fair and Chicago Style.