Creating a bond with your virtual audience could look like a challenge. It starts with interaction, because it creates engagement and helps keep the audience’s attention, is what distinguishes your event from a regular webinar or from a TV program "watched” by many people staring at their screen alone.
A virtual audience solution, helps create interaction with and between your different types of participants. The dialogue between audiences and speakers/hosts helps reinforce the sentiment of being present: you create a community gathered around a topic, for a moment of sharing and learning.
As you know, the idea isn’t to connect with your virtual audience solely during the first two minutes of your event or at the very end. Here are five ways to create a bond with your audiences during the entire event!
1- Rely on your speakers and guest hosts
- Introduce your speakers or let them introduce themselves. If you have in-person and virtual audiences, remind the speaker to also speak to the camera and greet the virtual audience.
- Train your speakers and hosts: remind them to include the virtual audience by looking at the cameras and by using sentences such as: “at home too, you can give a round of applause”, “as we can see, our online participants seem very focused…” etc.
- If your speakers are joining online, remind them of the basic rules (microphone, camera placement, etc.) and encourage them to share their feelings on joining the virtual event: “I am very happy to talk to you all, wherever you are. As for me, I am comfortably seated on my favorite chair. What about you?”
- Surprise your audience by offering unexpected experiences and use talents: a magic trick during which they will be invited to participate, a surprise VIP speaker, a mini-concert at the end of the event, etc.
2- Make your participant move
Depending on the type of event (and the type of audience), it’s possible to ask the virtual participants:
- To do a simple dance routine
- To get an object from another room and show it to the camera, or to show their coffee cup, their tea cup…
- To do a basic yoga pose or some breathing exercises
- To move their camera and share the view from their window
3- Feel your audiences’ energy
It can sometimes be difficult to know what the virtual audience is feeling or experiencing. Whether your event is hybrid or 100 % virtual, rely on the tools offered by your virtual audience platform to find out what they are experiencing.
- Ask them to share their state of mind or how they are feeling at the moment by answering simple questions or a multiple choice questionnaire. You could include some quirky elements: “how are you feeling after this first part: A) everything is fine, my eyes are still open B) Fortunately, nobody can hear my snoring C) I am ready for two more hours: let’s go!”
- Display a word cloud with words shared by the participants to describe their current feelings.
- Make your audiences, including the virtual one, clap: they will be displayed on the mosaic and be able to hear the in-person audience’s applause in the room. They can also use a clap emoji, which is offered by Sparkup.
4- Engage your audience and give them the opportunity to be heard
- Plan questionnaires/polls about a chosen topic and share the results live.
- Give everybody the opportunity to ask questions to your speakers thanks to an acessible live chat during the event.
- Invite participants on stage: If the speaker answers them during their presentation, the virtual participant can use the “raise hand” function. To allow this action, enlarge a thumbnail displayed on the mosaic and give the floor to an online participant.
5- Challenge them
- Organize blind tests with a buzzer: make them guess the title of a song, the first participant who buzzes can answer live whether he is in the room or live behind his computer.
- Suggest drawing, dancing and costume contests: a fun way to have a break and to create engagement.
- Set up forfeits: if they lose a challenge or answer a question wrong, they have to sing or make a funny face. In this case, you can decide to enlarge the participant’s thumbnail. Be careful when you choose forfeits, and do not insist if a participant is uncomfortable with doing it!
By engaging your virtual audience, by making them participate just as much as the in-person audience, you make them feel like they belong to a community.
These ideas are here to inspire you, include them in your event to give it rhythm, to maintain your audiences’ attention and to bring your community to life.
Rely on the tools offered by virtual audience platforms such as Sparkup. Whether it is about displaying your virtual audience on a screen, questionnaires, or interactive tools, they will help you engage in a real conversation with and between your audiences, online and in-person.