Using Attendee Avatars for a Better Virtual Event

When you hear “attendee avatars” do blue creatures from a major film come to mind? Or do you picture the audience at your next virtual event? For today’s post, let’s stick to the latter.

Now more than ever, it’s important for your virtual event to stand out. In a world where you can expect your event to be just one of many your attendees will experience in a given month, you want your event to be remembered for the right reasons.

Engagement and interaction

And to run a successful virtual event, your audience needs to be engaged. There are incredible speakers out there who are known for keeping their audience’s unwavering attention. But this can be really tough, even for experienced speakers, if there isn’t an element of interactivity.

Of course, at an in-person event, your audience can interact with one another, raise hands to ask questions, and they generally feel more engaged being in the same room as a presenter.

But as we all know, virtual events are becoming the norm.

So, what can you do to encourage interaction and help your virtual event stand out in a crowded field?

One of our favorite ways of doing this is with attendee avatars. An exciting option includes giving your attendees the ability to create their own avatars. On the other hand, you can also create attendee avatars to get insight into your target audience.

What are attendee avatars?

Think of avatars as 3D alter egos. They’re digital representations of your audience that can be created to look just like them, down to their hair and eye color or even their shoes.

During virtual events, attendee avatars give your audience an exciting and engaging way to interact with one another. They can even be connected to audio so your audience can use their own voice for their avatar.

Attendee avatars can talk, type, ask questions, clap, and perform many of the same actions you’d perform at an in-person event.

You might also think of avatars in a simpler form: as a profile you create for your event audience. This profile helps you determine who your audience is and what they want out of your event.

Before we talk about profiling these avatars to improve your events, let’s talk about why they’re useful in the first place.

Why use attendee avatars

In a rapidly evolving and growing industry, there are new applications for avatars each day.

As far as audiences go, they offer a unique and creative way to involve your audience. Rather than attendees typing questions and answers in a text box, having them first create an avatar and using that to communicate makes the entire process more fun. Your audience is also more likely to interact and engage with other attendees this way.

Not to mention, your virtual event is sure to be unforgettable if it involves attendee avatars!

Virtual meeting avatars

An increasingly common use for attendee avatars is during remote meetings. With attendee avatars, your audience doesn’t need to worry about being on screen or camera connectivity issues. Instead, they can attend the meeting as their avatar and the meeting can be just as effective (and a lot more fun!).

Team-building

Building bonds between team members is still possible during virtual events. With attendee avatars, your audience has a more immersive way to interact with one another.

Often, an audience is more comfortable interacting as their digital self rather than on video, so it fosters open communication which will lead to more discussion and bonding between your team.

While you’re here, don’t miss this post on the six questions you need to ask your keynote speaker before your next virtual event.

Profiling your attendee avatars

When your attendees create their avatars, they enter important information about themselves. As the event organizer or host, you can use this information to create a more engaging and specialized event.

You’ll learn all sorts of things about your attendees by watching them interact and hearing what they have to say.

This includes things like:

  • Their demographics
  • Their preferred communication style
  • What they want to focus on in a presentation
  • Any questions they might have
  • Particular challenges or pain points to focus on

If you’re not using real attendee avatars, try this instead: Create five attendee personas that could attend your next virtual event.

Try to put yourself in their shoes as much as possible and ask yourself what they would want out of a virtual event. As you learn more about possible event attendees, you’ll create a more personalized virtual event that will be memorable for all the reasons you want it to be.

Understanding your audience

Whether you use attendee avatars to help your audience get to know one another and interact or you create your own attendee avatars to help you get to know your audience, they both help ensure your next virtual event is your most successful yet!

Of course, we can help your virtual events be better than ever too. Get in touch with us to find the perfect speaker or expert for your next virtual event.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Nine tips to promote your virtual event effectively
Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute
Six steps for putting on a virtual event that works.

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eSpeakers decries racial inequality in any form. No one should be treated as inferior because of their color or race. And violence never has a place.

We support our friends of all colors and creeds and encourage that in our business practices and in our personal lives.

