Best practices 2022: Creating a Human Experience in a Virtual World

Best practices 2022: Creating a Human Experience in a Virtual World

Best practices 2022: Creating a Human Experience in a Virtual World

Virtual event engagement best practices 2022

How time flies! Just over a year ago, companies were scrambling to hold their events online – instead of canceling or postponing – in order to continue their business. Now organizers (and attendees) have embraced virtual events as a permanent option, rather than just a temporary fix.

While online events have plenty of advantages going for it like convenience and cost-effectiveness, one area that needs focus and improvement is the event experience. Events are opportunities for humans to gather and connect with one another – but in a virtual world, it’s that feeling of togetherness and connection that somehow seem lacking.
In this article, we take a look and learn from what other event planners and organizers are doing to elevate the event experience and increase attendee enthusiasm and participation in their events.

By the way, elevating the event experience is just one of the top trends in 2022 concerning virtual events. Read our latest blog on the 5 Event Trends to Watch in 2022 to learn more.

Creating a human experience in a virtual world

Below we list some of the activities and best practices from your fellow virtual event organizers to deliver a more interactive, glossy, high-impact and “fun” experience just like what you get from face-to-face events. Use them for inspiration when planning your next events.

Live scribing

Live scribing (also known as graphic recording or graphic facilitation) is a real-time illustration of the key themes discussed at a meeting, conference, event or workshop. The audience can see illustrations progress and develop throughout the event – helping them to “visually” understand the ideas and engage with the content.
Apart from “wowing” the audience during the event, the resulting artwork can also be used as a visual summary takeaway for your post-event marketing needs. You can send it as a thank you to your speakers and as a recap for attendees. Many live scribing agencies can provide you with a fast-mo animated version that you can post in your social media or website. Live scribing is definitely an effective way to make an online conference or webinar memorable, shareable and fun.

Source: smartupvisuals.com

Tournaments, competitions, challenges

Apart from the usual quizzes and Q&As during online events, you can hold competitions and challenges that can be held before, during and after the event dates. Make sure the competition theme is relevant to the conference content or topic so it ties back to the event.

For example, if your online webinar topic is on environment and sustainability, you can ask participants to pick among several challenges like beach or hiking trail cleanup, a 5K run or no-plastic challenge. They can perform the challenge on their own and share or submit their results. You can award winners during the event, as well as discuss their learnings while doing the challenge and incorporate it to the discussion.

For online tradeshows, you can run competitions during the event such as most popular booth, most in-demand product, best product presentation, among others. Participants can vote online, and results can be announced on the event website or social media page at a later date.
Live music, comedy, demos and performance breaks
Knock, knock. Who’s there? A laugh break! After an hour (or two) of intense discussion and learning – who wouldn’t appreciate a quick break of music or laughter? It’s very common at in-person events to have entertainment guests to liven up the event atmosphere. You can do the same for online events.
Demos are also a good way to break the monotony of online talks. A cooking or exercise demo for a webinar on nutrition, or a virtual fashion show for an online tradeshow on garments & accessories will do wonders to keep audience glued to your online event.

Audio-only discussions

Sometimes keeping it simple is best to reach your audience. Audio-only discussions can be an alternative to running virtual events. They’re productive, cost-effective and allow attendees to absorb your content without having to sit in front of a computer and strain their eyes at the screen the whole time. To keep it from being boring, it should minimally have two persons (a moderator and a topic expert) having a lively discussion – similar to what you have in a podcast.

Virtual tours / Virtual venues

Many in-person events and conferences are usually held in exotic locations – and traveling to the venue is part of the appeal for the audience to attend. Online event organizers can simulate the feeling of travel via having a virtual tour. Virtual tour guides can take you to the popular sights in London, Barcelona, Singapore or Las Vegas where many of the top tradeshows are held. In the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020 (October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022), one can virtually explore the different country pavilions and theme-d districts or experiences from their website – complete with background music.

Source: virtualexpodubai.com

Exhibitors at online tradeshows can also offer virtual factory tours to their visitors. Factory tours are important to build transparency and customer trust. More than ever, customers want a behind-the-scenes look at how the products are created. Virtual tours are also a way for manufacturers to showcase their process expertise, production capabilities and extensive machinery and technology investments.

Invitation-only virtual lounge

Getting the “VIP treatment” is another experience that event participants miss when attending in-person events. VIP lounges help build the relationship between sponsor and client. As such, sponsors usually go all out in providing exclusive services to clients in these lounges like invitation-only access, free food & drinks, networking opportunities, new product previews, special gifts and more.
Translating this experience into online, sponsors and organizers can also offer limited access, one-on-one meeting opportunities with special guests or top CEOs, exclusive product launch invitations, among other experiences in their virtual lounge.

Sponsored virtual incentives / delivery of attendee kits / post-event thank you gift

Lastly, who doesn’t like a free sample or gift? For many event attendees, part of the experience is amassing a collection of free giveaways – no matter how small or inexpensive it is. It can be a free pen, a shirt, a coffee mug or tumbler, a diary or planner. No matter what it is, it is something that connects the participant to the event they have attended – and adds to their feeling of satisfaction in being part of the event. And thus, look forward to attending the same event in the future.
For online event organizers, this is a feeling that they cannot afford to ignore. They can replicate it by delivering attendee kits to participants like an event shirt, a pen and stationery. Especially for paid events (with admission fee), this is something that organizers can send to participants to increase their anticipation and excitement for the virtual event. The gifts or incentives can also be in virtual form, such as a free coffee voucher, a discount coupon to an online store, or add-on service when they purchase or renew.
This also a good way to engage with sponsors – they can have their company name and logo emblazoned on the free gift for audience reach and branding recall.

Summary

Make sure your virtual events are memorable, exciting and fun to attend by practicing these tips. Remember, even in a virtual world, your event attendees are humans who need a bit of laughter, challenge, special treatment and perhaps a small gift to get their enthusiasm and engagement.
Do you want to keep updated on the latest news and tips on virtual events? Check out our GEN Blogs available at https://globalexpo-net.com/blog/ or join our GENCommunity.

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