Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

Two cameras and two screens are set up facing a large blue backdrop and stage. The MCEC logo and the words "Virtual Events" is displayed on the backdrop.

Five Golden Rules for Videoconferencing Success

With so much of our lives now spent working, learning and socialising via virtual means, it’s unsurprising that ‘Zoom screen fatigue’ is rife. The steep increase in teleconferencing since the start of COVID-19 restrictions has increased the challenge faced by event managers to capture and retain their (remote) audience’s attention.

Virtual event guru Josh Bryce from Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) – experts in delivering online corporate launches, town hall meets, AGMs, meetings of all sizes and even gala dinners – explains that there are five key elements to planning and running brilliant videoconferences.

1. Bring in virtual event professionals

“Delivering a virtual event from a studio or production setting, like we have at MCEC, makes it ‘feel’ like it’s more of an occasion than a purely online event broadcast from dining tables or home offices around the country.

“The added benefits of using MCEC are the access to high-end production quality and dynamically mixed content which make sessions more engaging.

"Attendees’ eyes will be relieved by the high definition video and sponsors will love seeing their branding delivered with such high production values. There’s also the benefit of having technical specialists on-hand to ensure perfect sound quality and streaming via high speed internet to make the remote users’ experience seamless.”

2. Engagement is key

“Achieving audience engagement is arguably the most important aspect of all virtual events,” Josh said.

He recommends videoconferencing over traditional dial-ins (that don’t use cameras) to keep participants focused and remove temptation to multi-task.

“Let’s face it, who hasn’t browsed the web or written a grocery list during a work teleconference?” he laughs.

“A well designed program, engaging presenters and interesting content are key. There are also tools, such as polling, surveys and chat boxes, you can use to keep your audience engaged and obtain real-time feedback.”

3. Keep things focused with a tight agenda

Josh is a big advocate for setting a clear agenda or schedule for events to follow as well as having an assigned facilitator to keep things on track and effectively act as an MC.

“In terms of length, keep it short. Research shows the ideal duration for a virtual event is between 30 minutes and two hours.”

4. Schedule regular breaks

“Scheduling breaks is really important, so people can stretch their legs, grab a coffee or go to the bathroom.

As well as allowing the audience to physically and mentally ‘re-set’ before the next stage of the event, it enables participants to check emails and messages which could otherwise be a cause of distraction if they’re sitting in a session thinking urgent matters may be awaiting their action!”

Josh recommends mini breaks of five minutes every hour; and breaks of at least 30 minutes every three hours.

“Breaks are also a great time to fill screens with sponsored content, for example, a video message from your platinum sponsor.”

5. Keep your audience’s minds and bodies awake

If you’re running longer sessions with fewer breaks, Josh’s tip is to get your attendees to do some short bursts of physical activity, such as star jumps, stretching or a silly dance.

“This will help with attendees’ mood, focus and wellbeing during your event."

Josh Bryce is Technical Sales Manager at MCEC.