Studies show nearly 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every day. TikTok users spend nearly an hour a day watching videos. And, statistics show the average American consumes nearly four hours a day of television. Is it any wonder why sitting in front of a computer screen for a meeting fails to capture the viewer’s attention?
Some companies and meeting participants have been using virtual conferencing technology for years, while others have been more recently pushed into the scene. For most of 2020, virtual meetings have been the primary way groups of people have collaborated, and the trend, while it will likely slow, isn’t going away.
Articles are already being written about “Zoom fatigue” and the disassociation people are feeling in having virtual rather than live meetings and the impact it’s making on our socialization and mental health.
Innovation and creativity are a way to bust through the fatigue and once again create an engaging meeting environment, even online.
Creative Virtual Meetings
AMI’s virtual creative services partner and President and CEO of edgefactory, Brian Cole, recently shared the “secret formula” for re-engaging participants with virtual events. By using energy, emotion, and edge, he explains how meetings can have the wow factor participants have come to expect from live events, but in the virtual meeting space.
“Everything should be treated like a television broadcast rather than a boring webinar,” Brian begins. By introducing elements that grab participants’ attention and keep them engaged in ways they are already used to, meeting hosts can maximize the event and create a personality and wow that lasts far beyond the event.
In live meetings, energy is often created with walk-in loops on screens, showing images, playing music, and offering countdowns to the meeting start. The same can be true with virtual events, but most people aren’t taking advantage of that waiting screen time.
“Waiting room time is prime real estate that should be used to build up the excitement for the event,” Brian shares. “But the energy doesn’t stop there. To keep engagement, cut to different views, use branded environments, video and sound effects.”
Using title cards that introduce the next speaker and then cut to a video or live feed creates a newscast feel and look that engages participants. Lower thirds, overlays, and thematic or company branding also add interesting visual elements that keep people in front of their screens.
Good events take participants on a journey. Energy and emotion shift and that can be done with changes in music, photos, testimonials, video, and voiceovers.
Imagine coming into a room with loud, energetic music while slides of smiling faces and people working together on a project slide across the screen. Now imagine a video coming on with slow, soft music. The video plays a story of an employee who has just experienced a hardship. Instantly, the emotion changes.
Another way to impact emotion is by using a comedian, celebrity impersonator, or voice-over talent. Humor can redirect the energy and emotion in the room while also keeping everyone engaged and waiting for what’s next.
When creative elements are used in a virtual meeting, they transform the emotion, and therefore the journey for participants.
Being able to be interactive, host Q&A, and provide real-time engagement offers a live event experience on a digital platform. Edge includes using technology and creative elements to bring the virtual event to life.
For example, in a recent Special Olympics virtual event, the presenter was speaking on screen while a second live feed featured an ASL interpreter. Below the presenter was a transcription being provided by a live stenographer. Branded overlays were used in both the main session and the breakout sessions to create uniformity and keep the annual theme front and center.
Using sound effects to create a game show-type environment, using unique shapes and visual elements as containers, and the ability to split screens into many configurations all add interest and edge as well.
As technology and the use of technology has expanded, using content that already exists, such as pre-recorded videos, commercials, and images, allows companies to repurpose content in new ways without requiring a team of videographers and production showing up at their door months before an event.
Virtual meetings are allowing more people to access technology, and event organizers should be using that to their advantage to create amazing online meetings that truly wow participants.
If you are looking for support in creating and managing a virtual event, learn more about how AMI can help, here.