Having all your participants facing a computer doesn’t mean you can’t send fun and joviality across the bandwidth. Whether you this is an internal company meeting or an event with stakeholders, Jeremy Lee, a veteran master of ceremonies, has some pointers for you.
Virtual or physical, the principles of elevating engagement and interest in an event or meeting stay the same. You want to deliver a message, fulfil and agenda and elicit engagement. Doing it online just means we’d need to find better ways to leverage on technology.
1. Kill awkward silences with music
Unlike in person, we can create a bit of hubbub with mutterings and speaking under our breaths albeit indecipherably. Online, people just text and no one dares to conquer the soundscape in a meeting unless it’s your turn to speak. Music will always help alleviate the tense atmosphere and it can inject fun into an otherwise dull setting. It’s simple – have a Spotify account (with no ads please!) with the right playlist. Instrumental or café music works for most settings but uptempo tunes will bring up the adrenaline rush during games. During intervals, you can also choose to livestream a band! Read more about how you can bring a live band to your online event in the next article in our series.
2. Let’s play on
Games and activities can still take place and interaction or participation can be done in the chat panel. It might get too noisy for everyone to speak at once, but utilising the chat, whiteboard or share screen function is a good way to solicit response. The chat function is especially helpful to ensure that no one missed what you just said and it’s also a little pat to ask how everyone is doing. Keep instructions and questions simple. E.g have multiple choice answer system or ‘Rate the idea from 1 to 10.’ Be prepared to give commentary and observe the ongoings carefully. Don’t forget to take the occasional pause for them to respond – typing takes time! Be creative with your activities and questions, and you might hear the chuckle behind the muted face boxes.
3. Take it up a professional notch – appoint or engage an emcee
One of five people has the talent to host. Someone spontaneous and responsive would befit. However, a professional emcee can definitely carry it out with panache. Online, the emcee role is mostly as a facilitator or a commentator, and it helps if he or she can add in humour to bring out light-hearted moments. That said, it can be challenging for the host to warm up an audience whose faces you might not be able to see, and voices you aren’t able to hear. The trick is to ‘arrow’ and address specific individuals to answer or respond to your question, as it’s unlikely that people will shout their comments out like in a physical situation. The chat is again an invaluable tool here, especially when they use emojis and informal talk to lighten the mood.
4. Let’s get polling!
Platforms such as kahoot/pollev.com are online quiz and poll sites that can add variety to your event or meeting. They are fun and break the monotony of a one-way presentation, and engage the audience for response. This obviously takes more preparation. But isn’t a good event all about good preparation?
5. Know your stuff, please!
To ensure that your event or meeting goes on smoothly, get familiar with the platform you are using. Whether it’s Zoom, WebEx or Teams, it will help to do a tech run with a couple of people. Ensure your video, sound and screen sharing all work. Set aside a good 30 minutes to have a dry run a day before, and you’ll be more confident when the likelihood of IT problems creeping up to you like a b*tch is eliminated!
THANK YOU for taking the time to read this. This article is made possible with Jeremy Lee’s experience with virtual events and meetings. Hire him as your next virtual event host by contacting us here (email@example.com or 91829278)
Jeremy has had over 10 years of experience hosting a variety of events in Singapore. His engagements include celebratory events like weddings to corporate events such as PR launches and business conventions. He stands out among his peers with his proficiency in both English and Mandarin. In addition, his charming personality and his instant connection with any kind of audience have won him much applause and smiles, on stages both big and small. His notable engagements include hosting for Chingay Singapore, to a crowd of over 5000 participants and hosting National Youth Awards for 3 consecutive years.
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