Who doesn’t love a little down time? A chance to hang out, recharge, relax, and refresh should be part of everyone’s agenda. However, when you are planning a virtual corporate event on a virtual conference platform, event breaks can be so much more than a quick coffee run. In fact, with some planning and ingenuity, down time between your programming can become an integral part of your event.
Stating the Obvious: Breaks Are Important
First, let’s expressly state that event breaks, whether online or in-person, are essential. Your attendees really do need the time to go to the restroom, get something to eat (or in the Covid-19 era, make their kids lunch) and just be away from the hustle and bustle of the event for a few minutes. Not even the toughest event warrior can go full tilt for 5 straight hours (or more!) of programming without needing time to step away and take a breath. Don't forget, getting up and moving also does amazing things for cognition.
On the flip side, some attendees value structured breaks between content almost as much as the content itself. Structured breaks provide time for attendees to meet new people, share new ideas, and network with like-minded colleagues in their industry. Providing fun and thoughtful event breaks within your virtual event platform will ensure people stay engaged and gain value beyond your event’s content. It gives them time to make the meaningful connections and create the social noise that will place your event on the short-list in your industry for years to come.
How Long Should Virtual Event Breaks Be?
With so much digital noise, attention spans are shorter than ever. We’ve all sat through a session or meeting so long that our minds start to wander. The question is, how long is “too long”? When planning your event, it would help to know what the optimal lengths of the meetings time and breaks should be. According to science, the best meeting to break ratio is 52 minutes of concentration followed by a 17-minute break. You can mix the times a little bit, say going to a schedule that allows for 50 minutes of meeting time followed by a 20-minute break for a 70-minute cycle that will allow your attendees to attain maximum productivity throughout the day.
Virtual Event Break Ideas to Thrill Your Audience
Now that you know how long your virtual conference session breaks should be, all you need to figure out is what to program during the break times. Luckily, we have a few suggestions for you.
- Shake It Out - People spend a lot of time at events sitting, listening, taking notes, engaging, learning, and discovering. It’s what the event is all about. However, for many people movement plays an important part in the learning process. Getting your attendees up and moving can take the form of a yoga class, a get-your-steps challenge, or a dance break. Just get everyone up and moving so they are at their best when the next session begins.
- Play A Game - The opportunity to instill an element of fun in the form of gamification is one of the best parts of running an event on a virtual conference platform. During events, you can engage your attendees with quiz-show type games, bingo, and trivia contests. Even scavenger hunts can instill a little bit of fun and competition into the day and get everyone energized.
- Cook Up Something Yummy - Many attendees at your virtual event will have access to a kitchen, so instead of letting them rummage through the fridge for a bite to eat, have a chef lead a virtual cooking class. You can even take this idea one step further and create a contest for the most unusual or most innovative snack or meal.
- Speed Networking - You guessed it. It’s a lot like speed dating but more event-centric. Use a break to get attendees talking to each other with a speed networking session. You can even help them get started by recommending some like minded individuals through MeetingPlay’s AI algorithm. Each attendee rotates through quick 1-on-1 video call meetings with other attendees, spending just a few minutes getting to know them. You can even award points or prizes to attendees who have the most video calls within a given time period.
- Time for a Laugh - Nothing makes a person feel better than a good old belly laugh, so have a comedian perform a standup routine that will get your attendees guffawing. In fact, adding a little bit of laughter into the day is the best way of all to get rid of stress and get your attendees revved up for the next session.
No matter what you decide to do during your event’s breaks, remember that they are integral to success. The team at MeetingPlay can help you use audience engagement tools so you can take full advantage of the down time between sessions, turning them into less “time out” and more “time to play”.