2020 may be remembered as the year the world faced its biggest crisis, but also as the year that brought in several new trends. Today, more people are working from home and attending virtual events​ than ever before. This has created great opportunities as online video conferences​ enable organizations to target diverse groups without worrying about event location. But this change in working conditions comes with its own set of risks and new challenges. ​Zoom fatigue​ being a prominent example.

Almost all events and meetings have been replaced with ​virtual conferences​. The increasing amount of time being spent on video conference calls​​ has a toll on professionals, and this has been termed as​ Zoom burnout​ or​ Zoom fatigue​. This has led to several health issues like an increase in anxiety levels, posture-related issues, joint or back pains due to the increased amount of time spent indoors and other stress-related issues.

Can this exhaustion or ​Zoom burnout​ be controlled? It comes down to simple steps that you can take to ensure your​ virtual conferences​ are effective and helpful for the audience. Here are 4 simple steps you can take to avoid ​Zoom fatigue​ during ​virtual events​:

Make The Events Engaging

It is observed that the audience for virtual events is active only in the initial phase, and tends to get distracted during the rest of the ​virtual event​. This is because the attention span for ​virtual events ​is limited compared to actual events since several factors are at play.

To maximize the learning and make the most of ​virtual conferences​, ensure that your sessions are engaging and interactive. If you are managing ​or hosting an event, make sure your online meetings are lively to help the audience stay focused. You can include Q&A, live polls, give audience exercises and more to make the ​virtual event​ interactive and fun.

Use Breaks Between Sessions To Maximize Focus

As with any live event, ​virtual conferences​ tend to have stipulated breaks to ensure that the audience is not fatigued with the barrage of information. As an ​event planner​, consider using different session formats and having breakout sessions so that the audience can quickly tune out and tune in when the event actually begins.

Also, consider providing reading material or recorded content to the attendees to view in their own time. Providing such material in advance or recordings, later on, ensures that the audience is focused on what’s happening and is informed about the topic.

Meanwhile, as an attendee, you can effectively make the most of your break by stretching and allowing your body to move. Instead of utilizing this time to work on other tasks, make sure you spend the break to do something that can refresh and re-energize you.

Expand Video Experiences

There’s a small difference between attending a meeting and attending a ​Zoom video conference​. For the latter, the participants need to be prepared, cannot allow distractions and have to be on video to engage and interact. This format is ideal not just for the audience but also for speakers.

As with physical events, making eye contact and giving a face to the speaker helps the audience focus better than just a presentation. Using a combination of both is ideal for keeping the audience hooked and focused.

Additionally, you can diversify content to have visual appeal, including highlight videos and strong branding to elicit the right emotion, especially for virtual events where people are craving for more human interaction. Listen to your audience and allow them to share their video when speaking, making the entire session more engaging while being informative.

Set Expectations & Stick To Your Schedule

Working from home may seem efficient as it saves the long commute time and the time required to get ready and head off to work. However, the mind needs such rituals to tune into work mode.

Instead of being efficient, the new working style has seen many people increase their work time, as they do not have a stipulated in and out time to get things done. This trend has set into virtual conferences too, as events go on longer than expected with no fixed schedule. The best way to avoid ​Zoom fatigue​ is to set expectations and avoid working beyond a set schedule.

When planning virtual events, ensure that you stick to your schedule and keep it short. This will help the attendees be dedicated to your virtual conference during the scheduled time instead of staying online but doing something else. Hosting brainstorming sessions or breakout sessions to help the audience break the ice with other participants is a great way to increase participation and ensure that you do not go beyond schedule.

Summary

To avoid the inevitable online event fatigue or ​Zoom fatigue​, event organizers need to innovate and deliver new and exciting experiences. Ensure you empathize with the audience and follow these simple steps to ensure your ​virtual events​ are not overwhelming for the audience. We are just learning to make the most of ​virtual events​, and a few simple steps can go a long way to help avoid burnout while maximizing the learning curve.

 

Illustration by Freepik Storyset