Virtual events and hybrid variations of in-person events are all the rage these days. If you’re not creating an online experience, you’re missing out on a broad audience of event planning clients. But not all virtual events are winners. And some, as you might have heard, are downright yawn-worthy. So, as a New York event planner, what can you do to infuse some fun and personality into the tired online event? Here are a few easy and fun tools and ideas you can tap into for inspiration, so you can plan, host, and execute incredible virtual events.
1. Start with the Aesthetics
Don’t just assemble guests; make the online engagement a fun and creative environment with the right aesthetics. Think graphics, music, colors, and extras that add fun and excitement to your virtual event. Here are a few virtual event planning ideas to inspire your next online conference.
Custom Banners & Graphics
A custom banner or a series of graphics that you use throughout your marketing and invite efforts can display for arriving online attendees, signaling they’re in the right place. Bright colors and minimal text tend to make the best impressions without too much distraction. It also demonstrates to guests that this virtual event is going to be customized and fun. The graphic assets have a great shelf life, too, since you can use them after the event, in post-event blogs, or follow-up campaigns.
Slide Decks that Pop
Your virtual event might feature presentations or panel discussions that warrant a slide deck. Get creative with your slide decks in the right way. They are great tools for attendees to follow along but beware. They’re often overused as a pillar of the virtual engagement, and let’s face it, there’s not much engaging about reading along with a document. Instead of full transcript slide decks, use them as your outline. Dot them with visually stimulating graphics and color. Remember, a well-crafted slide deck will promote ongoing conversation and not so much the reader-and-audience dynamic of regurgitating a script.
Have Some Background Fun
Your virtual event can be even more fun if you make proper use of background and border tools. Consider putting branded or themed backdrops on your virtual event guest speakers, for example. Or create a custom library of colorful borders for guests to choose and apply to their own images.
2. Chats, Breakout Sessions, and Surveys
New York event planners adapted quickly to hosting virtual events in recent years, for good reason. But now, as virtual and hybrid events continue to be popular, there’s even more of a need for creating engaging aspects of those online meetings. And one way event planners have found success with virtual event hosting is by using chat features, attendee surveys, and forming digital breakout sessions. Here are a few other examples that might inspire how you shake up your next online event.
- Speed Networking
- Virtual Scavenger Hunts
- Virtual Coffee Breaks & Breakout Sessions
- Virtual Happy Hours
3. Surprise Guests & Surprise Elements
Introduce something unexpected in your virtual event and keep attendees on the edges of their home office seats. Maybe you can tease a surprise guest appearance, for example, with someone special with celebrity status. Consider a few of these potential surprise guests or guest ideas to add entertainment to your event.
- Virtual Concerts or Musicians
- Bring Your Pets to the Meeting Surprise
- Virtual Yoga or Meditation Sessions
- Surprise Giveaways
- Surprise Awards
4. Games and Contests
Another fun and easy way to improve your next virtual event engagement is with the brilliant incorporation of contests and games. Yes, your event’s purpose might be to launch a corporate product or host an executive-level meeting. But there are still ways to infuse some fun, a little healthy competition, and some team-building action to boost online engagement.
- Virtual Event Trivia
- Virtual Murder Mystery
- Virtual Escape Rooms
- Video Game Challenges
- Online Dinner Parties
- Digital Painting Parties
Don’t forget, when you have contests, you’ll want to have unique ways to reward winners, best efforts, and most improved. For example, maybe the winner gets a special crown and scepter graphic backdrop for the rest of the meeting.
5. Educational Value
With all this talk of fun and games and colorful graphics, don’t forget that your virtual event needs to also provide value to the attendees. What can you be offering that guests will appreciate as a gift or can take away as a solution? Consider adding free downloadable resources, certain discounts, or free access to something that otherwise comes with a price tag. And as you carve out the content you intend to present, make sure it’s free of fluff or non-value content. Keep every conversation, text, and offering relevant and beneficial to those who sign in to attend.
- Online Course
- Online Tutorial or How-To
- Virtual Fundraising
- Digital Fitness Class
- Solo Access to a Guest Speaker
- Educational Webinars
6. FAQs with Purpose
It’s not uncommon to end a discussion with, “does anyone have any questions?” But there may be hesitation from attendees to speak up right away. And depending on how long your event has been going on, people might be experiencing fatigue. Instead, try reworking your FAQ or Q and A session with prompts like these:
- Ok, can everyone take to the keyboard and submit one question?
- Before we sign off, let’s discuss what you think some of the more frequently asked questions are.
- Can you think of anything we might be missing with this approach?
- The first ten guests who submit a question about ABC will get a prize!
How are you making your online or virtual events more fun and engaging? Consider these ideas to help infuse your event planning strategies. Keeping online guests involved and having fun, no matter what your topic or theme, will determine whether or not your digital meeting is viewed as a success.
If you’re still looking for insights and best practices for improving your virtual event services, follow up with our ongoing blog series regularly. We’re always sharing some of the latest strategies and inspiration for New York event planners just like you.
And there are still opportunities for sponsorship and exhibitions at the upcoming Event Planner Expo 2022 and 10-Year Anniversary party. Contact us to book yours!