March of last year I spoke (virtually) at a conference in LaCrosse, WI on engaging attendees in hybrid meetings. Engaging attendees during a virtual experience is very important. After all, who would want to just sit and watch a conference or seminar on their computer and not have any means to interact with the presenter or each other? When planning a virtual experience for your attendees, there are some simple things to keep in mind to increase their level of satisfaction. Many people have asked me to write a follow-up post on this, so here it goes. Here are my top 7 ways to engage attendees in hybrid meetings.

  1. Determine Attendee Type
    Make sure you know your audience type. This will help you best determine how to engage with them and what tools would be best for you to use.
  2. Determine Format
    There are different types of formats you can use engage attendees. To determine your format, rely on your knowledge of your audience, and resources that you have available to you. Sometimes just using audio only might be what you need, or perhaps everyone needs to view the presenter – in any event, make sure you know what is best for your event.
  3. Define Content and Response Outcomes
    Virtual attendees absorb content in a different manner than those sitting in a room. Determine what your content is going to be and how you would like your attendees to respond to that content.
  4. Have Dedicated Moderator
    If you have a meeting that has an online component, make sure to have someone monitoring questions, answers, and discussions online. This moderator should be able to respond in real time, and nurture your virtual audience.
  5. Integrate Interactive Tools
    Have fun! Integrate interactive tools like question and answer sessions, chatrooms, or simply use social media tools like Twitter to enhance the virtual experience.
  6. Pay Attention to the Audience
    Don’t forget your audience! There have been many times that I have been in a virtual experience and the presenter forgets their online audience. Don’t be one of those presenters, pay attention to your audience whether it is to thank them, or go to them for questions.
  7. Long Meetings Require Additional Care
    If you have a meeting in which individuals are attending in-person for more than 2 hours, think long and hard about how long you expect the virtual attendees to join the meeting. I’ve seen many times where virtual attendees sit on the phone or computer for 8 hours, in an unengaged environment.

Virtual attendees are attendees too – don’t forget about them, engage them! Again, if you want further elaboration, you can go to my video here. In what ways do you engage your virtual attendees?

 

 Photo Credit: ~Aphrodite via photopin cc