It’s just as easy to multitask at home as it is in the office, plus working from home brings its own distractions—we’re looking at you, kids! Chapters must learn how to design virtual events that hold an attendee’s attention. Instead of trying to replicate the in-person event session-for-session, they can choose some sessions to present live and provide on-demand recordings for others.
Don’t try to cram everything into one day. Think about spacing it out over several days—or even several weeks. Arianna Rehak, co-founder and CEO of Matchbox Virtual Media, suggests chunking content into shorter sessions so attendees only hear the same voice for 20 minutes max.
Peggy Hoffman, president and executive director of Mariner Management, shares several ideas on Mariner’s blog for improving facilitation and engagement activities at virtual events. You can encourage participation by using a platform’s chat and polling tools, and breakout rooms for “table” discussions and exercises. In these breakout room discussions, give attendees the opportunity to recall and apply (practice) what they’re hearing so the learning will stick.
Build breaks into the program so attendees can get away from their laptop to check on their kids or grab a bite to eat. You could also use breakout rooms as lounges where attendees can partake in fun activities and get a chance to network with each other during breaks.
Think about all the other activities that usually go on at chapter events. How can you add them to the agenda?
- Exhibitor tabletops: Consider video infomercials, demos, session hosting, and dedicated breakout rooms.
- Awards: Check out the ideas in these recent ASAE Collaborate discussions (here and here).
- Sponsorship opportunities: Stay tuned for our upcoming post on this topic. In the meantime, Matchbox Virtual Media has some suggestions.