How To Moderate a Virtual Event

So you’ve been asked to moderate a virtual event. Great! 

Do you know what to do next?

There are so many benefits to moderating a virtual event, from endless networking opportunities to the social media oomph, to the elevated exposure. It’s a chance to really put your best face forward and show the world (or a limited audience) what you’re really made of.

So jumped at the opportunity—good for you. 

Here’s a rundown of what a virtual event moderator does, and a few tips to do the best job you can possibly do.

What does a virtual event moderator do?

Well, during live events, a moderator is responsible for upholding the theme of the event and making sure that the message doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. 

Through involvement and keeping the conversation going, she keeps attendants engaged, excited, and glad to be there. She keeps things moving smoothly from speaker to speaker and workshop to workshop. She makes sure everyone knows what’s going on. 

She’s the point person for the whole event.

All these points are still true when you moderate a virtual event, except all of that movement and communication is done online.

Are you a speaker wanting to expand your portfolio to include online training? Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

Know your technology

So, it goes without saying, if you want to moderate a virtual event successfully, it is vital that you master the platform that the event is hosted on.

You have to know all the ins and outs of the platform and various other media the event is occurring on, including the social media channels.

If the event has a dedicated tech person, you should at least know how to communicate with them quickly and effectively. And yes, you still need to know how to use the technology yourself. If the face of the event doesn’t appear to know what she’s doing and fumbles in front of the audience, it will make the whole thing look bad.

And of course, always test everything in advance.

Know your tools…and use them

Different virtual event hosting platforms, such as Hopin and Whova, have various in-app tools you can use to engage your audience. Use them! If your attendees are able to chat and meet with each other (and you) they will be much more invested in your event. Therefore, when you moderate a virtual event, it’s important to provide spaces for this networking and connection to happen. 

Allow for 15 minutes before each session to allow guests to connect and chat. This will make for a more congenial, comfortable vibe.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

When you moderate a virtual event, it might be tempting to go with the flow and try to be natural for the camera. 

Don’t.

In fact, your mistakes and stumbles will be even more evident and awkward without a huge room to hide behind. So rehearse all your presentations and talks beforehand so all you have to concentrate on is the connection you’re establishing with your audience.  

Promote, promote, promote!

You can’t moderate a virtual event without being a master marketer. Get out there and let everyone know about the amazing event you’re moderating. 

Go beyond just social media. Use email marketing, guest blogging, video promotion, mailouts….anything you can do to get the word out. 

If you need help with your marketing plan for your virtual event, check out this post.

Prepare your audience

Before your virtual event begins, host an orientation talk for your attendees, letting them know how to navigate your event, what they will need technology-wise, and what they can expect. Go over timelines and encourage them to engage with each other in the spaces you’ve provided.

Let the world know

Just because your event is underway, doesn’t mean your marketing job is done. Now is actually the best time to get the word out across social media about what exciting things are happening in your event. Tweet about it, share stories on Instagram…whatever you do, make sure to use hashtags, and involve the attendees inside the event.

Finally…follow up!

Now that it’s all over and the dust has settled, don’t just walk away! Check back in with your attendees in an email blast, inviting them to provide valuable feedback. This will help to make sure that you see their faces at your next event!

It doesn’t need to be intimidating to moderate a virtual event. Just prepare, communicate, use your tools, and follow up. With these simple points in mind, you are on your way to hosting a virtual event to remember.

Finding a speaker who’s comfortable online doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Use our handy virtual speakers’ marketplace tool to find the perfect online speaker. Then contact us to get started.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Get certified! Become a Certified Virtual Presenter.
Virtual event planning: 8 tips to move your event online last minute.
Six questions to ask a keynote speaker before your next virtual event.

Six Questions to Ask A Keynote Speaker Before Your Next Virtual Event

Do you know the right questions to ask a keynote speaker before you book them?

As every event planner knows, the wrong keynote speaker can sink an otherwise impeccably executed virtual event

You got the theme right, you got the platform right, you got all the other presenters and side events right. But at the moment when all butts are in seats to watch the highlight of the whole event, the keynote speech, the wrong tone, or the wrong message can be a disaster. A bad keynote presentation will be the story your attendees take with them when they leave the virtual event. 

