Engagement

Engagement

Discover the secrets to hosting an exciting, engaging virtual or hybrid event experience that has attendees coming back for more.

Virtual Events
Engagement

Driving value co-creation at virtual events: with the attendee, for the attendee

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Attendees are no longer passive bystanders but partners and constituents with the power to co-create content with their community. Here's how organizers can help them express themselves

In 2014, the LEGO Group launched LEGO® Ideas.

The goal was to create a platform where passionate fans and creators could share ideas for LEGO products, give feedback and vote, with the most convincing ideas turned into official LEGO® kits. And as a result, it is why today we have the brilliant Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night, the intimidating Earth Globe, and the iconic Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. These are direct results of co-creation.

What is co-creation and why is it worth reading about

Prahalad and Ramaswamy in their journal article ‘Co‐creating unique value with customers’, define co-creation as “the joint creation of value by the company and the customer; allowing the customer to co-construct the service experience to suit their context.” In simpler terms, it is when a company and a group of its customers, jointly produce something that is mutually valuable.  

The value, it’s important to note,  is in the experience. And as J. Pine and Gilmore put it in their piece ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy,  “An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”

Why is co-creation especially important at virtual events?

In today’s digital-first world, with attention-spans shrinking and Zoom fatigue so prevalent that it has its own page on Wikipedia, consumers need more than traditional audience engagement strategies in return for their attention, time, and energy. That’s where co-creation can make a difference at your virtual events.

Because co-creation involves the participation of stakeholders, they switch from being mere consumers to active contributors. It’s a shift in perspective, but an important one. Attendees are no longer passive bystanders at virtual Stages, listening to speakers present at sessions, and simply watching on.

They now become partners and constituents with the power to co-create content with their community.

This is why Twitch, the American video live streaming service, is incredibly popular - with 30 million daily active users and 2.5 million people watching Twitch streams. Co-creating entertainment is at the heart of its success. “For unfamiliar audiences, Twitch is certainly a platform that is heavy on interaction and different types of input, and that is part of its formula and beauty for dedicated users”,  writes Dr. Nicolle Lamerichs in a paper titled ‘Material Culture on Twitch’. “Each stream is perhaps best read as a community or experience, rather than a content or story. It is in the interaction that Twitch becomes interesting, and in the ways in which audiences actively tune in and out of different streams.

This is the approach to engagement that virtual event organizers now need to adopt.

Three ways to improve co-creation at virtual events

1. Tools to empower co-creation

[Consumers] want to engage, interact and influence brands, seeking to ‘exercise their influence in every part of the business system’ (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Extrapolating this to virtual events means that every single attendee has influence,  so event organizers need to be proactively looking for ways to help them express themselves. To this end, engagement tools in-built on a virtual event platform like the following are invaluable.

  • A Chat function on your virtual event platform for instance enables multiple individuals to have a dialogue. Attendees can let speakers, each other and you as an organizer know what they really think about the content being shared. It also helps to create the effect of a shared experience regardless of how the attendee is joining the event, and in turn, a sense of community. For the individuals involved, the value of contributing to the group chat can be psychological, driving feelings of appreciation, and higher self-esteem.
Example of the Chat tool used at a virtual event
  • A Raise Hands feature (like Zuddl has) that lets an attendee join speakers on the virtual stage to ask them questions directly ‘face-to-face’ and join in conversations in  a way that makes the entire experience more immersive.
An example of the Raise Hand feature used at a virtual event
  • A Q&A tool emboldens attendees to ask questions as part of a group in a way that they might have felt uncomfortable doing so at a traditional in-person event.
Example of the Q&A used at a virtual event
  • Polls in particular actively promote an interactive viewing experience. They maintain that human connection by preserving the in-the-moment experience.
  1. Speakers, for instance, can use a Poll during a session to gauge opinions of attendees, and use the results to steer the direction of the remainder of the session so as to truly drive value and insights for attendees. 
  2. Organizers can leverage Polls as the beginning point of a back-and-forth exchange to collect feedback and market research from attendees and use the input and insights to improve your features, brand or business.
An example of the Polls tool used at a virtual event

2.  “What’s in it for them?” is the question you need to answer

Gamification used at a virtual event

Getting hundreds of attendees to do more than drop by your virtual event platform can be daunting. Not surprisingly, incentivization is one motivation. For virtual event organizers, gamification is the best way to achieve this. Simply put, just like with any point-based game or video game, gamification is the application of elements like the completion of tasks, earning badges, points, rankings, and the setting up of leaderboards with prizes for the toppers to visually encourage participants to achieve goals.

What this means is that you, as the organizer, can use gamification in virtual events to nudge attendees towards meaningful interactions that produces high-quality content and which can boost engagement among a wider audience. It’s a simple and fun way to drive value for all stakeholders - attendees, sponsors, partners, and your organization too. For instance, if the purpose of your event is to highlight a new product at a virtual conference or summit, you can incentivize actions to get feedback from attendees or suggestions on features to help improve it.

Keep in mind though that compensation is not necessarily the only motivator. McKinsey’s research on ten co-creation projects found that most participants  (28%) were  driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, followed by those who were driven by entertainment and social play (26 %), and a third motivated by building skills (26 %). Therefore, using gamification based on these motivations might result in a more valuable experience for attendees and in the long run, for your business.

3. Zero latency is mission critical

There is absolutely no room for live streaming lags or delays at your virtual event. Even a 30 second lag can make the difference between your attendees feeling like they’re watching a great looking Youtube video that gets stuck buffering, or  the intimacy and sense of community created by a speaker/presenter reacting to questions, suggestions and comments by attendees in real time.

The  immediacy provided by a zero lag platform is integral to generating more authentic interactions between co-creators.

To sum up…

Embracing co-creation isn’t easy, but the potential rewards can be significant. If virtual event organizers are able to provide modern consumers with the specialized viewing experience that they’re looking for, it can help build a culture of innovation and collaboration, strong relationships with invested constituents which in turn can result in business benefits down the road. Just ask LEGO.

Culture
Engagement

Bonfire 2022 - A glimpse of the vibrant life at Zuddl

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Zuddl recently held the second edition of its annual offsite, Bonfire 2022. Here's a firsthand account of the experience plus some cool pictures from the event!

Earlier this month, Zuddl concluded the second edition of its annual company offsite event, Bonfire, and this time around, the team was much bigger, and so were the festivities!

For a remote workforce like ours, the annual offsite is a rare chance for each of us to get to know the people we’ve otherwise only interacted with virtually.

A four-day event, Bonfire 2022 had all the ingredients of a power-packed event, starting from leadership and strategy sessions to cultural activities, sports and a whole lot of surprises! Now, for someone like me who has been at Zuddl for about six months now, meeting my remote team (and the extended Zuddl family) in person was a very unique experience. 

Initially, I didn’t know how it would be; there was this slight anxiety, or curiosity rather, as to whether our smooth virtual relationship with each other would translate seamlessly when we all shared the same physical space and picked up on each other’s non-verbal cues. To my surprise, we seemed to hit it off as if we’ve known each other for years.

Once the event concluded,I thought about how that happened. What have we been doing right to see this beautiful outcome? And, what has been the company’s role in helping us achieve this.

Here's why I feel Bonfire 2022 was proof of a company that has managed to establish a healthy culture in this remote reality!

A sense of belonging

The first sign that you organically fit into a community is the fact that you don’t have to make a visible effort to fit in. This seemed to be the general vibe at Bonfire; a genuine ‘coming together’ of people rather than a forced one.

A self-driven team

Whatever session or activity that was handled by a particular team was done with a very authentic flair; there wasn’t an instance where it felt someone was compelled to take up a chunk of responsibility. That speaks volumes of how Zuddl, as a company, has built an environment that doesn’t introduce a sense of distance between different working elements of the company, or the classic ‘hierarchy’ if you will. 

Palpable trust

Let’s admit it, we’ve all been to many professional events or gatherings because we were told to be present - almost like the company in question was ‘taking attendance’. In this aspect, Bonfire 2022 was a breath of fresh air because at no point did anyone ever compel any of us to be present for a session or event; they trusted that we would show up on our own. It’s this element of trust that automatically builds a sense of ownership in an employee. I’ve always felt that when there’s a sense of freedom in the environment, it actually induces employees to respect and uphold the liberty harbored.

A joyful environment

Just like every place has a mood, every community does too. The one thing that struck me overall was that there was a shared experience of happiness when awards were announced and a collective sense of celebration when party time set in. Now, I may be more introverted than the normal individual, but I think even the most extroverted butterfly would agree that there are some crowds you click with, and some you don’t. 

