Virtual events need more than a simple introduction.
After months of [grueling] preparation and trying to shorten your learning curve, your virtual event is finally about to kick off. Your speakers face an empty room, their only companionship a variety of tech equipment and the event staff who will make it all magically work behind the scenes. Participants are scattered around the country [or even the globe] on their devices. Some watch from an office, more watch from home. And as we all know, some watch from the comfort of their couch or bed… still wearing pajamas.
So how do you keep everyone engaged?
How do you encourage humor, energy, and participation?
How do you help make transitions between each segment seamless?
How do you ensure each segment stays on track and on time?
The answer is a virtual emcee.
What is a virtual emcee?
Think of a virtual emcee as the tour guide for your online event. Have you ever hopped on a bus for a sightseeing tour? A tour guide who is knowledgeable, entertaining, and invested in making your experience the best it can be is the difference between an “okay tour” and one that “you tell everyone about.”
A virtual emcee guides remote audience members through a meeting or event, and they can have an enormous impact on audience engagement and attendee participation.
Our very own Brian Fanzo and Jay Baer bring their enormous talents as event hosts and virtual emcees. Having hosted hundreds of online events, their roles are often referred to as being the missing piece in so many virtual meetings, events, and training programs. As Brian puts it, the event host or virtual emcee “connects conversations, builds bridges, and manufactures engagement.” They also advise clients on run-of-show, tech platform selection, presenter coaching, interactive elements, event marketing, and more.
Why should you hire a virtual emcee for your next event?
The goal of any meeting or training is to keep participants engaged. Event organizers and companies face this challenge whether events are in-person or virtual – or a combination of the two. (Hello, hybrid events. We see you.) There is no question that audience engagement is more challenging when the event is virtual. Participants face multiple distractions and the freedom to simply check out at will.
How can event organizers address these challenges? Start with a virtual emcee whose role is to provide continuity and smooth transitions in addition to keeping audiences excited and engaged throughout a program or event.
Here are the benefits of hiring a virtual emcee for your next event.
1. Virtual emcees keep audiences engaged and having fun.
A virtual emcee is a participant’s “constant” as they go through a series of presentations, meetings, or breakout sessions. By bringing energy and excitement, they increase audience engagement and focus.
Virtual emcees provide reinforcement of the overall message and theme of the event, encouraging audience members to take away key points and act on what they’ve learned.
They up the “fun factor” of a meeting or training by facilitating games or activities intended to generate energy, stimulate creativity, or just get people moving.
2. Virtual emcees increase the value of panel discussions and Q&A sessions.
Increase the effectiveness of and participation in discussions and Q&A by having a virtual emcee facilitate. They invite audience members to comment and ask questions, kick-off networking sessions, and facilitate panel discussions. Again, serving as the consistent face participants see throughout the event, virtual emcees maintain the focus and reinforce the theme of the event.
3. Virtual emcees promote event sponsors effectively.
Event sponsors may have concerns about how their company and products will be promoted during a virtual event. They lose the opportunity to interact directly with participants and showcase their products in person. A virtual emcee can allay their fears as they showcase sponsors’ products throughout the event.
Jay Baer loves to get creative with promoting sponsors when he takes on the role of virtual emcee. Some of the ways he provides huge value to event sponsors include:
- A departure from his ever-popular “uniform” of plaid suits. For one event, he wore different gear each day featuring sponsor logos
- Playing several rounds of “Guess the Sponsor” with attendees (with prizes for correct guess)
- Presenting fun polling questions brought to the audience by sponsors – increasing audience engagement and highlighting the sponsors
- Allowing sponsors to choose the music played during breaks and before/after live broadcasts.
Make scheduling a virtual emcee the first item on your to-do list.
A virtual emcee can take your event to another level, maximizing the retention and engagement of remote audiences. Keep sponsors, companies, and attendees satisfied as a virtual emcee guides participants effectively through the event. Create an experience your attendees will talk about!