Virtual events offer a unique set of challenges for engagement and interaction with attendees. Unlike in-person events, virtual events provide a wealth of precision and data from attendees through engagement tools, but getting attendees to participate can be difficult. To increase interaction, it’s essential to minimize friction and offer a perceived value to the attendees.
Studies in user experience have shown that positive reinforcement and rewards are more effective in guiding users toward intended methods of interaction, as opposed to using “Dark Patterns” that trick or force users into unintended actions. To this end, there are a few simple techniques that can positively influence attendees to engage with the content.
One effective technique to increase engagement is to make interaction tools, such as chat, easily accessible. Many attendees tend to watch a live stream in full-screen mode, so making the chat optionally viewable while in full-screen can help to ensure that it is not overlooked. This approach caters to those who are avid fans and provides the option for attendees to hide it if it becomes distracting.
A full-screen video player with chat hovering over the live stream.
This principle of accessibility extends beyond the chat function. A poll or Q&A session can provide valuable insight into your audience’s thoughts and opinions. To maximize engagement, clear instructions should be provided as you introduce the segment. This will give attendees ample time to prepare for the questions and allow presenters to react to responses in real time. The use of visual cues, such as banners, can also capture the viewer’s attention and provide clear guidance for participation.
A banner at the bottom of the screen with instructions on how to participate in a poll.
Initiating conversation is key to encouraging attendees to engage with your content. Utilizing tools like chat or reactions can create a ripple effect, causing attendees to become more active participants in the virtual event. To get the ball rolling, have event team members start the conversation by saying hello in the chat or asking the first questions in a Q&A session. These actions serve as a primer, warming up the audience and inviting them to join the conversation.
As attendees see “reactions” being used, they are encouraged to try them and join in the fun.
Effective engagement strategies can lead to a multitude of benefits for both the event organizers and the attendees. By utilizing simple techniques such as making interaction tools easily accessible and initiating dialogue, virtual events can become a more engaging and dynamic experience for everyone. This in turn can lead to higher-quality survey data and better questions as attendees feel more inclined to participate. Furthermore, attendees will have a better time as they feel connected and able to interact and network with others. By investing in techniques to increase engagement, virtual events can become more successful and fulfilling for all parties involved.
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Meet the Author
Daniel von Seckendorff
Senior Broadcast Specialist