Thankfully for us, we just clicked - and that’s what made Bonfire 2022 a memorable one!

Virtual Events
Engagement

Tips to make your virtual workshops more impactful

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

When it comes to training virtually, there are a different set of challenges and possibilities. Read this article to learn how to make your workshops work for your company!

Have you ever sat through an overly long workshop event and counted down the minutes until it was over? We’ve all been there. With virtual events here to stay, adapting to the changing landscape and learning how to throw a successful online event is of utmost importance.

When it comes to training virtually, a different set of challenges and possibilities exist in this space. Read this article to learn how to make your workshops work for your company!

Be prepared

Being prepared might seem like a no-brainer. However, running a successful workshop takes a lot of planning. A sense of organization and keen focus are key to pulling off an engaging workshop. You’ll need plenty of creative preparation before diving into the day-of agenda. 

Some items to keep in mind that can help promote a smooth, impactful experience:

  • Plan for breakout groups in between sessions
  • Send out any set-up and navigation instructions prior to starting
  • Create and list out your main discussion points
  • Know how to get a hold of technical support if needed 

Choose the right platform

You’ve prepared your pre-workshop checklist, your speakers have been lined up, and you’re ready to host an impactful day of learning. Having the right tools to enable your agenda will make all the difference in making sure attendees feel engaged. 

For virtual events, you’ll want to utilize a platform that enhances the learning experience for all involved. This could mean choosing a platform that allows for in-session chat capabilities to enable participants to ask questions easily and collaborate with each other effortlessly.  Perhaps you’re hosting a large event and need to accommodate numerous attendees. Start off on the right foot by choosing a platform that allows you to do so.

The right platform will look different depending on the event in question. Choosing a platform like Zuddl that brings attendees together seamlessly is a good place to start.  

Get people involved

It can be difficult to sit for hours on end listening to a speaker, regardless of how invested you are in the topic. To that end, having an interactive component during training can be helpful. This could be a group discussion during break times, or it might be something as simple as a group question and answer session at the end of a section.

The more enjoyable an event is, the more memorable the information becomes, thus helping to solidify the information presented. A few ideas on ways to get attendees involved:

  • Rooms for networking sessions
  • Audience surveys or quizzes
  • Interactive games
  • Collaborative brainstorm sessions

Additional tips

Eager to offer even more to your virtual attendees? A few additional options might look like:

  • Offering virtual swag or “a gift bag” much like an in-person event
  • Hire a virtual event entertainer
  • Create a theme around your event
  • Limit the time the actual event runs 
  • Provide food for your virtual attendees

Checking your list…

Remember, a successful training workshop is one that keeps people engaged and learning. By following these few tips, your next event is sure to be an impactful one.

Psst… there are a variety of tools and features on Zuddl to help you provide a valuable online training experience. Feel free to book a demo with us and go over them in real-time!

Engagement

The 4 types of people you'll meet at virtual events

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Have you encountered DOVEs at a virtual event? How about PEACOCKs? Dive into the 4 types of attendees you'll meet at virtual events and also learn how to come up with a strategy that ensures that they all have a great experience at your virtual event.

Know your customers. 

Know your attendees. 

Know thy audience. 

It’s basically the first commandment of good marketing. 

In fact, where there is a marketing team, a blog about the importance of understanding your target audience is sure to be a stone’s throw away (case in point: there are over 38,70,00,000 results on Google about this topic).

But when it comes to understanding the make-up of attendees at virtual or hybrid events, it’s a little more complicated.  

But before you keep reading, let’s pause for a moment. Why exactly is it important to know your audience?

Why it’s important to know your virtual event audience

Today’s virtual event attendees come in all shapes and sizes, and of different ages and countries. They have different pain points, challenges, goals, and desires. And critically, some are digital natives whilst others are digital immigrants. That’s why you can’t treat all of them in the same way.

Going the traditional route with stereotype-based alliterative-named personas might not help because you’ll need to go way beyond basic demographics. Virtual attendees have a complex mix of needs that they’re looking to satisfy at your event, and online and digital behaviours that they expect will be accommodated. More than ever, the name of the game is different strokes for different folks.

But the reality is that while they’re all unique individuals, it’s simply not possible to cater to your attendees at an individual level. Instead, you identify several types of attendees based on their behavioral patterns, and then plan in spaces and content that really resonates with them.

So, what are the different types of attendees you can expect at your virtual event? 

We’ve done the work for you. Keep an eye out for these formidable virtual attendee types’ (we were inspired by Dean Peter’s ‘Dangerous Animals of Product Management’ and make sure you have a strategy in place for each of them.

The different types of attendees you’ll find at your virtual event 

OWL (Obsessed With Learning)

Like their figurative namesake, OWLS are knowledge seekers who value information. They’re at your event to update their professional knowledge and upgrade their skills. They want to delve deep into topics of interest with knowledgeable experts, learn about industry best practices and pick up new tips and tricks that they can put into practice right away.

How to cater to OWLs:

Leverage the capabilities of your virtual event platform to help attendees gain as much knowledge as they hoped. A fantastic line-up is the first step but there’s plenty more you can do:

  • Give attendees the ability to “talk” during sessions! Chat, Polls, Emoji Reactions, and ‘Raise Hand’ have democratized participation. Both introvert and extrovert OWLs can ask questions and chat in real-time with speakers to learn more about topics.
  • Nurture more focused conversations. Set up virtual Rooms for some good ole’ fashioned group discussions, brainstorms, or workshops so that OWLs can ask other attendees about their insights or solutions and further cement their understanding of the topic.
  • Accommodate busy lives and different learning styles. Your OWLs may have a range of learning styles so share content in different formats so everyone can engage with them. For instance, besides sessions and group discussions, set up Expo Booths with videos and downloadable material like guides and checklists so that attendees can absorb content as per their preferences. Also, make video recordings of the sessions available for attendees to watch whenever their schedule allows it. 

MACAW (Most Active Conversationalists At Work)

MACAWs are excited about and effective at building relationships and making connections. You’ll generally find them around or actively participating in group discussions, easily and impressively making conversation with people they’ve met only a few minutes earlier. So the MACAWs at your event want plenty of opportunities to meet and connect with attendees who can help further their business and career.  They have a specific aenda and will actively search for the right people at your event.

How to cater to MACAWs:

Give your attendees an easy way to connect with other attendees (right from their couches!) by organizing plenty of interaction opportunities.  And even better if you find a way to help MACAWs meet the right people who can help them reach their goals: Here’s how you can do this:

  • Create different ways for attendees to connect with each other. From small discussion groups to ice breaker networking sessions, plan in small activities during the event that’ll give MACAWs a foundation for easy conversation.
  • Make networking more effective. Leverage AI-powered matchmaking to maximize the chance of MACAWs being paired with relevant professionals who share similar interests and complementary goals, for conversations that ultimately lead to business leads or employment opportunities.

DOVE (Distracted Online Very Easily)

Distractions abound for the DOVE. As there’s so much to do at home and work,  they’re often found glancing quickly in every direction at tasks that require their attention. You’ll spot them with plenty of tabs open on their screens, switching easily from answering their email to purchasing something on Amazon to working on a office task to replying to a message on their phone. This means that keeping a DOVE’s attention on your event will be challenging. 

How to cater to DOVEs:

Use the features of your virtual event platform to the utmost to grab and retain a DOVE’s  attention and improve ‘virtual event stickiness’:

  • Use gamification to make participation fun! Gamification is a fun and powerful way to nudge <name of birds> towards taking part in more activities at your event by rewarding their actions. For instance, for each poll answered or each question asked, DOVEs can win points or prizes, which will then encourage them to keep participating. Hopefully, over time, you can use gamification to turn these actions into habits, resulting in sustainable engagement.

PEACOCK (Prefers Exclusive And Customized On-brand Content + Keepsakes)

The PEACOCK is a brand fanatic. They’re passionate about all things involving your brand and are the biggest supporters of your business. They’re proud of being a customer and enjoy the status or prestige that comes with it. So when attending your event, they’re expected to be “wowed” by the brand experience you provide. And they’re also looking to be rewarded for their loyalty.  

