We live in a society that thrives on having their voice heard. With our friends, with our colleagues, on our social media channels, at our jobs… the list is long and unending. With the global pandemic and the changing landscape of in-person events going virtual (for now), the need to give our audience the opportunity to be heard and make things more personal is more important than ever.

People want to make sure they are getting the interaction they deserve. As publishers and brands, there is a priority to give your audience what they want, which now more than ever is the ability to be heard, seen, and engaged with properly.

Take a look at these four ideas to make your next virtual event more personal.

Video is a Must for Speakers

All your speakers should be able to be seen when they present, no exceptions. This is a basic requirement for every virtual event, webinar or presentation that takes place. Everyone knows how to use video conferencing at this point due to the pandemic. Get your speakers on board with this idea. There may need to be some coaching of best practices, but your audience wants to put a face to the name and voice they are hearing. Having a person to watch while they present will help to increase overall audience engagement.

Polling Questions

Polling questions are super helpful when it comes to engaging with a live audience. It allows the audience to provide their own feedback when a speaker poses a question and to feel like they are a part of the conversation. Not only do they make the virtual event more personal, but the information can also be used for research on a specific topic that you or the speaker may want to know more about.

Polling helps to craft part of the virtual event in real time based on the feedback the audience is giving. It is a simple tool that can have great benefits, all while giving the audience a chance to be heard.

Breakout Sessions

Depending on the size of your audience, breakout sessions provide the opportunity for a more intimate setting for the audience. The sessions can put the audience directly in front people they are interested in engaging with like the event speakers, industry experts and your editors. Zoom has made breakout sessions easier than ever to implement, all with just a click of a button. They are a great way for the audience to gain further benefit from the virtual event and give your event more of a tailored touch.

One important aspect to breakout sessions is to ensure your audience is aware they will be happening ahead of time. No one likes to be caught off-guard by a surprise on-camera interaction, so be sure to announce the opportunity and camera requirement before the day of the event. You will also need additional staff to monitor the breakout sessions. Overall, if planned correctly, the sessions will create a strong, memorable experience for the virtual event participants, giving them the more personal interaction everyone desires right now.

Open Mic – Industry Trends

This is a tricky, scary, and exciting idea! What better way to allow your audience to have their voice be heard than with an open mic session? Have an open mic night or forum with a group of people to share what trends, good and bad, they are seeing, and invite audience members to join the meeting to listen.

Overall, this would involve some more planning and pre-event structure to ensure there are enough people interested in participating. Additionally, you would need to again have staff to monitor things like how long each person has to speak, who is speaking, and that the flow of the conversation keeps up in a positive manner. As long as you have a bit of structure in place, then you can allow your pre-selected speakers to converse and share what they are experiencing in their day-to-day operations, the market, etc. A virtual open mic event definitely takes some more preparation to produce, but the engagement levels and information sharing would be incredibly high and very beneficial for your audience.

All of these tactics can be implemented within a reasonable amount of time and energy being added for your event preparation. The impact would be worth it – engaging with you audience at a more personal level. Some of these tactics are not new and that is OK. Sometimes taking an old idea and tweaking it slightly creates the best results. Do not forget, you can also sell a sponsorship to each tactic as well to help bring in new revenue for your virtual event.