Avoid the Zoom Zombies with these essential top 10 tips! 🧟‍♀️ 💻

Unless you've had a pro-longed digital detox for the last three years, you'll have attended a virtual event. It may have been eLearning, a quiz with friends, a webinar, an online family meet-up during the lockdown, or even via the short-lived House Party app. Here's how to avoid turning your attendees into Zoom Zombies and how to rock your virtual event. 

Before you host your virtual event, ask yourself a few things:

1. Be prepared! Do you have all the information you need for the event? 
Does your group prefer virtual meetings? Is it easier for you attendees to attend online? Sometimes this is a better option if people don't have time to travel or if you don't have a physical space to meet at. 

2. What is the goal of the event? Could this event be an email? 
If the purpose of your event is simply to share information with a group of people, ask yourself if it would make more sense to do it via email. There is nothing worse than being 'talked at' for an hour when you could read the same info at your leisure. We have all attended online events that we have instantly regretted!

(Image credit Dude With Sign)

3. Promote your virtual event
Promote your event well so attendees know when it's happening and how they can participate. Connect with them using the platforms they are using. Is it TikTok? Is it Instagram, or do you need to put notices on the bulletin board in your local community centre or School? Don't forget to remind people that your event is happening! They may have seen your invitation and agreed to attend, but people are busy, and it's easy to forget. A gentle reminder close to the time will help ensure you have as many people there are possible

4. Short and Sweet!
Keep your event short and on point. Ensure you have engaging presenters that enjoy hosting virtual events! Keep the energy up! 

5. Have a Schedule
Have a schedule and stick to it. If you invite people to a 30-minute event that runs for over an hour, the enthusiastic, smiling guests who arrive at your event will look much less interested at the end (if they even stay that long)!. Do your best to give your attendees a positive and fun experience with something insightful and thought-provoking to take away. 

6. Do you have a Running Order? 
It can be as simple as the one below. You should include the start time, what is happening during the event, and details of the speakers and the end time. (attendees love to know the duration of virtual events!)

You can download this template here.

7. What do you want attendees to leave with?
It's always worth considering what you want your attendees to learn or consider after your event. If you want them to take action, make this clear when you finish your event. Tell them clearly what you'd like them to do, whether contacting a local TD, filling in a petition, or attending the next virtual event. Make this really clear and provide links to direct them to. 

8. Choose the right platform to host your virtual event 
You might be a digital ninja but remember, not everyone is! Consider where your attendees will feel the most comfortable. Is it Zoom? Instagram Live? Google Meet? Microsoft Teams or another digital platform? Try to make things easy for everyone attending, and prioritise their needs; ask yourself if this is using the most user-friendly platform. Are there too many technical elements for my attendees to consider? 

9. Choose the right time for your event.
Consider your attendee's schedules. Will they be at School from 9 am – 3:30 pm if it's during the term? If it's a weekday, are they available? What's a good time after dinner but not too late? It's worth taking the time to consider these factors to help you avoid being the only attendee at your own event. You don't want to show up being your awesome self and are left talking into the void. 

10. Engage your audience
Include your audience in your event. Have a discussion and interactive chat function and host an exciting and interactive workshop. Whatever you do, never lecture your audience for an hour. Ask your audience if they are comfortable turning their cameras on when interacting; it makes the experience more personable and user-friendly. 

Team Debrief
Take the time to chat with your team about the event. And how it went for you all and the collaborators. This is a great way to learn what worked and what didn't. This information is valuable; always take it on board when planning future events.  

Enjoy your virtual event! Have fun with it, and your audience will enjoy it too.