How to cater to PEACOCKs:  

Create a unique event experience that is rewarding, share-worthy, and memorable. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Customize your virtual venue to be completely on-brand. Completely brand the Stages, networking areas, breakout rooms and Expo Zones  with your designs and colours to amplify your brand and reinforce your messaging. And play your attendees an amazing Welcome Video that looks and feels like a movie trailer to get PEACOCKs excited from the get-go.
  • Give them something to crow about. Share exciting and exclusive news first with PEACOCKs at your virtual event or give them access to high-profile brand ambassadors (imagine setting up a virtual cooking workshop with Nigella Lawson or a virtual meet-and-greet with Rafael Nadal!)or let them be the first to purchase a product from your Expo Booth with one-time-only discounts.  
  • Make them feel appreciated. Gamify activities or actions at the event to let PEACOCKs win brand merchandise or experiences that reinforce brand loyalty.  Giveaway little extras like virtual swag to make them feel special and valued.

Key takeaways

Your virtual event will be full of all kinds of people, each with their own reasons for attending. Some may not fall into any of the four categories mentioned above, while others may fall into more than one. Nevertheless, being aware of these possible types of attendees, knowing what each type wants and how to create a fantastic experience for them will make your event more welcoming, valuable and memorable for everyone.  More than ever, it’s different strokes for different folks. 

Hybrid Events
Engagement

5 issues that can torpedo your hybrid event

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

From audio-video lag to making virtual attendees feel like second class citizens, here's what can ruin your hybrid event - and what to do about it.

You may not be surprised to hear this, but it still bears repeating: hybrid events are here to stay.

With the value of online events having been firmly established over the past year, but with people excited to be able to meet in-person again now,  organizers are going to find themselves hosting more and more in-person events with a virtual component aka. a hybrid event. To put a number on it - 51% of event marketers are convinced that this kind of conference will stay even after the pandemic subsides - simply because they are "pandemic proof.”

What this means is that event  organizers who half-heartedly trifled with the hybrid event format last year, no longer have the luxury to be complacent anymore in getting a hybrid event right. 

And there’s a lot to get right. 

There’s more to curating a hybrid event than just planning your in-person event and then inviting virtual attendees to tune in. At its essence, a hybrid event is all about bringing attendees together, regardless of their location, to enjoy a shared experience.  Easy to read but not so easy to pull off, especially when you’re not aware of basic errors that could derail your entire event.

To help you out, here are 5 mistakes to eschew when you set out to plan your hybrid event. 

1. Choosing an RTMP-streaming dependent hybrid event platform 

Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) is the de facto method for virtual and hybrid event platforms to stream audio, video, and data over the Internet, meaning that event organizers don’t think twice when the event platform partner of their choice uses RTMP streaming. But this is the biggest mistake organizers and planners can make. 

First, RTMP doesn’t allow for two-way communication which means that your virtual attendees will not be able to speak with your in-person speakers or attendees, which means you’re essentially blocking them from fully participating at the event. 

Second, using RTMP causes a 30 second latency issue which means that virtual attendees will continually feel out of the loop and one step behind in-person attendees. So if you did decide to use RTMP streaming, your speakers and attendees at the venue would have to continually wait for 30 seconds for the virtual audience to react.

Just imagine this scenario at your event:

- Scientist X, speaking at the venue: We’re excited to announce this life-saving new medicine!

- Attendees at the venue:  Cheers and applauds wildly

- Meanwhile, virtual attendees: *crickets*

                                                      10 seconds later… Hello? Scientist X? What’s going on?

                                                      20 seconds later…Hello? Hello?

                                                      30 seconds later…Oh

There should never be a latency issue at your hybrid event. Period. 

The need for organizers now, instead of defaulting to RTMP, is to look for a streaming platform that is zero latency-  like Zuddl.

2. Using a hybrid event platform that makes you compromise on branding

A large part of creating a hybrid experience that feels unified and shared is branding, because consistent branding throughout the event, at both the physical venue and your virtual one, ties both experiences together. However, this can be difficult if your hybrid event platform partner doesn’t have the capability to let you brand the hybrid event your way.

Branding, after all, is much more than slapping a logo and your brand colours on the welcome or login page. It’s about being able to create a look and feel that resonates with your brand, and this can be achieved through creative use of image, video and interactivity. 

So when picking your hybrid event platform, look for the branding ability it gives you. Take for example, this schedule page created by the University of Maryland (UMD) for their hybrid Board of Trustees meeting. Not only does it make clever use of UMD branding, but it also showcases the critical role the Foundation plays, and therefore subtly highlights the importance of the event as well.

The virtual event lobby created by the University of Maryland on Zuddl
The University of Maryland's virtual event lobby

“Creating a polished and branded meeting venue was very important for us from the beginning,” says Lindsay Meyers, Senior Director, Office of Special Events. “Being able to curate every aspect of the experience was critical. We wanted to design everything in a way that trustees would immediately feel they had come to the right place, and also capture the energy, professionalism, and pride of previous Foundation board meetings.”

Click here to read more about this hybrid event.

3. Having an ‘if they like it, they will pay attention’ mindset towards engagement

A women sits at a desk with a laptop. On the upper right hand corner, a hand turns a spotlight towards the woman

We’re betting right now that you have at least another three tabs open, and that you’re reading this piece half distracted by an email you need to read,  a conversation on Slack you need to reply to,  or a Netflix show you have on pause. No judgement - we get it. But like you, your attendees too have a world of distraction at the fingertips, which means that you have to actively work towards keeping their attention at your event. 

Curating great content is, of course, essential but it’s engagement that will differentiate your event sessions from a slick documentary on Youtube. Therefore giving your audience a variety of ways to get involved with your event - from Chat and Q&A to Polls - and using  Gamification to encourage them to keep on  participating is critical to keeping them invested. And this is also a way for all your attendees to feel like they’re at the same event.

4. Downplaying the importance of curating experiences for two audiences

You don’t have to create the same experience for your in-person attendees and your virtual ones.  “It’s really about what you can create even if they are different experiences that’ll make that experience worth it for separate audiences,” says Vedha Sayyaparaju, Co-Founder & CTO at Zuddl. 

For example, you wouldn’t ask virtual attendees to sit and watch live sessions for 4-5 hours like in-person audiences are used to doing. Instead you could consider offering live sessions many times so that virtual attendees can join at a time of their convenience but still build off the energy of a live session with an in-person audience. 

And for instance, if in-person attendees were treated to a live and hands-on demonstration of a product, you might offer virtual attendees exclusive opportunities to meet with experts in an online group for discussion. 

Then, you can bring both audiences together by using virtual Rooms that can be joined by in-person attendees via a mobile app and virtual attendees via the platform, for group discussions.

5. Not using analytics to make quick improvements

Two men stand around a girl with a laptop. Above them are a symbol of a graph a lightbulb, and gears

The biggest benefit of a hybrid event is the ability to learn more about attendee actions at your event in real-time. You’ll be able to see which topics are getting the most interest. You can use polls to capture feedback from attendees.  And you’ll be able to tell what collateral is working and what isn’t. This is all very valuable information that you would not be able to source from a traditional in-person event. 

With this information, you can identify small points of difference to amplify and exploit. For example, if you realize that marketing collateral at your virtual expo booths are failing to drive any engagement or generate any leads, you have the ability to change it immediately and monitor the performance. Or you can action immediate offers and follow-up emails to attendees with higher lead scores.

To sum up…

Hybrid events offer event marketers and organizers an unprecedented opportunity to create a formidable engagement and lead generation vehicle by leveraging the best of both in-person and online event mediums. To get started, keep a watch on the 5 hybrid event pitfalls mentioned in this piece, and take immediate actions to thwart them before they become irreversible. 

Engagement
Virtual Events

Keeping burnout at bay: 4 strategies to drive better attendee engagement

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

A packed day of sessions at a virtual event only leads to an endless "sit-and-watch" cycle that will drain attendees and lead to event abandonment. Prevent this from happening by employing this virtual event attendee engagement strategies.

Online burnout. It’s been increasingly cropping up in casual conversation with colleagues and friends, in Forbes articles and LinkedIn thought pieces, to say nothing of Twitter. And it’s no surprise. 

Ever since easing into a remote world of work and a virtual-first way of life, we are now all spending inordinate hours online, attending back-to-back meetings, replying to countless emails and messages, and jumping from tab to tab to tab. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly, leaving you exhausted and unable to focus. Everyone has had at least one of these days.

What does this have to do with virtual event attendees?

It’s the same principle.

Assuming your virtual event runs for 1-2 days, with each day filled with sessions and activities, there’s a high probability that your attendees too will experience online burnout. There’s no point in putting all that time and effort into organizing your virtual event only for your attendees to tune out and drop off during its run. 

