August 19, 2020

How to Make Your Virtual Event More Interactive

Mihika Roy

“This is the new normal.” Everybody says so and people do like to talk. Whether it is a regular informative webinar or a fun online gathering, one thing in common is a flawless chat feature. Virtual chat has become the new channel to express your emotions and everybody wants a smooth conversation with the right emojis, stickers, GIF’s, sharing files, pictures, contacts, there is no end to it. All of us are spoilt for choices and we want them all.

So in a successful virtual event, the key is to keep the conversation going. After all, it’s not a ‘Discovery channel show’ where you just sit and watch in awe of what’s happening.

Whether it is a small event with 20 people or a huge event with thousands of attendees, you want them to feel like they got the information they came for. However, it is often a two-way communication that instills this feeling, and in order for your attendees to be ‘heard’, you need that perfect communication channel that gives all the tools to not just the host but also the attendees to make them feel like a part of your virtual event.

Just like the awkward silences in a real conversation, everybody wants to avoid situations during a virtual event where both the host and the attendees don’t have something to say.

Here are a few ways to keep your event interactive :

Ask close-ended questions

Apart from the traditional Q&A part of the event, have some questions prepared for the audience which are easy to answer and would not sway from the given topic of the event.

This is the oldest strategy used in class, where a professor would ask you a question right in the middle of their explanation to check if the students are listening or not. But in virtual events instead of asking an open-ended question like “What is your opinion on this?” ask them an objective one like “Does the majority of you feel this way?”

This will help you in 2 ways -

  1. More people can answer your questions: Since answering these questions does not take too much time and are easy to answer, you can expect more people to answer your questions and hence more interaction.
  2. You are able to feel the energy of the room at all times: Helps you understand what your attendees are thinking and better explains to them, what the attend is for. You can tailor the delivery of your presentation to your understanding of the attendees.


Seems like too much work? Use CometChat Sentiment Analysis & Profanity Filter extensions give you peace of mind knowing that objectionable content is automatically removed from the conversation.

Express in Different ways

Did you know that the attention span of humans on an average is about 20 minutes? It could be less if you don’t make sense to your attendees, eventually making them leave your event.

Use different ways to express your views and indulge your audience in doing the same.

If you are hosting a massive virtual event, remember language can be one of the barriers to understanding and engaging an audience. So make sure to use a chat service like CometChat which provides message translation.

In an age where you can make “mini-me” stickers which are basically ‘you’ in a sticker with different expressions, you have to use these to break the mundane view of communicating with people. Less words, more emojis!

Poll it!

Create your topic-wise polls and shoot them during your webinar whenever you want. And, don’t forget to keep the results public. When people start to feel they belong in your virtual space, you can be sure they will stick around till the end.

Polls are also a great way for hosts to understand their audience. Understanding the demographic of the attendees can help you tailor your script to the audience.

You can also use polls as a game like a True or False game. Busting Myths and giving some insightful facts with the help of polls can increase the excitement in your event. These are helpful in all business domains, from marketplace to Edu-tech to virtual music events.

If you gotta know if your audience likes Pizza, Pasta, or Lasagna - Poll It! It’s fun, it’s insightful.

Gamify your game

Progress Bar & Leaders Scoreboard are identified as the 2 key factors in gamification by Duolingo's CEO Luis Von Ahn. Now you must be thinking, “how do I gamify my event”. It’s easy. Just re-imagine your event to be a game and change all the traditional ways of hosting an event.

Both these factors have one thing in common - the feeling of some kind of Achievement. Your attendees need this sense of achievement after the virtual event is over as well. They need to feel like they either learned something after attending your event or have some productive solutions to the cause they are attending your event for, but in a fun way.

Have a theme. Explain the rules at the start. Give points for correct answers. Have fun with Reactions, Emojis. Let your attendees know the progress of the event, when would you start your next section of the event, have a competition. If you can, have some giveaways.

Pick your favorite game, observe what you like about it, and try to replicate it in your event.

Chat Away

Well, this seems like an obvious one. However, there are certain things you should keep in mind to keep the conversation going.

You should encourage people to type in questions or opinions at any point of the event they like, don’t just ask them to put it during Q&A. If the question/opinion can be addressed right then and there, make sure to address the person by name and go on to read out their bit.

A video or a voice chat will make your event more interactive by just allowing the respective attendees to voice their opinions and having a short real-time discussion with the audience will engage your attendees. Speaking to different faces than just different voices help make the event more realistic for a lot of people.

Conclusion

Sometimes, it’s easy to warm up a ballroom full of people and yet fail to feel connected during a virtual event. The first step to making your event successful is to identify the elements which you would resort to, if you had to throw a party at your house, let’s say. The underlining there is - “Keep it interesting”.

Unlike in a real-time event where people get to talk to not only the host but also the other people attending it, the interpersonal connections are a core part of its liveliness, your virtual event has more attention on just one person and that’s the ‘host’, so make sure you encourage interpersonal connections through these real-time chats leading to better attendee retention.

But just like the party props, you need the right props to make your virtual event the most informative and fun event ever. CometChat has exactly those props to make your event more interactive. This goes to say just like how you need party planners, CometChat has got a brilliant customer support system and even if you are not a technical person, you can be sure to have a successful interactive, and yet fun virtual event.