Engaging with an audience is as important in a virtual environment as it is face to face. Creating a consistent experience and considering ways to connect with attendees will help bridge the gap between a live and digital audience. With the rise of virtual event platforms and their many functionalities, understanding the audience and providing them with the right tools to engage is paramount to the success of any event. ezy virtual events provide the ideal platform for connecting people through; one on one meetings, team building, creating or renewing relationships, interactive presentations etc.
Patrick Rush, Global Director at American Express Global Business Travel, introduced us to 7 types of attendees, ranging from the “A-Student” to the “Fussy Friend” and a cast of familiar characters candidly shared how to earn high marks with them at your next virtual meeting. We now want to share this invaluable intel with you. Which are you and which would you prefer to be?
Persona # 1: A-Student.
This is the ideal attendee. A-Students are super engaged and professional. They willingly participate in all polls and surveys, always have their cameras on during video conferences, and ask thoughtful questions.
How to engage: Share related content before, during, and after the event. Involve them as much as possible during the event by organising polls. Reward their participation through recognition or the use of leaderboards and keep them in mind as possible future speakers.
Persona #2: Slow To Warm Up.
Like the A-Student, the Slow to Warm Up is paying attention. As the name suggests though they won’t be the first to raise their hand. Once they feel comfortable these attendees will engage and contribute to the meeting. Their engagement will be more focused on quality vs quantity. When they speak up fellow attendees will want to listen.
How to engage: Rehearse with them ahead of the event to create a safe and welcoming environment.
Persona #3: Multitasker.
These attendees have good intentions to participate though they struggle to stay focused on the virtual meeting. Their typical behavior is to join a virtual meeting, then minimise the window and work on something else. Their curiosity might lead them back to your meeting if they see or hear anything interesting or unexpected. They will participate in some polls and group discussions but largely only retain the headline.
How to engage: Get them involved by creating compelling content. Constantly reclaim their attention with interesting speakers and request cameras to be turned on during the event. They are also more likely to engage in smaller sessions.
Persona #4: Silent Partner.
This attendee is paying attention and engaging although in a different way than most. Think of them as a mentor or a good friend. They have the meeting owner’s back and will not hesitate to send a direct message with a polite correction or additional example to support the topic being discussed.
How to engage: Let them listen and give them the option to send messages privately. They may not contribute in a chat or Q&A but will engage on a one to one basis.
Persona #5: I Have To Be Here.
Let’s be clear. Whilst these attendees may seem like the A-Student persona at certain points of your meeting, they are not. They are more like C-Student doing the bare minimum to pass the class. If everyone is on video they will be as well, doing bare-minimum head nodding and half-hearted chuckles to float under the radar.
How to engage: Make sure they know why they are there, by displaying a comprehensive programme. They have the potential to advance to an A-Student so you can try to win them over by including a surprise element or making them laugh. They are also more likely to engage in shorter sessions.
Persona #6: Fussy Friend.
This persona has attended a lot of virtual meetings and consider themself an expert. They are engaged and have high expectations to be wowed. They will be the first to let you and everyone else know that there is a typo or that someone is on mute. They ask a lot of questions but some of them may have a negative tone although they mean well.
How to engage: Invite them to join an advisory session/planning committee ahead of the event and give them the option to be engaged within the running of the event (team leader during break-out sessions maybe?).
Persona #7: Out To Lunch.
This attendee has zero intention to pay attention or engage in your meeting. They are there because they answer all RSVPs as they feel they are “supposed to be there”. They are however working on something else or have stepped away from their computer entirely. If they are required to be on video, they will be nodding along and trying to fake engagement but they cannot wait for your meeting to end.
How to engage: Avoid inviting them in the future.
If you are planning to run your own virtual event in the future, why not check out ezy Virtual Events. This innovative virtual event platform is built with SMEs and Associations in mind. The intuitive platform and it's creator's 30+ years of events industry experience produce environmentally friendly events that reach the widest global audiences and create meaningful connections. Whether you are looking to launch or exhibit your new product or service, network with industry peers, host a panel discussion, organise a virtual conference, workshop, or fun event, ezy Virtual Events has the perfect digital solution for you.
So which are you? ........ I am definitely #3 and am going to focus on becoming an A-Student