It’s clear that while well-meaning virtual event organizers are working hard to make their events unique and worth attending, not all understand that simply having a great line-up is enough; that’s only one part. The other is really paying attention to the attendee experience and doing whatever you can to make sure that they feel engaged and energized throughout the event.

Here’s how to make this happen:

Attendees remember experiences over information. So when you’re organizing your virtual event, look for ways to improve the quality of attendee engagement through strategy and virtual event platform tools. Here are 4 suggestions that are simple to implement :

1.  Vary your content strategy

A “one-size-fits-all” content strategy won’t work anymore given that people prefer to consume content in different ways at different times today. Attendees want to and will consume content in a format, time, and place of their choosing. Some learn by reading, others by listening, some by watching, and some by experiencing, so the content that you offer must be customized to engage this newly empowered attendee. 

This can be accomplished by creatively using the features and capabilities of your virtual event platform. For example:

  • Invite a guest speaker to lead a session on an important topic on a Stage
  • Simultaneously set up Rooms in which small groups can watch the session on Stage whilst discussing it with other attendees
  • Set up an Expo Booth with downloadable material such as PDFs, checklists, guides etc
  • Make video recordings of the session accessible to attendees even after the event ends so they can watch whenever they want

This way, by creating different touchpoints and experiences around your content, your attendees will be able to actively engage in consuming your content according to their preferences.

2.  Get attendees involved 

Let’s be honest. How many times have you drifted off during an online meeting - checked your phone, browsed Netflix, or caught up on chores, etc.? We’re not judging. 

As per the 2020 Amex report, around 54% of event planners have already shifted their focus to enhancing the attendee experience, against the backdrop of virtual fatigue. What this means is that given the tendency for people to disconnect one’s attention, especially when they aren’t speaking, it’s critical for organizers to make attendees still feel involved and integral to virtual event sessions. 

This can be achieved by leveraging your virtual event platform’s engagement tools to turn them from passive viewers to active participants.

Zuddl, for instance, has a variety of tools designed to make attendees an active part of the conversations on Stage:

  • Chat, Q&A, and Polls can make attendees feel like their voice is heard, especially if the questions, comments or results are incorporated into sessions. 
  • Raise Hands lets attendees  talk face-to-face with speakers on stage
  • Emoji reactions are an easy, quick, and fun way for attendees to indicate enthusiasm

The upshot is that these tools help attendees quickly feel like they're part of the proceedings and realize that their voices matter - a simple but powerful way to make them want to continue attending and engaging at your event. 

3. Use gamification to the fullest

Getting your attendees involved in the first place is one thing, keeping them involved is quite another. While attendee engagement tools make it easy for attendees to participate in your virtual event, gamification will encourage them to keep at it. 

Organizers can set up a point system, wherein attendees can earn coins or points by completing actions or activities at the event,  set up a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition, and award prizes to the top performers.

It’s an extraordinarily fun way to remove the drudgery that can come from attending many online sessions, and instead make your attendees feel excited and motivated to keep their focus on the event.

4. Give attendees downtime to recharge

It’s only natural for people to get a bit virtual-ed out so break up a packed day of long sessions with mini-breaks for attendees to recharge their bodies and minds.  Not taking this into consideration is a virtual event planning mistake you’ll want to avoid.

  • Use push notifications on the platform to remind attendees to get up, stretch their legs and make themselves a cup of coffee. 
  • Plan in micro self-care activities, such as yoga or meditation
  •  Set up gaming zones within the virtual venue 

This will definitely earn you goodwill from your attendees and as an added bonus, it will also help to increase attentiveness after the break. Research shows that taking brief mental breaks when faced with long tasks can dramatically improve one’s focus. 

To sum up…

Now more than ever, virtual event organizers need to remember that attendees are already inundated with talking-head programming; they’re looking instead for an exciting, engaging attendee experience that feels valuable and memorable.

A combination of the right strategy and the tools and features of a customizable virtual event platform can help you deliver a memorable attendee experience. Book a demo with Zuddl today to learn more.

Engagement

Design your own virtual or hybrid retreat to build trust & connection

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Team retreats are a great way to build trust, interpersonal connections, collaboration and cohesion - but how do you hold them if your workforce is now hybrid? Here’s everything you need to know


You've probably heard the expression, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” This proverbial saying continues to hold true, even in the age of remote working, and the great pivot to virtual and hybrid workforces. One of the greatest challenges company leaders and organizers face today is building connectivity and cohesion between employees working from different locations, some from the office and others from home.

And one way to do this is through hosting team retreats that bring everyone together to have fun and socialize.

Retreats, as we all know, allow colleagues to relax, recharge, exchange ideas, work through their problems, and get to know each other better. This also leads to organizational benefits, such as a rise in productivity and creativity. 

But how does this work with a hybrid or virtual workforce? How can you plan a company event when some of your attendees are at the physical venue and the others are tuning in virtually? Designing a hybrid or virtual team retreat comes with its own sets of challenges and will require extra planning. But with the right ideas, the right tools, and the right virtual platform, you’ll be able to deliver an experience that everyone will be raving about all year. 

Designing a virtual or hybrid retreat

Virtual or Hybrid Retreat - Zuddl


To start, remember to accommodate the behaviorisms and needs of both your virtual and in-person team members; for one, no one wants to remain glued to their screen for hours on end. You want to reinvigorate your team, not contribute to digital burnout. Your schedule of activities, therefore, requires intentionality and attention to detail. Here are a few tips to help you with this:

1. Plan in a mix of time-sensitive activities and recorded sessions

One of the biggest benefits of organizing a hybrid or virtual retreat is that every employee can participate, regardless of where they are located. But this also means you’ll need to take into account time zones when planning your scheduling to ensure that important activities can be attended by a majority of your team.

So for instance, you can kickstart your retreat with a pre-recorded video of your company’s year so far and major milestones accomplished - a unifying experience for everyone. In fact, we would recommend making all sessions available as recordings so those unable to join live can watch them at their convenience. You can also consider hosting sessions that go live at different times for different time zones, but with the same content.

You’ll also need to plan in activities that bring team members together such as Networking sessions. Give your attendees a variety of options so that they can choose that which is most convenient for them.

Virtual or Hybrid Retreat - Zuddl -1


2. Choose a venue suitable for both in-person and virtual attendees

This can be tricky. Most team or company retreats are usually held at holiday locations, away from the city so that employees can relax and have fun at the beach or mountains. You can still do so, provided you find a venue at the location with the capability and technology to host a hybrid event. 

Remember that you’ll need a space that can accommodate your in-person attendees, and can support a high-quality event production, such as audiovisual equipment, streaming capabilities, reliable Wi-Fi, and on-site experts. Virtual and in-person attendees need to be able to see each other, and talk to each other in real-time. You want to create an experience that is interactive, engaging, and free of buffering issues. The last thing you want is for your virtual attendees to feel like second-class citizens at an event that is all about making everyone feel valued and supported.

Click here to read more about what to look for in a hybrid event venue.

3. Keep things interactive

Central to your hybrid or virtual team retreat is creating spaces and facilitating discussions that are lively, inclusive, and fun - which you can do by leveraging the features of your virtual event platform. Here’s how:

  • Host small group sessions and team-building activities (click here to read some ideas you can steal) by using virtual Breakaway Rooms. You can use these rooms to let virtual and in-person attendees go simply socialize and just chat, or for brainstorming sessions, inter-team roundtable discussions, etc.
Virtual Events with Zuddl


  • Boost team and company camaraderie and cohesion through Networking sessions. If you use a virtual event platform like Zuddl, you’ll be able to employ Smart Networking, which matches attendees based on mutual interests (Click here to read more about Smart Networking in detail). This is a simple way to create authentic 1:1 connections.
  • Make  every attendee feel seen and heard through the use of in-platform attendee engagement tools.  Chat, Polls, Q&A are all simple but powerful ways for everyone to feel  like they are in the same space, ‘seen’, and connected. 
Virtual Meets with Zuddl
Chat, Polls and Q&A are powerful ways to make attendees feel 'seen'


  • Gamify activities to make engagement more fun! Setting points to tasks can nudge your team members into participating more, especially if there’s a reward to those who score the most. Gamifying actions or activities like networking or team challenges is a clever way to motivate your team and make the event experience more productive and fun for everyone. 

4. Give everyone company swag

If you do plan to host your team retreat at a fancy hotel or exotic location, find ways to make virtual attendees feel pampered as well. This could be as simple as sending them meals and gifts that in-person attendees receive such as personalized gift hampers and goodie bags. 