And all your hard work will end on a sour note.

In order to avoid this situation, it is absolutely essential that you know the right questions to ask a keynote speaker before you book them. 

If you ask these questions at the outset, you will be sure to hire the right speaker for your virtual event and avoid any mishaps.

Six Questions to Ask a Keynote Speaker For Your Next Virtual Event

1. How will you interact with the audience? 

Virtual presentations don’t have the benefit of the energy of a live audience and speaker. So if you want your audience to feel involved and engaged in the content and message, your speaker needs to know a thing or two about how to interact with a virtual audience. Ask your speaker for specific examples of how they have successfully engaged an audience with positive results. A bored audience will not speak well of your event, or at all. You definitely don’t want that!

2. How will you tailor your presentation to fit this particular audience?

It’s great that your speaker has a powerful message or an animated delivery. But one of the most important questions to ask a keynote speaker is: how are they going to connect with YOUR particular audience? A canned speech can only go so far to connect with people. But your audience all share a common thread, a reason for being there. So how is your keynote speaker going to connect with that reason? 

3. What is the audience going to take away from this speech?

Every experience of value teaches a lesson or at least makes an audience member consider something they’ve never thought of before. So what will be the main takeaways from your keynote speaker’s presentation? Is this takeaway in line with the message, theme, and other content of your event? If this potential keynote speaker’s message is off point, you might want to consider someone else for your virtual event.

4. How will you market this event?

It’s important as a planner to know what sort of promotion this speaker will do for this event. Will their marketing clash with the tone or message of your event? Will it be on the brand? Are they open to letting you take over their marketing strategy for the event? As marketing is so important to the success of a virtual event, it’s really important to know how a speaker will go about it.

5. What do you know about this industry?

If a keynote speaker comes into an event with no knowledge of the industry of the people she’s presenting to, her presentation will come off as shallow and uninformed. She needs to be able to interact with the audience from at least a slightly informed place, and it would be nice if she could adjust her presentation to make sense in the context of that industry. If she can’t relate at all to the people she’s speaking to, she will seem ingenuine. 

6. What sort of technology are you comfortable with? 

One of the most important questions to ask a keynote speaker who is going to do a virtual presentation is: have you done this before? How many times? And what platforms did you use? There is no wiggle-room here; you need an honest, accurate idea of how comfortable this potential speaker is with using various forms of technology. Not to say that you can’t book a speaker who isn’t experienced, you just need to know how much help they will need on-the-day, so you can accurately prepare.  

There are a lot of choices out there for choosing keynote speakers. At eSpeakers, we have the knowledge and experience to help you find the right speaker who is comfortable presenting to a virtual audience. Check out our extensive roster here, and get in touch to see how we can start working for you!

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Nine tips to promote your virtual event effectively
Virtual Event Planning: 8 Tips to Help You Move An Event Online at the Last Minute
Six steps for putting on a virtual event that works.

Ten Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

If you’re like every other event planner in the world right now, you’re scrambling to think of more and better virtual event ideas every day. Online event hosting has become the new normal, whether you were ready for it or not—COVID-19 has turned the events industry (along with pretty much every other industry in the world) on its head. So where have you landed?

Event planning is a competitive business. And every busy event planner knows, you have to stay ahead of the curve to keep landing those contracts. You are expected to knock every event out of the park with innovative new ideas and impressive results. And to do it all with lower and lower budgets.

Online events are no different. With COVID-19, the whole industry was shifted online. Live events will see their day again. But in the meantime, virtual events are on the rise and planners are upping their online game with every one.

Virtual events have less overhead, lower travel costs, and less personnel involved. This leaves a lot of room for over-the-top marketing and investment in stellar speakers and quality content. 

To help you keep ahead of the game, here are some innovative virtual event ideas to keep in your toolbox. You never know when you might need them.

