How to encourage audience participation during virtual and hybrid events?
Virtual audience and interactivity @Sparkup
Are you planning a virtual or hybrid event? Do you know how to encourage your audience’s participation?
During the pandemic, event planners had to find new ways to work, and virtual and hybrid events have become very popular. The last few months proved that the key to having a successful virtual or hybrid event is to engage participants and therefore encourage attendees’ participation, despite the fact that they are not attending from the same physical place.
Anticipate and create productive conversations by using these 4 methods during your next event:
Create an environment conducive to participation
Give equal chance for participation opportunity
1. Create an environment conducive to participation
As an event planner, participation is always a challenge: how to encourage virtual audience participation? To begin, start by switching their position from observers to active participants.
The attendees, wherever they are, have to be active participants during the event. To achieve that, turn them into co-creators of the event and make them feel included. Here are some examples to help you create an environment conducive to participation without forcing your audience to interact:
Use an icebreaker, a simple question, kind or funny, which will, from the start, encourage the audience to engage. An icebreaker is a good way to help them get to know the live interaction platform you are using.
Set the tone: it isn’t easy to be the first one to interact, to ask a question, to make a comment, to submit an idea, even if it is just in writing! Inspire your attendees by being the first person to interact or by setting a few examples.
2. Give equal chance for participation opportunity
To give everyone in the virtual and in-person audiences the same opportunities to participate, use interaction smart tools. There are solutions to combine virtual and on-site interactions. Each attendee can answer and ask questions using:
Online survey tools to collect feedbacks
Q&As, or online questions and answers
Tools to come forward: “raise hand” function, etc.
By offering your online and on-site audiences the same channel to ask questions and to interact, you can give them an equal chance to speak up.
3. Be remote-first
Being remote-first is an excellent tip. It means that you should think about your virtual audience first: when you are designing your event, when you let the audience speak. The online audience will feel valued and heard, despite not being physically present.
4. Encourage co-creation
Event planners know this all too well: the audience’s involvement and participation are what make an event successful and sustainable.
Co-creation is a proven method to create value and to keep the attendees engaged. It can be achieved by organizing workshops, sub-commissions, displaying posters (medical congresses). But it involves using significant means: more time slots, managing calendars and venues, dedicated spaces, hosts and technical equipment. It is even more complicated if the event is hybrid.
However, there are simple and efficient ways to allow co-creation during your events:
Make your participants vote: not only about their experience, but also about their preferences. Asking your audience “which one is better: coffee or tea?” will have more impact than asking them “do you drink more tea or coffee?” and will allow participants to take a position. The results can be displayed and compared, discussed, etc.
Encourage participants to speak their mind: make it easy for them to interact and to express an opinion. To do so, ask the attendees to explain a key point using their own words, to add to a point or to criticize. Thanks to appropriate technical tools, the online audience will be able to speak up and be heard without creating chaos.
Create and broadcast an event brief, which will include attendees’ input: survey results, trends, commentaries, questions/answers and other interactions. This brief will be built with all the attendees and will reflect the added value and the engagement during the event.
Using these 4 tips will help your audience, wherever they are, to be co-creators of your event and to join your speaker’s message.
If you want to discover more about audience engagement, download our ebook here.