5. Choose the right technology 

For a hybrid or virtual retreat that effectively brings your team together, you first need a virtual platform that can facilitate this. Look for solutions like Zuddl that has a range of features and tools you can use to bridge the gap between in-person and virtual attendees such as Networking or Chat, and that makes the retreat a fun experience for everyone, like Gamification. 

To sum up...

Energized employees, tight-knit teams, fun workplaces - all are essential components of a successful organization. Done right, your hybrid or virtual team retreat can help nurture all three. With the right planning, platform and tools, you will be able to curate a remarkable experience that drives long-lasting value.

Virtual Events
Engagement

Networking not working? Use these 6 ideas to connect virtual event attendees

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

It’s no secret that people attend events with the intention of meeting new professionals in their field, but facilitating these interactions can be challenging. That’s why we’ve come up with 6 simple ideas you can use to curate your attendees and bring the right people together.

If you’re an event organizer or a marketer for your business, you’ll already know that networking is one of the most integral parts of virtual events.

In fact, a survey by Markletic  points to networking being the second most popular reason people choose to attend events, with educational reasons being the first. And it’s easy to understand why.Networking gives you the opportunity to build business relationships and learn more about different industries, and new job prospects. It opens up new doors for your career and business.


However, facilitating this at an event is also one of the trickiest to get right. 

At in-person events, a multitude of factors can result in a networking session proving ineffective. The challenge for organizers has always been to create a space where attendees feel comfortable and confident, and are able to meet the right people. Now, thanks to virtual event platforms like Zuddl, organizers can do exactly that.

But finding a conducive virtual networking platform is just one part of the equation. Organizers need to be creative in coming up with ways to effectively leverage the features of the platform.  Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work already and come up with 6 ways you can boost networking at your next virtual event.

Virtual networking ideas for external events (virtual conferences, trade shows, summits, etc.)

1. Pre-event/Pre-session chat

There’s no rule stating that networking needs to occur at a specific time at your virtual event, so why not start even before your event begins? Create a private space for attendees to connect and chat with each other ahead of the event kickoff. This makes socializing at the virtual event less awkward for attendees.

Creating a pre-event chat can help to take the stress away from having to find someone to talk to at the virtual conference. Connecting with even one other person ahead of time can make attendees feel more comfortable and confident in attending the event and meeting others, and can even embolden them to participate more during the event.


Setting up a pre-session chat is another way to create a low-pressure, fun space where like-minded attendees can make connections.

2. Birds of a feather sessions

Organizing birds of a feather sessions is one of the most effective virtual networking event ideas you could implement. It’s basically hosting a breakout activity that is based on a shared interest during the event.

Similar to the pre-session chat, the birds of a feather session act as an informal and relaxed town hall-like space where like-minded attendees can chat about their interests, leading to potential collaboration. You can choose to invite a speaker to the session to facilitate group discussions, or you can make it more informal and simply encourage attendees to have unconstrained conversations about the topic. 

An important factor to be considered while organizing a BoF session is limiting attendance. This should be an intimate gathering so that every participant is comfortable and can talk easily.

3. Speed Networking

Speed networking, which works in a similar fashion to speed dating but with the advantage of AI-matchmaking, helps attendees connect with the right people at your virtual event.  For this activity, you will need a virtual event platform like Zuddl that has this feature capability (Click here to read more about our Zuddl’s Smart Networking platform feature in detail). 

Prior to entering Speed Networking, attendees will need to fill out profiles on the virtual event platform, that include their interests. When they enter the Speed Networking session, they will then be matched with attendees who share those interests for 1:1 video calls. It’s a great way for attendees to network with those in the same industry, or who are trying to solve the same problems. When matched attendees connect for their meeting, they can skip the small talk and get right down to business.

Speed Networking is great for use at internal events as well as it’s a simple yet effective way to bring together a remote workforce, and build connection and camaraderie. Zuddl, for instance, organizes a Speed Networking session every Friday so that colleagues from different teams who may not have much opportunity to connect and speak throughout the day, can meet and learn about each other. 

4. Pre-event photo competition

This simple activity can be a great way to interject more energy and fun into your online networking events. All you need to do is to ask your attendees to share a photo ahead of time - but keep in mind that this should be in line with your event. For example, if you are organizing a virtual wellness summit, you could ask attendees to share a photo of how they unwind after a long day. 

You can set up an Expo Booth at your virtual event venue (check that your virtual event platform has this feature), at which you can display the photos, and promote a visit to the Booth via social media or email to registered attendees. This way, attendees will be able to learn the names, businesses, and personalities of other attendees before the event begins - and can seek them out for 1:1’s if they spot a potential business collaboration.

Virtual networking ideas for internal events (company offsites, company meetings, team building, etc.)

5. Gamify your event

Gamification is one of the most effective and fun networking ideas on our list because of the way it encourages attendees to get to know each other. Through gamification, you can assign points to specific activities to be carried out by attendees, such as taking part in a group conversation in a Breakaway Room, or connecting with an attendee for a 1:1 video call. And you can award prizes to attendees with the most points!

Using a virtual event platform like Zuddl which has a Gamification feature can make this entire process even easier. Simply create your point distribution list, set up a displayed leaderboard, and you’re ready to go! (Click here to read more about how Zuddl’s gamification takes engagement to the highest level.)

6. Virtual watch parties or karaoke

If you’re looking for a lighthearted and fun way to get colleagues together as your virtual company meeting winds down or during the day when people need a breather from sessions, a virtual watch party or karaoke session might be just the ticket. There’s nothing like singing a terrible rendition of ‘We are the champions’ to bond a group of people together.


While you can run this activity in any virtual meeting space, you might find using a virtual event platform that has Breakout Rooms (like Zuddl) advantageous. In a Room, a small group of people can chat with each other via a video call - but that’s not all. You can also at the same time watch a presentation or video being played on Stage. So, just like a virtual watch party, you can take in a movie and react to it and discuss it in real-time. 

In conclusion...

One of the most integral parts of organizing a virtual event is providing your attendees with an opportunity to network with each other. This can be in different shapes and forms as you can see.  With the virtual networking ideas, we’ve shared, you should be able to create a delightful experience that your attendees will value and remember. 

If you need any help setting up networking at your next event, or want to know more about how to make all aspects of your event more value-driven and effective, just let us know. Talk to our team!

Virtual Events
Engagement

The secret to creating introvert-friendly virtual events for a higher ROI

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Introverts make up at least half of your event attendees yet only a small percentage of event organizers consider introverted needs and behaviorisms when building event design. Read on to learn what strategies you can use to organize a more inclusive event, which can help to make your event ROI more profitable too.

Did you know that introverts make up nearly half the world's population (a recent MBTI® global sample puts it at 56.8%), and therefore form half of an event’s attendees? We’re not surprised if you don’t. It’s a quiet detail that event organizers often overlook; after all, most activities at events are typically high-energy formats and activities that lean towards extroverts.

But when it comes to virtual events, putting the experience of introverts at the core of event planning is important for organizers, in more ways than one. 

Besides the obvious reason that virtual events should be exciting, engaging, and impactful experiences for all attendees, paying a little attention to introverted needs and behaviorisms when building your event design can help to make your event ROI more profitable too.

To this end, there are three statements that organizers need to keep in mind:

  1. The crux of success for a virtual event lies in how engaging it is for attendees.
  1. While extroverts inherently look to form social connections, a trait that lends itself well to virtual events, introverts are known to prefer one-on-one experiences and intimate interactions, according to Psychology Today.
  1. Introverts are truly empowered by digital and virtual platforms. The internet, writes Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, offers introverts “the chance to connect — but in measured doses and from behind a screen.”

Therefore, as a virtual event organizer, understanding how to leverage the features and capabilities of a virtual event platform to better connect and engage with introverts is key to driving better results from the event. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Tools that encourage communication are critical

Think back to the last in-person event you attended. Chances are that when the floor was opened up to audience participation, attendees who wanted to ask a question or offer their commentary were handed a mic and asked to speak up in front of the audience. Not an ideal situation for introverts who usually hate being put on the spot.

Introverts can be critical of their social performance, as per Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, and may even “second-guess what they have said in social settings.” With virtual event platforms, organisers can give introverts tools that make it easy, comfortable and fun for them to share their thoughts and opinions. With the right tools, an introvert will use technology as a way to participate more fully.

