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10 Ways to Keep Attendees Excited During a Virtual Event

Laurence Tognetti
July 8, 2024

Virtual events have become the cornerstone of networking and connecting with individuals from all over the world. Still, the success of virtual events hinges on keeping attendees engaged throughout the event and hopefully beyond. When attendees are engaged, meaningful and impactful discussions occur, fostering lasting relationships while increasing diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone. 

Here, we will discuss 10 strategies for keeping attendees engaged and excited throughout the virtual event, including gamification, keynote speakers, visual enhancements, and more. This gives you the tools and resources to host fun, exciting, and engaging virtual events for years. 

1. Interactive Polls and Surveys

Encouraging audience participation with live polling is an excellent way to kickstart engagement among your attendees. This enables them to contribute to the virtual event anonymously while providing valuable, real-time feedback that you can use to improve both your current and future virtual events.  

Gathering feedback and insights in real-time by incorporating polls to drive engagement and interaction is a surefire way to keep your attendees engaged and active throughout the virtual event. Polls also serve as excellent jump starters for stirring discussion among attendees and event organizers.  

2. Gamification Elements and Challenges

Using game mechanics like gamification is an excellent way to boost attendee engagement. It creates a safe environment designed for healthy competition while increasing diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone.  

Additionally, implementing challenges and contests throughout the event is an excellent way to maintain a healthy competition environment. It keeps your attendees engaged while making them long for more. This keeps their focus and excitement on the event from beginning to end and gets them excited about future events. 

Finally, offering prizes and incentives for participation and achievement in your gamification is the ultimate way to keep your attendees motivated and engaged throughout the event. Examples of prizes include gift cards, merchandise, and other paraphernalia your attendees can use outside of the event while also getting them excited about future events. 

3. Live Q&A Sessions with Speakers

Virtual events pride themselves on having keynote speakers, and providing opportunities for audience interaction with those speakers enables your attendees to reach new heights of engagement that will maintain their excitement for the current event and future events. 

This includes hosting live Q&A sessions after presentations and providing opportunities to have meaningful and impactful discussions with industry experts and thought leaders that your attendees can use to build upon for personal or professional growth. It is recommended that your attendees come prepared with questions that are either directly related to the talk or the industry. 

Fostering dialogue and discussion through audience questions is a surefire way to keep your attendees excited and engaged throughout the current virtual event and future events. This will increase your engagement metrics while improving diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone. 

4. Virtual Networking Opportunities

Along with speaker engagement, facilitating meaningful connections between attendees is the cornerstone of virtual event experiences and enables them to create impactful discussions with each other and foster lasting relationships.  

This is accomplished by offering structured networking sessions and breakout rooms while incorporating icebreakers and networking games that encourage attendees to engage one-on-one while promoting a healthy and competitive environment for everyone.  

5. Engaging Keynote Speakers and Presenters

As noted above, having live Q&A sessions with guest speakers is an excellent way to encourage engagement with your attendees. Curating dynamic speakers and thought leaders to host these discussions takes these engagements to the next level. This ensures high-quality and engaging presentations that will resonate with your attendees long after the virtual event is over while enabling them to get excited about future events. 

Additionally, leveraging diverse perspectives to capture audience interest is a surefire way to keep your attendees engaged and excited throughout the virtual event. This enables them to connect with individuals with varying interests and goals while maintaining openness to different directions for their own personal and professional growth. 

6. Interactive Workshops and Breakout Sessions

Providing hands-on learning experiences for attendees enables them to stay engaged and excited throughout the virtual event while providing personal and professional growth opportunities for them. These learning experiences can be accomplished either in a one-on-one or group setting while encouraging diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone. 

One method is to encourage collaboration and problem-solving in breakout groups, which provide your attendees with opportunities to engage in team settings and build and foster lasting relationships with individuals from all over the world. Event organizers can prepare these problem-solving activities in advance or through pre-event surveys from your attendees. 

