Remote working

How to make sure attendees are paying attention during your online event

As online events have largely supplanted in-person ones in popularity during the pandemic, it’s reassuring for businesses delivering online events that they are demonstrably effective. In a survey highlighted by TechRepublic, 92% of respondents deemed video meetings “a good use of time”.

However, in the same research, 85% of employees admitted to multitasking in video meetings, with 44% doing so “very frequently or always”. So, when holding an online event yourself, what can you do to help prevent participants’ attentions from wandering?

Remember that your online events don’t always have to be live

This is especially important to heed in an age when, due to the rise of remote work, companies have had greater leeway to recruit from around the world, including various time zones.

Working hours to one employee could be sleeping hours to a different employee based on the other side of the world. If your target audience – whether comprising workers, customers or both – is a truly global one, a re-recorded event could serve you much better than a live one.

Build interactive features into your live event

Judging from research mentioned by Eventbrite, simply transferring a live event to the online sphere makes people more inclined to actively participate in proceedings.

The findings included that 47% are likelier to ask a question at a virtual event, while 37% prefer speaking to a person in a virtual booth to doing so in a real one. Therefore, you should be careful to choose online tools that would enable you to easily interact with attendees.

Plan pause points where attendees would be able to chime in

There are various means of allowing attendees to make their own contributions to the discussion. For example, you could hold live polls or, from time to time, switch to a live chat facility. However, when exactly should you do these things?

As you script your event, it would be a good idea to look carefully for moments where it would be natural for you to pause and invite viewers to comment or ask questions about the content.

Produce the kind of content that has proved impactful in the past

There’s no way to be certain how any given event will be received. You can, however, at least tip the odds further in your favour if you include content similar to that with a record of attracting a large amount of interest from your target audience.

Using ON24’s Engagement Hub, a customer engagement platform, you would be able to more accurately discern how your online events are received – and thus what approach you should take with your events programme in the future.

Book a genuinely interesting guest speaker

Attendees don’t necessarily have to hear your voice all of the time; you could sometimes hand speaking duties to someone else specially booked for the event.

However, in advance, you should make sure this speaker genuinely knows their stuff and is passionate about openly discussing it, lest boredom potentially set in among your online audience during the guest-speaking slot.