Polls, Emoji reactions and text-based Chat help to remove inhibitions to participation that stem from fear of social judgment and self-consciousness. These tools make it far easier for introverts to take part in a discussion and join in on a conversation when they want and choose to; typing a question in a box on a screen, expressing support and enthusiasm via a 😃 , and answering a Poll, may seem like small actions, but they can make introverted attendees feel seen, heard, and most importantly, included.

By ensuring that all your attendees feel comfortable and empowered enough to speak up, you can derive more insight about your event - for instance, you can ask which topics they enjoyed the most, and which they wish had been covered. This can help direct your strategy for future events as well as your content marketing efforts.

Furthermore, attendees whether introverted or extroverted who take the time to respond to Polls or interact in a Chat, are usually engaged and invested. They’re more likely to convert into leads. If attendees use your app or platform tool to express interest or register for sessions, you can capture their data. This in turn contributes to more targeted marketing campaigns, and more effective lead nurturing.

Safe ways and spaces for interaction = more ROI

While extroverts inherently look to form social connections, a trait that lends itself well to virtual events, introverts are known to prefer one-on-one experiences and intimate interactions, according to Psychology Today. If organizers can build their event with this in mind, they can make their introverted attendees feel more confident and empowered to meet and connect with new people. Here are a couple of ways to do this:

Searchable attendee list - Introverts are natural planners, reveals research by Dr. Laurie Helgoe, which helps them ease into social interactions. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t really antisocial; in fact, they can be extremely social — with people they know or want to interact with. That’s why a searchable attendee list, a feature provided by some virtual event platforms, can be such a great way to get them to engage right at the onset. 

Interest-based social Rooms - When attendees walk into an event, they tend to sit with the people they know. So in-person events can make joining cliquey groups and socializing challenging for introverts. Virtual event platforms give organizers a way to make group socializing easier for introverts via Rooms. Interest-based rooms facilitate small group conversations within a larger 10,000+ audience.

These are spaces where introverts can relax and connect with other attendees who share their interests, whether that’s Mutual Stocks or TikTok Trends. Introverts can really open up when they’re truly interested in a topic. With only a limited number of interested people attending, everyone can bring in their experience and knowledge. Furthermore, some platforms like Zuddl even allow attendees to create their own private rooms, invite other attendees, watch sessions together, have discussions and more. All this makes for quality attendee engagement!

Anxiety-free networking - Think of an on-ground event, and it is not surprising to see that most attendees are naturally anxious about going up to someone and striking up a conversation, especially if that person is already conversing with a group. The easier you can make this for introverts at virtual events, the better. Smart Networking is a gamechanger for virtual events in this regard, and one that serves introverts as well as their more gregarious counterparts. It takes the guesswork out of the network-building process and allows attendees to book 1:1 video calls with top matches. (Click here to read more about ature).

This AI-driven feature aids the process of fostering deep and thoughtful interactions, something that is cherished by introverts. Other tools like those that allow attendees to share contact information easily or those that offer the convenience of pre-booking meetings, for instance, can facilitate easier connection and better conversations as well.

Why does this matter for your ROI? 

Firstly, research shows that if a conference attendee can make 10 good connections in the first3 hours, that person is 92% more likely to return to the conference. So, helping your attendees make valuable connections is a no-brainer. 

Second, you can measure which networking activities and/or areas were most popular, as well as specific attendee feedback. 

And third, helping your introverted attendees connect with others is a way for them to feel a part of your community. Community management efforts work to create positive references about the business, drives organic leads and referrals.

Interactive Expo Booths elevates brand awareness and gets you leads

Introverts hate being put on the spot, whether that’s taking part in a conversation or making a decision about a purchase. This is where interactive Expo Booths come in. Unlike in-person events where you have to jostle with a crowd and compete for attention with a salesperson or a company representative, virtual Expo Booths make life much easier for an introverted attendee. 

Introverts can visit Expo Booths to learn more about a company and its offerings. They can watch product demos. They can download marketing materials such as documents, audio/ video clips, website links, surveys, business cards, and more. And, features like the live chat manned by booth staff put introverts in the driver’s seat. Never has it been easier to access info and make a decision.

To sum up...

It is no surprise that virtual events can be a boon for introverts, allowing them to interact, listen, learn and participate at their pact tools in your virtual event platform arsenal, you can not only boost engagement for introverts, but drive more and better-qualified leads and create loyalists. 

While most attendees of your virtual event will fall along the introvert-extrovert spectrum rather than at the two ends of it, planning to maximize engagement with something for everyone isn’t just clever — it makes better business sense too.

Virtual event hosting platforms like Zuddl offer all the features you need to make introverts feel like they’re at home. Find out more with a demo.

Engagement

9 best team building activities to unite your virtual or hybrid workforce

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With virtual and hybrid teams here to stay, the need of the hour is for managers and leaders to bring distributed organizations together. Here are 9 ideas you can use to build trust, camaraderie and connection within your team, and your company.

With the pivot to remote working here to stay, but with businesses also slowly opening up offices again, there’s one question on every company leader’s mind: how do I effectively manage a virtual or hybrid workforce?

It’s not easy keeping your in-person and remote employees in sync. Beyond the day-to-day tasks that need to be completed, managers and leaders need to also figure out how to build connection, trust, camaraderie - all those things essential for team members to work well together.

“The biggest dilemma for us in the current scenario of work from home model is…how to translate the same level of 'belongingness' in the virtual space”, says Anita Bhatia, HR Director for the Times Internet, the digital arm of the Times Group, the largest media conglomerate in India. “[This is important] to ensure seamless engagement, motivation, and retention of our key talent…”

The need of the hour is therefore for managers and leaders to work with purpose towards uniting their team, regardless of whether their colleagues are at the office or are half the world away. Technology can help — but only to an extent. But if you are deliberate about helping your team to bond and build relationships, it can yield great benefits in teams of communication and productivity.

One way to do this is through virtual team building activities. 

But let’s come back to this in a second, and cover the basics first.

Why team building is important for your bottom line

Yes, it’s true that suggesting team building activities for employees is often met with a roll of the eyes, but there’s no doubt that they’re effective.

A study  by Gallup reveals that “Virtual team building activities lead to an  increase in employee engagement  & performance rate, claiming 41% lower absenteeism and 21% higher  profitability.”

These findings are buttressed by a new research from Better Up which show that workplace belonging leads to a 56% increase in job performance.

Team building is central to this. According to the Gensler US Workplace Survey, people see team building as the most important aspect of great workplaces, with 43% choosing ‘promotes team building and collaborate’ as a key attribute, 20% choosing ‘foster camaraderie and fun’ and 18% choosing ‘build social connections and community.’

Now that this is clear, here are some simple but effective  virtual team building activities you can use to strengthen your team.

9 fun virtual team building activities for your hybrid workforce

1. Virtual scavenger hunt

As you’re running this activity for a virtual or hybrid team, keep in mind that you’ll need to try to find items for your list that can be found by colleagues in the office or at home, such as books or keyboards. To up the ante, you set riddles as scavenger hunt clues, for instance “I have a spine, but no bones” (answer: books).

To make it even more creative, your list doesn't have to comprise physical objects - they could be people at the company instead. So your participants will first need to figure out who the person is and then take a picture with them either on-screen or at the office. 


This is one of the best virtual team building games that can also help build inter-company camaraderie.

2. Cultural celebration parties

When you have a diverse workforce, with employees from different parts of the world, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the cultural environment and location where each person works. Cultural celebration parties are a great way to do this. On the day of the celebration, you can decorate the office. 

Your team members whose culture you are celebrating can attend wearing cultural clothing, while others can dress up too in support. They can hold virtual cooking classes to teach others how to cook a national dish, and you can order delivery of the dish to the houses of remote colleagues.


Though these are small activities, they’ll go a long way in making each person feel like they’re part of your company community.

3. Online adventure games

Online games are a fun way for virtual team members to work together to solve puzzles and riddles, usually against a clock. They are great exercises in creative problem solving and collaboration. Some popular options for your to consider:

  • Heist

Your team will have to solve a series of challenges to find the jewels before time runs out. Or, you can take this up a notch and make your team the bad guys who have to escape from the police with the jewels. 

https://try.outbackteambuilding.com/ap-virtual-escape-room/?utm_source=timedoctor 

  • Murder Mystery

Assign a character to each of your team members. They will have to put on fancy costumes, learn about their characters, and solve the clues to identify the murderer. 

