6 tips and ideas for online events

There you go again, with a cup of coffee in your hand towards that ad hoc furnished room, where the laptop is located. Ready for the online event of the moment, for the online meeting, the webinar, the webcast or the zoom or Teams meeting. All of those terms have been included in everyone's vocabulary in the last six months. These terms have a nasty aftertaste for many. Meetings and discussions via the online options are difficult for many people and use up extra energy. Organizations know this, so how do you motivate the participants to come to the online event… How do you make an online event a pleasant experience for everyone? I'm illusionist and actor and have been performing regularly online in webinars and online events since March 2020. In this blog post I would like to share my tips and ideas for a good online event.

  1. Turn viewers into participants
    The most important tip is the first one. Make sure that viewers do not passively lean backwards into their comfortable office chairs. Involve them in the event. This can be done in all kinds of ways, I often use interactive acts that participants can all perform at home at the same time. This is how you get the closest to a joint experience. Exactly what makes a live event so special. But it can also be done simply with a pre-sent box with parcels. Anyone may open gift number 1, then package number 2 and so on at some point during the event. This way everyone can toast together and everyone has the same crisps. I also try to make my lectures more of a question-and-answer conversation. Then you create an interaction and it is not just sending information.
  2. Talking heads are boring
    If someone just talks, the tension is quickly exhausted. Documentary makers often face this problem. They usually allow the speaker to continue talking while in the meantime something supportive can be seen. Many speakers often think that it is only about the transfer of information. As a theater maker I have learned to show things instead of telling them. 'show don't tell' says the rule. A picture paints a thousand words.
  3. Do not let speakers speak for too long
    Listening to someone for a long time is easier during a live event than during an online event. Tedx clips last only twenty minutes for a reason. The tension arc of screen media is just a bit shorter. So convince speakers that they need to slow down, let them choose the best parts of their talk. Double check also whether the speaker has camera experience. Speaking in front of a live audience requires different expertise than speaking in front of a camera.

Jochem Nooyen - illusionist and speaker

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4. Use the correct medium
Immerse yourself in advance in the online software and in particular what its possibilities are. For example, there is a version of Microsoft Teams, 'Teams live events' where the participants cannot see and hear each other. The host switches between the speakers and only they can be heard and seen. I think this setup does not work well. Because, especially at a live event, you have to be able to see and hear each other. Then you get that joint experience. If a speaker inspires you and you see your colleagues also nod their heads and write something down, it is contagious. In the beginning, Zoom was badly in the news because they did not have their privacy properly organized. They worked very hard on this and it is now one of the safest environments. With the most possibilities. For example, up to a hundred participants can join in a zoom conversation. It goes without saying that every participant needs a good internet connection, places their webcam at eye level, and provides good lighting. For example, you can buy a simple one online ringlight and everything looks nicer immediately. Check always what's in your background. Because that is where the biggest blunder opportunities lie. For example, I recently saw a binder in someone's background entitled 'food and poo scheme'. That made me chuckle and it raised quite a few questions. But in the end I did not dare to ask those questions.

Online performance

5. Break-out rooms like at a live event
A nice idea is to set 'the coffee machine' break-out room as for meetings. Everyone immediately understands that you can gossip there. During a live event, you can create 'the smoking room', then the smokers will meet again there. Of course you can also create a lounge or the chill out room. Or completely exciting 'behind the tent'. You can also create a true festival atmosphere by styling the various break-out rooms. For example, each break-out room has its own artist and the artists play for 10 minutes each. Then there switch between audiences. As an extra, you can also have packages per break-out room that the participants can open at that moment. For example confetti and streamers in the party music tent, and an instant cocktail in the cocktail bar. A bingo card with presents in the bingo hall, et cetera.

Dress to impress
If there is something festive to celebrate, provide a matching dress code on the invitation. If people make more effort in advance for the online event, the experience will automatically increase. So if everyone shows up in cocktail style and festive clothing, it gives a shared experience to all participants.

As an illusionist I currently make regular performances specifically for online events. I create both business meetings where I am asked to freshen up participants with something wonderful and humorous. But I was also allowed to provide shows for the festive variations of online events. When making these shows I am always thinking about how the content fits in with the assignment, but also how I can turn viewers into active participants. A great challenge, from worldwide webinars for CEOs of top companies to spicing up the meeting of a municipality. Fortunately, it was always a success.

Privacy / Infosecurity

How safe are your thoughts? Everything we do online can be followed and traced, but your thoughts are safe… or are they?! In this show, Privacy is just an illusion.
After this lecture:
  • - Your audience will be amazed
  • - They will have had fun and have been part of the show
  • - They will have gained important insights on how important Privacy is for people
  • - It will have become evident that Privacy is far more than just rules and regulations
  • - We will realize that people themselves are often the weakest link in the chain of information security
  • €€€ indication
  • Live and online capabilities

The paradigm shift show

Change your perspective and the world changes along with you. Participants learn how to get a different perspective on coping with changes. We achieve this through humor and amazement.
After this lecture:
  • - Your audience will be amazed
  • - They will have had fun and have been part of the show
  • - They will be able to look at changes differently
  • - They will have gained insight into the different stages of change and resilience
  • This show is also touring in theatres as "De Breinjongleur"
  • €€ indication
  • Live and online capabilities

Integrity show

The vision of integrity through the eyes of an illusionist provides a fresh look on this topic. It playfully makes your audience aware of how important integrity within your organization really is.
After this lecture:
  • - Your audience will be amazed
  • - They will have had fun and have been part of the show
  • - They will deal with integrity issues more conciously
  • - They will have learned how to discover fake news
  • - They will have learned that data leakage can happen to anyone, and how to deal with it or even how to prevent it
  • €€ indication
  • Live and online capabilities

Illusion show

A one-man show by mind illusionist Jochem Nooyen, full of stories, interaction and fun. This show can be flexibly adapted to any theme of your choosing.
After this lecture:
  • - Your audience will be amazed
  • - They will have had fun and have been part of the show
  • - They leave the venue or online session in awe and inspired
  • Adaptable to any theme
  • Provides fun and connection
  • Makes you think
  • € indication
  • Live and online capabilities