Did you know that one hour of virtual meeting is equivalent to three hours of an in-person interaction? It means that if you are attending an online event for three to four hours, it’s like sitting with someone for almost an entire day without talking. And it can be mentally very exhausting. This can be caused by a lack of change in the visual environment – as well as simply by dull content!
Focusing intently to absorb information and staring at the screen for a long time leads to exhaustion, which we have all come to know as “Zoom fatigue.”
It might seem like a catch-22 situation. Virtual events and interactions are indispensable today and yet it’s clear they can have a negative impact on our ability to concentrate and absorb information. What do you do? The simple answer is to make things more interesting for the audience, so they don’t tire out. Here’s how you can avoid zoom fatigue and make your virtual events more interesting?
Add real-time visual aids
Visual aids hold our attention more easily than long, boring talks. As every schoolteacher with a whiteboard knows, real-time illustrations and doodling can be a fun and unique way to engage your audience. For instance, if you are hosting a panel discussion or a seminar on a particular subject, you can present some thoughts graphically. People can share these instantly or save them.
Host live games
A real-time quiz, competition, or a small game can make people instantly pay attention to what you are saying. If you can do it in a physical environment, there’s no reason you can’t do the same in a virtual one. You can declare the results right then or ask people to check back on your social platforms. This will also leverage your social media engagement. To make it more immersive, incentivize the game, which brings us to our next point…
Incentivize the engagement
People feel included in an activity when there’s something for them. By incentivizing the entire event or smaller interactive activities (like games), you can engage people better. Offer giveaways or offers that makes your audience feel more invested in your event. For example, ask the audience to comment about the event on your social pages to get a goodie bag or online coupon. Or give them a discount on your services for signing up for the event. This will boost brand awareness, social footfall, and build brand loyalty. So, win-win all round!
Offer high-value content on demand
Sometimes, people want to hold on to some high-value information, and real-time interactions don’t allow that. You can tweak your virtual events to include pre-recorded materials, which people can download/save for later references. Precisely how you go about this depends on the scale of your event, its goal, and the industry you’re in. When you offer high-value content on-demand, it makes people feel they have spent their time in a worthwhile way. Even if they eventually lose focus or drop out of the event due to other distractions they still walk away with what they came for, and you’ve given them everything they need to pick up where you left off when they reconnect with you later. It also helps mitigate time-zone problems and connectivity issues (which is a significant issue for online events.)
Include real-time content recommendations
A classic example of this is how YouTube gives custom content recommendations while people are watching a video. Personalized content delivery is now an essential ingredient of audience engagement and will help you take your virtual event to the next level. There are AI-based tools to roll out customization throughout your event, and. this could include similar content or videos from past events or personalized matchmaking for networking sessions.
Make it immersive
Traditional events have worked so far because they let people enjoy a physical experience – including the travel, food and drink and socializing that go with them. Now, you cannot precisely emulate everything about a real event, such as a glamorous setting or world-class entertainment. But you can integrate elements of what makes these features appealing. For example, creating a look and feel of the venue as a background or a theme, complete with a virtual “lounge area” where people can chat, meet sponsors, or take a break. You could even include VR tools to give a 360-degree view of the virtual venue. To achieve this you need a great virtual event platform married with excellent event management skills.
Make it entertaining
Good events serve a well-defined business or educational purpose, but also keep everyone entertained along the way. Many brands include well-being activities like meditation or workout sessions, which include funny videos while presenting an idea. You can even include professional performers like stand-up comedians, magicians or musicians in your live stream schedule to give your event a special touch.
The idea is to give people something to look forward to throughout the time they spend with you. While you might crack some of these ideas on your own, you may need a professional help to provide innovative tools and support to make your virtual events more engaging, enjoyable, and unforgettable.