10 virtual event ideas to keep you ahead of the curve

1. Go 3D

Utilize immersive environment technology to create virtual meeting rooms, stages, and other creative locations. It may not be exactly virtual reality, but this alternative presentation will give your attendees a break from the usual format of flat-screen after flat-screen.

2. Get united

Choose a common goal for your event, such as a certain dollar amount raised for a cause. Use this goal in your marketing and keep the message going throughout the event, getting people excited about reaching the goal. Track the progress and shout the results from the mountaintops. This will contribute to a feeling of community and cohesion among your attendants and strengthen the experience of your event, making it more memorable. 

3. Don’t forget to entertain

Live events usually feature entertainment of some sort, such as a musical act, a comedian, or a keynote speaker. So why shouldn’t your virtual event? Schedule live streaming entertainment and promote it as part of your marketing plan.

Speaker: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

4. Use music

Instead of dead air, liven up your waiting rooms with energetic music, and use it during your presentations as well. 

5. Activity breaks

Don’t forget that your participants are spending a large chunk of time in their homes staring at their computer screens so they can attend your event. Break up the event and add some movement by incorporating some health and wellness breaks, such as a scheduled yoga class or guided meditation session. This will keep your attendees from drifting off to get some exercise elsewhere, will lighten the mood and create camaraderie as they share a healthy experience together.

Meditation: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve
A guided meditation session could refresh your attendees during a long event.

Click here for some more virtual event ideas.

6. Get competitive

Shake things up and get people interacting by incorporating some friendly competition into your event. Lead a game that goes on throughout the event, or puzzles or trivia questions that your attendees can respond to in order to earn prizes or rewards. 

7. Live illustrations

There have been some really cool things done with live illustrations at events. You can hire a graphic artist to create illustrations in real-time during presentations or webinars so that your attendees can watch as it evolves and highlights different aspects of your content. At the end of your event, these completed sketches can be used as marketing material or as giveaways or prizes.

8. Use unusual backgrounds

By this time, most people are used to watching webinars hosted in conference rooms, offices, or on stages. Do something a little more unusual such as shooting outdoors or another unpredictable space. Do keep in mind that you should be able to control your audio, so do a soundcheck first to ensure there won’t be any surprises (think wind and passersby). 

9. Go glossy instead of live streaming

Livestreaming is the main mode of presentation for virtual events. But why not invest the time to create pre-recorded sessions instead? While livestreaming is more immediate and can be more interactive by nature, they can also risk being boring and flat if it’s just one person speaking for tens of minutes. A pre-recorded video, on the other hand, can benefit from editing, cutting, and styling which can make for much more interesting, engaging content. If you don’t want your whole event to be pre-recorded, think about incorporating a few shorter elements into your schedule, interspersed with livestreaming. 

Prerecording: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

10. Get creative with your speakers

Sometimes the best choice isn’t the most obvious choice, which is why one of our favorite virtual event ideas is to hire surprising speakers. Search eSpeakers’ virtual speakers’ roster to find a talented online event-savvy speaker for your event.

Online events are here to stay. And just like the live event industry before it, the playing field is going to get ever more competitive and innovative. With these and other virtual event ideas, you can work to keep yourself one step ahead of the pack. 

Happy planning!

Are you a speaker wanting to expand your portfolio to include online training? Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Get certified! Become a Certified Virtual Presenter.
Virtual event planning: 8 tips to move your event online last minute.
Nine tips to promote your online event effectively.

Nine Tips To Promote Your Virtual Event Effectively

Do you know how to promote your virtual event? There are a few things that you have to do to make sure you draw the right audience. Here are nine of them.

How to promote your virtual event

If you’re like a lot of us in the event planning industry, you’ve had to do a lot of hustling in the last few months to quickly recalibrate your business model. You’ve had to remake yourself into a virtual event planner fast because if you didn’t you would sink. You’ve been learning new skills on the fly, and if you’ve been successful, you’ve been able to shift an existing event online or even launch some new ones.

An essential skill to master when planning online events is how to effectively market them. 

