Rethinking Online Events: Beyond Boring Webinars

by | Thu 18 Apr 2024

Remember that time you found yourself stuck in yet another lifeless webinar, counting down the minutes until you could escape? We’ve all been there. But what if online events could be different? What if they could be so engaging and interactive that attendees leave feeling energized and inspired? As someone who works closely with people in developer relations (DevRel), I understand the importance of creating interactive and educational sessions that resonate with tech audiences. Today, we’re diving into strategies that not only enhance community engagement but also foster a stronger DevRel ecosystem by making every online meetup a valuable touchpoint. These strategies are enriched by real insights from our Community Leadership Core (CLC) members, who shared what makes an online event truly unforgettable.

Setting the Stage: The Power of Pre-Event Prep

Imagine receiving a video right before an event, giving you a sneak peek into what’s in store. This isn’t just any video—it’s a personalized invitation from the host, outlining the key activities and what you’ll gain by attending. This isn’t just helpful—it’s pivotal in setting the tone and building anticipation. So, why not start your event with a bang? Send out that intention video and watch the RSVPs roll in.

Kickoff with a Bang: Icebreakers that Actually Break the Ice

Think back to the most memorable events you’ve attended. Did they start with a mundane “Welcome” speech, or did they kick off with something that made you sit up and take notice? We like to get the party started with an icebreaker that’s actually cool. No more clichéd “tell us your name and fun fact.” Instead, how about a quick round of community trivia or a live poll predicting the session’s outcomes? Make it fun, make it lively, and above all, make it interactive.

Training that Sticks: Short, Sweet, and Interactive

Here’s the scoop: nobody wants to sit through an hour-long lecture. Keep your training segments to 15 minutes max, and follow up immediately with an activity that puts that new knowledge to work. Think of it as “learning by doing” in a virtual setting. Whether it’s a quick breakout session to discuss the key points or a hands-on activity using digital tools, make sure your training is something attendees can immediately apply.

Community Spotlight: Let Your Members Shine

There’s something special about hearing from different voices within your community. Set aside time for a few “community spotlight” moments, where members can share their own experiences or showcase a recent project. Keep these to 3-5 minutes to maintain energy and interest. This not only enriches the session but also strengthens the community bonds.

Harnessing Community Metrics for Better Engagement

Understanding and leveraging community metrics is key to driving successful online events and enhancing community engagement. Here’s how you can use these insights:

  • Pre-Event Engagement: Analyze past participation rates and feedback to tailor content that resonates with your audience.
  • Real-Time Engagement Metrics: During the event, track metrics like participation rates, poll responses, and session engagement to adapt the flow of the event and keep energy high.
  • Post-Event Feedback: After your event wraps up, harnessing the power of post-event feedback becomes crucial. Why not conclude with a quick feedback form? By asking just three simple questions, you can gauge what resonated and what didn’t. This immediate survey collects insights that are essential for refining future events. Informed by community engagement metrics, this feedback loop is invaluable—it ensures that each event is an improvement over the last, continuously enhancing community satisfaction and engagement. Consider this feedback gold; it allows you to tweak and evolve your events, ensuring they consistently meet the mark and keep your community eagerly returning for more.

By closely monitoring community engagement metrics, you can tailor your events to better meet the needs and preferences of your audience, ensuring that each session not only captivates but also actively involves every participant. This strategic approach not only boosts attendance but also increases the overall effectiveness of your community interactions.

Your Turn!

Now that you’ve got a playbook for creating online events that are as engaging as they are informative, what will you try first? Dive into your next event with these strategies, and watch your community’s engagement soar.

TL;DR: Was this article too long for you? Just watch my video on jazzing up your webinars—it’s everything you need in half the time!

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