Finally, tailoring workshops to address attendees' needs and interests will enable your attendees to improve their virtual networking skills with individuals in their field while allowing them to enhance their virtual networking skills. This is accomplished through pre-event surveys and emails where your attendees can address their needs and interests and have them incorporated into the virtual event to encourage their personal and professional goals. 

7. Virtual Exhibit Halls and Sponsorship Opportunities

Virtual events provide excellent sponsorship opportunities for companies to showcase their products and services in a virtual environment, enabling them to build their brand while encouraging meaningful and impactful discussions with individuals worldwide. 

This can be accomplished by offering interactive booths and virtual demo sessions that encourage high levels of engagement and discussion regarding the industry or potential employment opportunities for your attendees. This will help build and foster lasting relationships while building your brand and improving diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone. 

Facilitating networking opportunities with sponsors and exhibitors during your virtual event cannot be understated. It provides ample opportunities for your attendees to maximize their engagement experience while improving their networking skills, helping companies build their brand, and providing employment opportunities. 

8. Multimedia and Visual Enhancements

Along with peer-to-peer engagement, virtual events are also successful by incorporating engaging visuals, videos, and animations that provide an extra level of excitement designed to keep your attendees engaged and focused throughout the virtual event and for future virtual events. However, it's essential to use these in moderation, as too many visuals and animations could also have the opposite effect. 

Creating immersive experiences with virtual backgrounds and effects is an excellent way to keep your attendees engaged and focused throughout the virtual event. It also provides them with the same visuals they can use for their own future talks.  

Finally, enhancing presentation slides with dynamic content is a surefire way to keep your attendees' focus throughout the virtual event. This includes the videos above and animations, but they should be used in moderation, so your attendees don't get bored. 

9. Live Entertainment and Performances

Virtual event engagement isn't just limited to one-on-one interactions or keynote speakers, as hosting live music performances, comedy acts, or magic shows are excellent ways to keep your attendees engaged and excited throughout the virtual event through informal environments. 

Additionally, providing entertainment breaks between sessions lets your attendees relax and recharge so they can stay focused and ready for all sessions and features throughout the virtual event. This can include short videos or brief breakout rooms where they can share their experiences with other attendees in an informal setting. 

Finally, engaging attendees with performances tailored to event themes will enable them to become more familiar with the industry or company the virtual event is sponsoring or hosting, providing potential employment opportunities or even for personal or professional growth. 

10. Community Building Activities

Encouraging collaboration and connection among attendees is the cornerstone of the virtual event experience. It provides opportunities for meaningful and impactful discussions, with the goal of fostering relationships and improving networking opportunities for everyone. 

This is accomplished through hosting happy hours, social mixers, or virtual tours throughout the virtual event, but it can also be held before and after the event. To achieve maximum attendance for these gatherings, it is recommended to promote them well in advance through pre-event emails or text messages, so your attendees stay informed with pertinent information. 

Fostering a sense of belonging and inclusivity within the community is the cornerstone of virtual events. These events provide a means for individuals from all over the world to engage in meaningful and impactful discussions while fostering lasting relationships and improving their networking skills.  

Wrap Up

Here, we discussed 10 strategies to keep attendees excited and engaged throughout your virtual event, from impactful speakers to visuals and sponsorship opportunities. Through this, you create a safe and fun environment while promoting meaningful and impactful discussions designed to improve attendee networking skills and foster lasting relationships for everyone. 

While virtual events serve as a cornerstone for networking opportunities and fostering lasting relationships, they are only successful through constant attendee engagement throughout the event and potentially beyond. Through this, you increase diversity, inclusivity, and connectivity for everyone. 

We strongly encourage readers to implement engagement strategies in their next virtual event, as we are confident that such strategies will lead to impactful discussions and foster lasting relationships with individuals worldwide. 

Please contact Chati with any questions or for information regarding virtual event engagement strategies.

Written by Laurence Tognetti

Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran with extensive journalism and science communication experience for various outlets. He specializes in space and astronomy and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ET_Exists.

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