How to Incorporate Entertainment into Virtual Meetings
By Beth Buehler
Seeing entertainment seamlessly integrated into the agenda for Destination Colorado’s first-ever virtual Colorado Meetings Showcase in December 2020 made me want to find out more about how to incorporate entertainment into virtual meetings. It transformed the online trade show into an experience.
Denver-based, Imprint Group, handled the entertainment side of the 2020 Colorado Meetings Showcase and Nicole Marsh, a partner at the firm and “keeper of calm,” shared her thoughts on the topic.
Destination Colorado: Are you seeing entertainment being integrated into virtual meetings?
Nicole Marsh: Yes, especially within longer full-day or multi-day meetings.
DC: Do you think entertainment adds to virtual meetings? Why or why not?
NM: Just as you would break up content in a live meeting with entertainment or a lighter-topic speaker/presentation, we are adding entertainment to reengage attendees and provide a little brain break to help prevent “Zoom fatigue.” The entertainment adds an element of fun back into the meeting versus it all being work-related content.
DC: Do you have any tips for including entertainment in virtual meetings regarding the planning, technology, placement on agenda, etc.?
NM: A couple tips to share when adding entertainment are to add it to an existing session versus having people leave and come back to the entertainment or to log into a new meeting to see the content. You risk the chance of losing attendees if it is not attached to something else. Also, it is just as important to do your tech checks and rehearsals with the entertainment as it is with your presenters and speakers. Be sure the entertainment has previously performed virtually and that they have adjusted their content or delivery for a virtual audience. Finally, anywhere you can incorporate interaction with your attendees, do so! This will keep them engaged and provide a better experience all around.
DC: Are these virtual meetings with entertainment all virtual or a hybrid combination? NM: Entertainment can be incorporated into both 100 percent virtual as well as hybrid meetings. If it is a hybrid meeting, be sure to plan for how each audience is experiencing the entertainment and make sure it makes sense and works well in both settings. Again, the audio/video component should be tested and rehearsed whenever possible. It would be a shame for it to fall flat for one audience and only be geared toward the other.
DC: Is there a certain online platform(s) that works best to support having entertainment as part of a virtual meeting?
NM: No, there is not a certain platform that works better to support entertainment. The consideration would be in the format of a meeting, webinar, live or recorded stream, etc. as to the amount of interaction your audience can have with the entertainment. What works best will vary with the type or style of entertainment selected. The act or artist may have their own requirements as well.
DC: Anything else that a meeting planner might need to know?
NM: There are so many fun and engaging entertainment options available at various lengths, price points and interactive possibilities. Entertainers have gotten creative during these times to remain relevant and provide new and engaging content to virtual audiences. I urge planners to explore their options and give adding in entertainment strong consideration when planning meetings. It not only provides a break for the attendees, many of the entertainers could use the work as well and you are helping their livelihood.
DC: Please provide a list of entertainment options that Imprint Group has utilized to show clients how to incorporate entertainment into virtual meetings.
- Live Musicians
- Digital Caricature Artists
- Celebrity Appearances
- Live or Recorded Concerts
- Escape Rooms
- Game Shows
- Interactive Improv Show
- Murder Mystery
- Talent Show
- Food & Beverage Tastings
Another tip suggested by Destination Colorado Executive Director Kelly Layton is pre-recording the entertainment and speakers as much as possible. “That worked well for us with the Colorado Meetings Showcase because our partner, Image Audiovisuals, had the experience and resources to guarantee the performance, and it removed much day-of stress. We pre-recorded as much as possible, which allowed us to preview and work through any technical issues in advance and stay focused on live interactions during the event,” she says.
We’d love to hear more about how to incorporate entertainment into virtual meetings from destination management companies, entertainment agencies, audiovisual companies and planners! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 16 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.