How to engage the virtual audience.
This Covid 19 pandemic has affected everyone globally. Especially so for those of us in the MICE and Events industry. Live physical events have stalled and come to a complete halt. However, some events are now online or virtual, with even some events going hybrid when safe management measures permit. So how do you engage the virtual audience? As an event organizer or emcee, consider these points to engage with and interact with your virtual audience for your next online event.
How to engage the virtual audience.
VENUE One of the key elements to consider is the venue where you host this event. By this, I mean you have to look at your budget to see if you want to host it from just your office, home computers or if you can host it from a professional studio. Hosting the event on your office/home computer on a platform like zoom or webex might seem cost conscious but you have to truly consider a whole list of other factors like, proper lighting, having a proper webcam/microphone to light up and capture your emcee and speakers. Having it at a professional studio will cost more but it will make your work a lot easier as it will have all the professional equipment all set up as well as a team of professional operators to handle all the equipment on event day. Having your virtual event at a professional studio also means you have access to a proper green screen background where you can project a digital backdrop compared to the virtual background provided by some platforms as the images can be seen as patchy or uneven. You do have to consider things like wifi bandwidth at your offices or respective homes as well. Thus, the venue you decide on is hugely paramount for you because to engage with the virtual audience, the emcee/speakers must standout clearly for the virtual audience on their computer screens. PLATFORM The features of the streaming platform you choose can also impact the kind of engagement or engagement activities for your event. The common webinar platforms these days like Zoom, Webex, Google Meet allow not just chat functions but reactions as well as video capabilities. However, if you are using platforms like FB live or some proprietary streaming platform, the video stream is only one way, meaning only the audience can see you or your emcee/speaker, but the emcee/speaker can’t see the audience. For this, they can only interact with the audience through the chat feature. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT There is a range of audience engagement activities you can do as a virtual or hybrid emcee. However, this is largely dependent on some factors. Factors like the features of the streaming platform, type and size of virtual audience or even how attractive your engagement prizes are. Depending on the type and objective of this virtual event, you can simply engage the audience via the chat with a quiz. Or if the emcee is able to see the audience as well, you can have simple activities/games like scavenger hunt or charades. Set aside a budget to have enough attractive prizes to engage the virtual audience. PRE-EVENT For a virtual/hybrid event, you should always have a pre-event. This is so that the emcee can engage the virtual audience early and highlight the features of the platform. You have to assume that most of the virtual participants may not be savvy digitally so spending some time to teach them how to use certain features will help in engagement for the main event programme. DURING EVENT As a virtual/hybrid host, being able to see the chat column and the participants is key in driving virtual audience engagement. If you are hosting from home, that should be easy enough. However, if you are hosting in a professional studio, having tv monitors that allow you to see the chat column and the participants are paramount. This is also hugely dependent on the features of the streaming platform and studio. As a virtual emcee, looking at the camera when you are hosting is important as you will have eye contact with the participant when they look at their screens. Constantly check the chat column/participants video on the tv monitors and engage them by calling out their actions or chat conversations. Plan suitable engagement activities to interact with the virtual audience and reward them with gifts where possible. Ensure back end logistics that will capture list of winners for delivery of gifts after event. I hope these key points can help you plan for your virtual/hybrid event but should you need one of Singapore’s top virtual emcee to engage your audience at your next online event, look no further and call Emcee Cyril Lim @ www.emceecyril.com today.