4. Virtual house tours

A virtual house tour is a fun way to let your team members show off their creativity and personality! Each week, ask a different team member to take the others on a virtual tour of their house. To make this even more entertaining, everyone can present their homes in the style of MTV Cribs or Architectural Digest just like celebrities do.  

This activity allows team members to learn about each other on a more personal level and see colleagues as parents and hobbyists too.  It deepens relationships and fosters greater understanding.

5. Virtual deserted island game

You’ve probably played this one before as it’s a classic team building activity for employees. Ask team members to pretend that they are stranded on a deserted island with an object that each possesses (distributed from a list or picked on their own). They will then need to work together to come up with creative ways to combine the various objects to improve their chances of survival. Working together in unfamiliar territory has a way of creating bonds that cannot be created in any other way.

6. 20 questions

This is another classic, although there are different variations. 

Ask each employee to choose an item and tell everyone what category it belongs to (for instance, if they choose ‘ball’ as an item, then the category will be sporting equipment). Everyone else must guess the item by asking 20 yes or no questions. You can award points based on how many questions it took for the team member to guess the item. It is a simple game that can be played during a tea time break. 

7. Two truths and a lie

This is another fun and light-hearted team building activity. To play this game, ask team members to write down three statements - two that are the truth and one that is a lie. Each team member will read their statements aloud in a random order, and the other participants will need to guess which one is the lie.  The winner of the game is the team member whose lie wasn’t caught. 

It’s a fun activity that’s a lot of laughs and helps your team learn more about each other too!

8. Idea workshops

The aim of organizing an idea workshop is to give your team a platform where they can brainstorm and work together to solve a problem. 

It could be something that solves a problem the team or the company is facing. Or it could be a more lighthearted workshop wherein your team discusses ideas to make the company more fun - perhaps debating the merits of a pool table or casual Fridays. 

9. Lunch and learn!

Eating lunch together is a simple way to strengthen the connections between hybrid team members. You can order a catered lunch for employees at the office, and food delivery for virtual teammates. As everyone eats their meal, they can relax and socialize. 

In conclusion...

It takes effort to nurture communication and camaraderie among virtual or hybrid teams, but by using team-building activities such as the ones mentioned in this article, you can turn your distributed team into a well-functioning unit. 

Virtual Events
Engagement

Solve 6 Key Challenges of Virtual Events with Zuddl

6
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

Learn what the six key elements missing from most virtual events are and how Zuddl can help address these issues.


From training sessions and team huddles to business conferences and networking events, everything has turned digital — and events are no exception.

For businesses, virtual events have become an avenue to stay connected in a still largely remote world. And the success that organizers have seen from virtual events is evident by the fact that 65% of marketers now plan to reallocate most of their live budget events towards organizing virtual events. 

But hosting a memorable virtual event is no cakewalk.

The long-drawn process of researching, strategizing, rehearsing, and conducting an event requires intensive effort. Bridging the gap between an offline and online event to give your audience a memorable time is perhaps the biggest challenge organizers face today.

Besides, it’s difficult to optimize your efforts for measurable results without the right event management software. Enter Zuddl – a 100% customizable event management solution for event organization and management. From summits to company offsites, conferences to virtual offices, we’ve helped our clients host incredible events by ensuring that key elements are addressed. 

Read on to learn what are the 6 key challenges of virtual events and how Zuddl can help address these issues.  

1. Audience engagement

How often have you found yourself wondering "when will this be over" while attending an online event? You’re not the only one feeling bored listening to one speaker after the other.

Even the most intricately planned virtual events can turn dull without the right tools to keep attendees engaged. And keep in mind that you’re already fighting for your attendees’ attention. With distractions like email, online shopping, and social media platforms just a tab away, you’ll need your event to be more attention-grabbing than anything else.


The bottom line is — if you don’t involve your audience in the event, their participation levels are bound to dip gradually, which directly impacts event success and retention.

Fix it with Zuddl

The platform enables organizers to boost participation and attendee engagement using a variety of tools. With them, you can encourage group discussions, invite people on stage, gamify your event, and more. Here are some of our most popular engagement features:

  • Gamification: With this, you can incentivize participation and encourage your audience to take part in your event more. By assigning points to actions such as asking questions, answering polls, visiting booths, and awarding those on the top of the leaderboard, you make engagement fun and valuable. 
  • Live polls: Everyone has a voice. Using polls, you can give your audience a chance to share their views and make them feel valued. 
  • Join the stage: Replicate the in-person experience with this unique feature that lets attendees join the stage alongside speakers to ask them questions.
  • Breakout rooms: Create the perfect atmosphere for attendees to interact within small groups, drive meaningful conversations, and network in Rooms.

2. Effective lead capturing

Events are an effective marketing tool so it’s a no-brainer that being able to track the number of leads or demo requests, etc. is critical. But this has always been difficult to do at in-person events. And at the same time, organizers have struggled to find avenues to drive lead generation at virtual events because of a lack of opportunities to give product demos, and address visitors face-to-face. 

Many events end up as nothing more than a lengthy video stream with no interaction among the audience, which hurts your ROI. (Click here to read more about how exactly do go about calculating ROI at your virtual or hybrid event)

Fix it with Zuddl

With Zuddl, you have the ability to customize your very own Expo Booth, and to give your partners and sponsors the opportunity to do so too. Here’s how booth features help with your lead generation:

  • Tiered sizes: Have the ability to choose from booths of three sizes with different customizations and options for configurability, branding, and messaging.
  • Showcase your brand: With widgets like videos, image carousels, files, and call-to-action buttons, you can play attendees product demos,  share marketing collateral with them, as well as exclusive perks like coupons. 
  • Live booth staff: A live representative can staff the booth and connect 1:1 via video call with your attendees to immediately answer any questions or doubts, and drive more interest in your products. That human connection is invaluable. 
  • Register interest: Participants have a ‘register interest’ button to convey their interest in any brand in a booth. Once a participant has registered their interest in your booth, you’ll be able to see their name and email address which can effectively help you run more targeted post-event lead nurturing campaigns.

3. Lack of proper control for organizers

Organizing an event - any event - with hundreds and thousands of participants is never easy. Besides bringing so many people together, running an event seamlessly is a daunting task. 

Platforms like Zoom and Google Meet don't offer the intuitive control you'd expect for maintaining the rhythm of your event And while event management platforms give you far more control over how your event pans out, using the software in itself is a challenge.

Fix it with Zuddl

With Zuddl, you can steer the flow of your event with ease and confidence. Organize meetings, conferences, and summits of any capacity with Zuddl's intricate and easy-to-navigate moderator features.

  • Completely self-serve: Zuddl is 100% customizable, meaning that you can customize every aspect of your event, from lobby to networking. There’s no coding required at all.
  • Virtual backstage setup: Ensure everything goes as per the schedule with intuitive backstage for every live session. Give your speakers a space to practice and do a quick run-through before going live.
  • Manage multiple sessions: You can easily oversee different live sessions with a separate backstage setting for each session. Experience the backstage feel of an offline event with the control options to manage every detail of the session.
  • Seamless control: Make your live events power-packed with pre-recorded videos, panel discussions, product launches, and presentations. Display these elements with moderator control for all your stages.

4.  Result-oriented and seamless pre-event marketing

With pre-event marketing, your goal is to increase registrations for your event while also generating more and more interest in it. 

To achieve this, your marketing efforts should essentially focus on creating curiosity about the event while making it easy for the audience to register. However, carrying out event-related activities manually can become time-consuming and chaotic with a lot of planning and data handling. 

Most event platforms only ‘step in’ after the pre-event phase, leaving organizers stressing out about how to integrate their registrations with email marketing with the event software. It can be a huge mess.

Fix it with Zuddl

From creating appealing landing pages to convenient registration and reminders, Zuddl offers an easy and efficient alternative to take care of your end-to-end pre-event formalities. And thanks to ticketing and email integrations, you can manage registrations and pre-event marketing easily and seamlessly within one platform.

  • Landing pages: You can create customized landing pages and share all relevant information about the event. Drive your audience to this page and increase registrations.
  • Ticketing: Create customized tickets based on the days and sessions people wish to attend. With the ticket customization feature, you can offer your audience the choice to register only for the days or sessions of their interest.  
  • Email integrations: Send your registered participants announcements, reminders, and countdown emails before the event to keep them updated and ensure maximum participation. 

5.    Storyboard and presentation options

The lack of attractive presentation options is another critical challenge for virtual events, directly impacting audience retention. 

Most virtual speakers deliver their talks with a presentation. But research shows that 79% of people believe presentations are boring.

