If words like “pandemic” and “lockdown” are the new terms describing our lifestyle, then “pivot” would be the new term for business.
But as your local restaurant pushes tables six feet apart and the big chain store lets people roam the aisles up to half-capacity, how are we working to bring back live events?
The immediate “Band-Aid” was to go virtual—throw everyone onto a Zoom call and let them attend in their pajamas. But as corporate planners reveled in the ease of digital invites and booking magicians and motivational speakers, one thing became clear: Their guests were bored.
Entertainment in a live setting is usually one-directional. A band plays on stage, guests enjoy from their seats. But in a live setting, your senses are stimulated by the decor in the ballroom, the canapes you’re eating from the buffet, and the energy from all the people around you—on a Zoom call there’s none of that.
[Related: This Magician and Comedian Is Now a Virtual Events Sensation]
So the hilarious live comedian you booked for your online corporate meeting is just as exciting as watching that hilarious comedian on YouTube, except now you’re watching it with Nancy from accounting, and she’s got three cats sitting with her on the couch.
Why do you need three cats, Nancy?
The Virtual ENGAGEMENT Game
Enter Bryan Chan, a 15-year industry veteran who has traveled the world as a corporate emcee, public speaker and live event host.
As the shift to digital events rolled in like a tidal wave, Chan knew the pivot was much more than bringing his charm and charisma to the computer screen.
On a virtual platform you can’t just entertain, you have to engage. If people just wanted to watch someone online, they could do that on their own, so what Chan had to recreate was something they couldn’t do by themselves, and what he developed was a fully interactive experience that he invited everyone into…a place he called “The Zoom Room.”
Part game night, part team-build and part social hour, Chan has developed an hour-long virtual format that takes his guests through individual and group challenges that call on them to act, sing, dance and test their knowledge across the board on pop culture, food and travel.
It’s a constant volley back and forth from his screen to theirs, changing pace and direction as he navigates the mood of the room. There are no points, there are no scores—and hence no winners or losers.
At the onset of the event, Chan decrees that this is a place of community, no one can fail at a challenge, and implores the group to show solidarity by clinking their glasses in support.
[Related:Celebrity Chef Ryan DePersio Offers His Italian Cuisine Skills Virtually]
Years of reading a crowd allow him to cater to guests accordingly: Extroverts are given the chance to shine while introverts are invited to sit back and enjoy the show.
The energy is constant, and the entertainment comes as much from the guests as it comes from him. He makes them the stars, and however they were feeling coming into the Zoom Room, they always feel better walking out.
Pump Up the Volume!
“If my normal energy is a 9, then for The Zoom Room it’s a 20,” Chan told me. “I have to make up for all the other elements that aren’t there from a live event. My job is still the same—make everyone feel like this event was thrown just for them—and in this format I can create those moments to give them the spotlight.
“When someone participates in a challenge and they have all their peers cheering them on and clinking their glasses, it’s like carrying the baton across the finish line,” he added. “It’s a pretty incredible feeling….and in that moment they forget they aren’t dressed up in a ballroom being offered a tray-passed meatball.”
Bryan is a class act, and this will be one of the virtual events for which all your attendees will exclaim, “We got to do that again!”
To enquire about booking Bryan and The Zoom Room, contact Sara Meletis or Meagan Shipley at 212.256.1518 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for more Cerbelli: Hot Virtual Event Ideas in the upcoming weeks, and most of all, stay healthy, stay safe, stay home and stay #EventStrong.
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