The COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to all business meetings and in-person events, forcing many to find other creative digital platforms to host events. Some 87% of professionals who plan in-person business gatherings say they have canceled events because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent research from PCMA. Two-thirds of respondents say they have postponed an event because of COVID-19. Meanwhile, 61% say they are still deciding whether to cancel or postpone an upcoming event. As many organizations turn to platforms such as Zoom to host events and meetings, many fail to expand their reach and increase engagement in the digital space. We’re highlighting 5 tips on increasing engagement within digital events.
Why Engagement is Low:
Do you ever find yourself lost in an online meeting or conference? You zone out and think about what to make for dinner, and next thing you know 5 minutes have gone by. You then struggle to stay on track of what is happening and nod your head while pretending everything is okay. This happens all the time, especially with large online groups and gatherings. This loss of motivation and participation has taken a toll on engagement within digital events.
The tendency for individual members of a group to become increasingly less productive as the size of their group increases is called the Ringlemann effect. In virtual meetings — and especially on conference calls — the Ringelmann effect is magnified.
4 Tips for Increasing Engagement Within Digital Events:
1- Stick to Meeting Basics
In any meeting, conference, or event there is always an outline of what is to be expected. Before your meeting, set clear objectives of what you’d like to achieve and if possible, send an outline beforehand. Using an agenda and following an outline will ensure the meeting is efficient and jam-packed with valuable information. Set meeting ground rules and take breaks when necessary to avoid fatigue.
2. Call on Others
Getting everyone to participate without talking over each other has to be one of the most challenging aspects of the digital meeting space. In order to increase engagement, call on others, and encourage active participation. At New Park Creative, we encourage everyone to take notes and create a list of questions or thoughts they may have. We then have everyone take turns and “go around the table” to express their opinions or ask questions. This is a great way to debrief and conclude the meeting/event.
3. Avoid “This Meeting Could Have Been an Email” Syndrome
We’ve all been there before, there’s always that one meeting that could have been an email. To keep attendees engaged, minimize your presentation length. No one wants to sit in front of their computer for more than an hour. Following an outline and schedule will keep you and others focused and on track. All background information should be provided beforehand to cut the presentation short. Use screen sharing to increase engagement and guide the conversation. This allows everyone to literally “be on the same page”. Your presentation should be informative and precise, so cut to the chase.
4. Capture Real-Time Feedback
There are many digital event hosting platforms out there, from Zoom to WebEx, the possibilities are endless. Although these platforms offer similar services, it can be difficult to capture real-time feedback without interrupting the flow of things. Gathering and interpreting high-quality input can be challenging during a virtual meeting where visual cues are harder to read. Expand your reach and use interactive digital event platforms that encourage interaction and provide real-time feedback. We love Brandlive because it offers dozens of features from custom marketing and branding for events to tracking metrics and analytics during and after your event.
Digital Event Marketing Will be Around for the Long Haul
If there’s one thing that we’ve realized from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the digital event market space has become increasingly important. As many organizations adapt and turn to these digital event platforms, maintaining engagement and increasing reach will be a top key performance indicator moving forward.
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