Technology has allowed organisations and individuals to stay connected, share knowledge and news and celebrate important life and career achievements. But after more than 18 months, doing just about everything online has really started to take a toll on our health, with many of us feeling varying levels of ‘zoom fatigue’. Plus, there’s the disappointment of having an eagerly awaited in-person event converted to online at the last minute!
We’ve delivered 110 online events (and counting!) since the pandemic began, so we see and understand first-hand the effects of excessive screen-time and the importance of making your online event engaging and stress-free!
With lockdowns and border closures continuing, it looks like we won’t be leaving this online world anytime soon. So, how do we create online events that are as fun as in-person ones, while looking after our health and wellbeing too? Here’s our top tips and ideas for hosting a happy and successful online event:
1. Ease into it
Sometimes we don’t want to get straight down to business… Consider starting your online event with a friendly warm-up activity, opening act or mindfulness exercise to put your guests at ease and out of their lockdown mindset.
We kicked off the #ColourFULL Conference 2020 for Winitha Bonneywith a gentle morning yoga class from Grounded with Gratitude Yogahere
2. Add humour
They say laughter is the best medicine, so why not hire an entertaining MC to instantly lift the mood and make things a little more fun? Having a comedian or well-known personality involved may help attract more attendees to your online event, and its’s a great way to support the arts industry too!
In 2020, we produced Hanging Local Virtual; a series of online cooking challenges with comedians and popular chefs for Western Melbourne Tourism and Victoria University to keep students connected during lockdown. More recently, we also produced the Dean’s Honours Awards and Prizes night for the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, with comedian Lauren Bok co-hosting a fun trivia session (also pictured above).
3. Content is king
Say goodbye to standard PowerPoint presentations! Well-planned and visually attractive content will give your event an extra oomph by maintaining your brand’s personality and reputation and preventing guests from tuning out.
Our talented video production and editing team can help create professionally designed presentations and show reels, incorporating attention grabbing and useful elements such as captions, special effects, videos and animations.
4. Give them options
Variety is the spice of life… Every guest will be looking to interact and gain something different from attending your event. Offering a wide range of tools will allow them to choose and control how and when they engage with you and the other participants. Make sure you offer different options such as video conferencing, text chat, private messaging and group chats.
5. Include mini breaks
For longer events, you might like to incorporate designated breaks and activities throughout the day/s to help separate sessions, topics and speakers. You could provide half-time entertainment (like at the Superbowl!) or a special video presentation to keep guests engaged, while also reminding them to get some much-needed nutrition or fresh air, have a stretch or go to the bathroom.
6. Interactive fun
Audience participation is a great way to keep your guests engaged! We’re always looking for ways to get event attendees actively involved with discussions and feedback, but also with some fun activities too.
To kick off the University of Melbourne’s (UoM) Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT) Awards Night, we held a virtual red carpet where guests got to show off their outfits. This pre-event activity instantly created a relaxed mood and encouraged guests to be more active in the comment box throughout the awards ceremony.
7. Party time
Don’t forget to celebrate! End your event with something uplifting like a live DJ or band performance, magician or comedian. Providing something memorable and light-hearted is a lovely way to say thanks to event participants, and once again a great way to support our performing arts community.
For example, at UoM’s FEIT AwardsDJ Carly
Lockdowns have provided us with the opportunity to research and develop new ways of producing virtual events. We’ve looked beyond the standard platforms and programs, to create our own signature digital event style and have become experts at polished live stream and video production along the way.
Still unsure or wondering about the future of online events? Read our previous blog post to find out whether they’re just a COVID-fad or here to stay: https://bit.ly/3yxGxfr