Meetings

Five Unique Experiences to Consider Adding to Virtual Events

By / Oct 1, 2020 You can add a goat to your next Zoom meeting. Really. (michelangeloop/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

If you’re looking to create a memorable virtual conference, here are five ideas for injecting some fun—and even animals—into the attendee experience.

Here’s something we all know about virtual attendees by now: They don’t just want to sit in front of their computer all day watching speaker after speaker. So, what can you do to spice things up?

Back in June, I wrote about some ways associations could surprise and delight their attendees in the virtual space. And I also spent some time discussing how to create informal online networking opportunities.

I’ve come across so many other ideas and possibilities since then that I wanted to share some of the more unique ones. Here are five of those:

Guest goat. Looking to add a new face to your meeting—and maybe not a human one? Well, Sweet Farm, a nonprofit animal sanctuary, could be the perfect option for you. Sign up for its Goat-2-Meeting experience, and Paco the llama, Juno the goat, Magnolia the cow, or Steve the rooster could join on camera. Also included is tour of the farm by one of its guides.

Snap a pic. There’s usually a line at the photo booth at every in-person event. And while you may think this is one element that has to go by the wayside in the virtual environment, think again. There are plenty of options out there that will allow participants to create and share fun photos and animated GIFs. Plus, associations can add their own branding and other customized overlays.

Go on an escape. While attendees aren’t traveling to your meeting, that doesn’t mean they can’t slip into a different environment during your event and do some teambuilding at the same time. One option is a virtual escape room where attendees are broken up into teams and have to solve problems or answer clues to unlock the “virtual door.” Companies like Play With a Purpose can create custom escape rooms that are directly tied to an event’s sessions or goals. In an interview with Successful Meetings, CEO Sharon Fisher talked about building a custom game this summer for a financial services company. “That entire game was based on the content of the meeting,” she said. “So, they had to not only be able to answer some questions about the content, but also apply it and show that they understood a way to use it in their world before they could get the answers and solve the challenge.”

Musical notes. In a previous post, I mentioned the “Daily Kazoom” that took place during the joint meeting of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and the Association of Genetic Technologists. But there are several other ways to bring a musical element to your virtual conference. One idea is to have attendees write a song—a remote team anthem—with the help of a world-class musician. And another is to host a virtual karaoke party.

Share a meal. For INFLUENCE 2020, the National Speakers Associations hosted digital dine-arounds where attendees could sit down for a casual mealtime conversation with NSA luminaries, including current board members, past presidents, and award winners.

What fun elements have your added to your virtual events? Please share in the comments below.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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