Seven steps to remember when you promote your virtual event:

1. Make sure your event will be effective online.

Think about your event’s different aspects, and envision to detail how they will play out in an online atmosphere. What platform will work best? Will people be able to engage? Is this a message that will translate onto a screen in a way that is easy to interpret and participate in? For example, a hands-on workshop might not work online.

2. Get a dedicated website up and running.

If you want to get marketing, you need to have a landing pad first. When you begin to promote your virtual event it’s vital that you have an engaging, informative website for people to go to, and don’t forget to make it searchable using SEO tactics. Spend time making this website a quality place to be because you want your potential participants to spend time there exploring your message and what they will gain by taking part. 

Are you a speaker wanting to expand your portfolio to include online training? Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

3. Brand your event.

Generate excitement and anticipation by branding your event. This means considering who your target audience is and tailoring the look and feel of your branding to suit their tastes and needs. Do a little bit of market research and comparison, and use colors, messages, themes, and fonts that will appeal to who you are marketing to.

4. Blog about it.

Get writing! An important aspect to remember when you promote your event is blog power. If you have a blog, write a post that reflects your excitement about the event. Then share it on social media and contribute it to other blogs as well. You can also get other bloggers to promote your virtual event by writing a guest post on their blogs or asking them to write one and share it with their followers.

5. Make social media work for you.

Using social media doesn’t stop at sharing on your own accounts. Create dedicated accounts for your event across several platforms and get interactive. Participate in online discussions, share lots of content; basically, make your event a consistent presence online that people will start to notice. 

6. Leverage your speakers.

Use the star power of your host or speakers to get the word out. As part of your branding you will have graphics and logos to share; provide them to your speakers and ask them to share them on their own social media platforms. This will spread your marketing net even wider.

Finding a speaker who’s comfortable online doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Use our handy virtual speakers’ marketplace tool to find the perfect online speaker. Then contact us to get started.

7. Make a snappy video.

People love watching videos. Invest some time and money (if you have it) into creating a fun, engaging video that demonstrates what participants will have in store if they register. Share it all over social media and even send it out in your email invite.

8. Get your attendees to market for you.

When your attendees’ register, provide them lots of links and shareable material that they can use to let their own networks know about the awesome event they just signed up for! Word-of-mouth doesn’t need to be face-to-face—if you can leverage social media sharing, it can be an extremely effective way to get people talking about your event. 

9. Don’t drop the ball. 

The day of your event is an incredibly powerful day to continue marketing and generate interest in your next event. Share lots of snippets and highlights throughout the day. This will give people a taste of what they’re missing and will bring lots of attention to you and your team at the same time.

COVID-19 has likely changed the landscape of the events industry for good. There will be a return to live events again, but online events will be more prevalent than they were before the pandemic. Knowing how to effectively promote your virtual event every time will help position you for more success in the future.

Happy planning!

Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Get certified! Become a Certified Virtual Presenter.
Virtual event planning: 8 tips to move your event online last minute.
Ten event planning tips for absolute beginners.

Why I’m (Still) Happy with Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier

Dr. Marie-Hélène Pelletier is a speaker known for helping people take action on anxiety and burnout by increasing resilience and broadening our perspective. Something we could all do right now as we get through these tough times.

Marie shares why she’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” She also shares a powerful message about perspective, and why that’s important today as we try to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome

Why I’m (Still) Happy with Steve Gilliland, CSP, CPAE

Steve Gilliland, CSP, CPAE: a speaker known for his storytelling, comedy, and his ability to help people Enjoy The Ride! Steve’s blueprint to life Enjoy The Ride, helps people examine where they are personally and professionally. Something we could all do right now as we get through these tough times.

Steve shares why he’s still happy and helps you reflect upon your “why” of “Why I’m (Still) Happy.” He also shares a powerful message about the love he and his wife have, and why that’s important today as we try to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So gather your family around, share this video with friends and co-workers, and share on your social media channels. Pass this “Why I’m (Still) Happy” video along because everybody can use some happy. Join the “Why I’m (Still) Happy” movement by subscribing to this channel and making an inspiring comment of hope and appreciation below. #WhyImStillHappy #TogetherAtHome