Please add interaction – What matters the most in (online) events

Charlotte Malz
Head of Marketing, BSI

2020 was the year of webinars and online and hybrid events. Organizers tried many things, and some of them turned out to be good, while others were less promising. What can you do about Zoom fatigue? Why is the success of remote formats particularly dependent on creative interaction endeavors? How did Barmenia Versicherungen make their sales organization’s entirely virtual New Year Kickoff Event a success? Read about all of it right here.


Marc Ussat, Head of the innovation lab B-NEXT, at the New Year Kickoff Event of Barmenia’s sales organization. He had brought BSI onboard to improve engagement.

What all of us should have learned last year is how important it is to automatically mute remote guests to avoid hearing the personal phone call, the radio noise in the background or the coffee machine instead of the keynote speaker. Besides this simple housekeeping measure, there are far more challenging aspects that turn an event into a success or a failure: In addition to quality content, what is particularly important is that there is engagement between the audience and the speaker and networking among the participants. If event organizers address these needs in online events, the event experience will be greatly enhanced.

An effective remedy against Zoom fatigue

Online event organizers have to combat Zoom fatigue. Many people are tired of videoconferencing, and the virtual-visual interaction zaps people’s energy. The solution to delighting people even in online events are interactive elements and gamification mechanisms. At its sales organization’s New Year Kickoff Event, attended by about 500 participants, Barmenia, with help from BSI, demonstrated how to maintain a lively dialogue in the virtual space and encompass a sense of community.

“I first learned about the event interaction tool at the BSI Customer Summit. Immediately, I thought about using it for Barmenia, too. As part of the preparations, we continued to develop the networking tool jointly. It was received with enthusiasm, and we are planning to use it for other events as well. For me, the highlight was that all participants used the tool without fear. The user data speak for themselves. 468 people participated, the attendees applauded 21,680 times, and 404 individuals took part in the polling.”
Marc Ussat, Head of the innovation lab B-NEXT

Here are the interaction boosters used by Barmenia Versicherungen and BSI

  1. Invest in a professional setting: Recordable digital screens, good lighting, a professional camera crew, possibly a professional moderator ... Not cheap, but investments that will pay off.
  2. Experiment with different formats: Are you planning a keynote speech or a breakout session in a workshop format? Are the speakers on location, or do they attend remotely? Depending on the format, the technical setup has to be adjusted. A stage is recommended for a keynote address, while for a breakout session, a video conference session might be sufficient.
  3. Make your participants’ emotions visible: Barmenia Versicherungen allowed their guests to applaud virtually. The insurance company used BSI’s “applause-o-meter,” which counted the applause rate per minute, thus recording the audience’s frame of mind. During the presentations, the “applause-o-meter” appeared on the screen in the background, ensuring that the general mood was always apparent.
  4. Add short polls: In addition to Q & A areas and moderated chats, live polling is an excellent way to engage your participants. Barmenia included brief polls at various points and showed the results live on stage in descriptive charts. That’s about as real time as it gets.
  5. Provide (initial) assistance with networking: Even when done in person, networking is not easy, so how do you get the ball rolling online? The insurance company utilized BSI’s matching solution to link participants with similar interests. Guests answered questions with a swipe and were then matched up with the help of BSI’s AI.

Are you interested in AI-powered interaction boosters for your event? Find out here what BSI has to offer.

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