Without an immersive setup to present visual content, you miss out on opportunities to make your event more interactive and impactful.

Fix it with Zuddl

Zuddl offers game-changing features to deliver content in a virtual setting. You can use multiple formats for your sessions, allow speakers to share their presentations and content easily, and transition between images and videos with ease—taking your events a level high above boring presentations.

  • Play pre-recorded content: Add pre-recorded videos to your event to make it more accessible for participants and speakers from varying time zones. 
  • Smooth transition: Whether it’s an image overlay or a push video, keep your attendees engaged in between sessions or speakers.
  • Zero lag: Audio-video lags have no place at a virtual event. Thanks to zero lag at Zuddl, you’ll be able to live-stream and share content with no glitches, buffering, or audio issues. Offer a seamless experience to your speakers and audience alike. 

6. Event management and coordination

A significant reason why organizers avoid event management software is the struggle of operating the tool. A lack of tech support from the company only adds to the inconvenience.

With little knowledge of the tool, you can neither make the best use of it for planning your event nor help your participants with any queries. Besides, any glitches during the live event can end up spoiling the entire experience.

Fix it with Zuddl

The Zuddl team offers you support throughout the entirety of your event —before, during, and after. 

The platform was designed and built by leaders in the event industry; our CEO Bharath Varma used to run an event management agency called Phoenix Live which hosted live events for companies like Microsoft, Deloitte, Google etc. So we know how important it is for you to have a partner who counts your success as our own.

From onboarding to a knowledge base to assistance during your live event, the team is always there to help.

In conclusion…

Virtual events are a key ingredient of any marketing and lead generation strategy. Hosting an unforgettable online event can do wonders for your brand. So before planning your next event, think about how you can include these six elements and make your event flawless.

While the backend process of planning the details of your event can be taxing, the right event management software can help you host the event of your dreams. Ideally, the software should allow you to engage with your audiences, organize multiple sessions simultaneously, and offer seamless control of the live show.

With Zuddl, you have a simple and efficient solution to ease the process and your experience of running the show! We’d love to show you a live demo of the platform. Just click here to set up a time to chat with us.

Virtual Events
Engagement

6 ways to support, engage and motivate remote teams with virtual platforms

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With the rise of remote work, it’s become more important than ever for organizations to support and motivate employees, and keep them in synch. Here’s how virtual platforms can help.

Everyone knows that our world of work has forever changed. The massive pivot to remote working a year ago has shown business owners that employees are as productive when they are working from home as when they were in an office. In fact, according to a Great Place to Work study, remote work productivity was stable or increased when working remotely from home, according to a 2-year study of 800,000 employees.

So it’s no surprise then, that according to a study by Enterprise Technology Research, the percentage of workers who are permanently working from home is expected to double this year. Clearly, remote work is here to stay, which means that platforms and tools that facilitate communication, collaboration, and community are more important than ever.

Now, with great platforms come great capabilities - but only if you know how best to leverage them towards supporting your remote workforce. So first, it’s important to identify the ways in which your employees need to be supported.

Research shows that working from home has its own set of challenges for workers. For instance, being always accessible by technology has led to the blurring of work and home life, which contributes to burnout. Or a lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues can contribute to a feeling of isolation, which can negatively affect collaboration and motivation.

What’s needed to deal with these challenges are clear: empathy, support, communication, rapport . And to this end, virtual platforms can help. Here’s how:

Hold interactive sessions with employees

When you don’t have any in-person office parties, coffee breaks, watercooler hangouts to bring employees together, virtual event platforms can come to the rescue - in a way that tools like Slack cannot.

In a Medium post, software programmer Alicia Liu wrote last year about how the ease of using Slack can actually result in lower quality communication. She comments, “[it’s] far too easy for everyone to default to using Slack for communicating, even for all the myriad things that don’t make sense to use Slack to communicate…” So by defaulting to dropping a message onto Slack channels, and responding via emojis, all the work you would otherwise put into building cohesion and trust with your colleagues when you were in an office, disappears. 

That’s  why virtual platforms like Zuddl are so important. With platforms like these,  you can host virtual events, as well as create a virtual office space.  Within this virtual workspace, you can set up areas for different interactive  employee engagement activities, and build interpersonal relationships.

The best thing about Rooms is how versatile they are. You can use them to hold different sorts of fun, interactive activities with employees. For example:

  • Virtual watercoolers
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Project discussions
  • Daily standups
  • Movie nights
  • Trivia nights
  • Coffee-break hangouts
  • Or even for karaoke session!

But remember, a helpful virtual event platform is only one part. It’ll take dedication from leaders in the organization to bring everyone together to overcome distance, both physical and figurative.

Recognize and appreciate a job well done

It feels great when your manager or colleagues appreciate your effort and hard work in reaching a target or goal, right?

Not only do you feel encouraged and motivated, but also more connected to your team. In fact, a lack of recognition at work can lead to increased stress and anxiety, and can lead employees to quit. 

Case in point: a whopping 44% of employees switched jobs because they didn’t receive any recognition or reward, according to this Achievers study. And in another study, it was found that 40% of employees said they would put more energy into their work if they were appreciated more often.

That’s where a virtual engagement platform comes in. Virtual appreciation makes your remote workers feel seen, and valued - and you can do this in a variety of ways on a platform:

  • Host a virtual party to celebrate birthdays or work anniversaries
  • Plan an employee appreciation day, and use the virtual event platform to make the celebration special, by for instance setting up an Expo Booth celebrating Employees of the Month, or creating small videos thanking an employee for their effort.

A little appreciation can go a long way!

Make your employee onboarding amazing

Employee engagement platforms can make the onboarding process an easy and fun one. Instead of walking an employee around the office and introducing them to countless people as you would pre-pandemic, you can now host a mass onboarding event. This may sound impersonal, but it’s actually not. 

With a virtual event platform, you can 

  • Easily set up a meeting Room for new joinees and hold an intro and Q&A session for them.
  • Direct them to meetings with their teams held in adjacent Rooms.
  • Set up a branded expo booth that presents the company’s story, values, norms, and team achievements 
  • Set up another expo booth that acts as a repository for information or documents that are important to new and current employees alike, and can be downloaded, such as a holiday list, procedure documents, reimbursement format sheets etc.
  • Or set up a photo gallery booth to give employees a trip down memory lane with videos of photos of events, team building activities, conferences, CSR activities, etc. conducted throughout the year

Don’t squander the opportunity to make a great impression that will stay with new employees for the duration of their careers.

Use gamification to make even mundane meetings fun 

Remember pre-pandemic meetings? We’re guessing that half of your colleagues felt that the meetings held were a waste of time, while the other half felt that they were anxiety-inducing. Remote working has helped a little on this front. Now, asynchronous and synchronous communication has cut down the need for many, many meetings, and people who do attend meetings can do so with their mics and videos off, speaking only when they need to. 

While that’s all well and good, it does raise the question of how effective virtual meetings held among remote workforces are. With everyone now hiding behind their screens, it makes it difficult to know whether or not they’re actually “attending” the meeting.

With virtual engagement platforms like Zuddl, you can use Gamification to make meetings actually fun to participate in. Gamification lets you add game mechanics to the virtual meeting, allowing you to award points to colleagues for completing tasks, such as asking questions, answering a team poll, doing quick research tasks, ie. actively participating in the meeting. You can award the top three on the virtual leader board with gift coupons or something of the sort. After all, everyone is happy to have their efforts recognized.

Make it easy for employees to get to know each other

Using AI-powered matchmaking, companies can organize inter-company smart networking events. This is a fun and easy way for employees to meet colleagues they normally would have not had the opportunity to meet in person. And it helps every one to get to know each other just a little bit better beyond just their work roles. This can help build trust amongst teams, and across the organization. Win-win.

And what’s work without a little play

Everyone needs to take a break in between tasks, so give your remote workforce ways to relax and re-energize.

For instance, you can set up a gaming zone on your virtual meeting platform. Employees can let off some steam by playing games before refocusing on tasks.

Or keep energy high by using Stages to host a variety of entertainment, whether that’s performances by musicians, speeches by leaders in the field, quiz nights, movie nights, and more.

In conclusion…

As  the workplace itself continues to be redefined, companies need to be a  support system for their remote workforce as they navigate uncertainty. To  this end, employers and managers can use virtual platforms like Zuddl to keep  remote employees in sync and motivated. Talk to one of our experts  today on how you can use our platform to improve employee well-being, improve attendee engagement and  perform better as team members and collaborators.

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