We are coming up on a year of the mass switch to virtual events, and people are tired of watching the boring presentations and the same-old virtual happy hours. Why not spice it up? Below you'll find 30 unique virtual session ideas for events in 5 categories: event kickoff/icebreakers, networking, health/wellness, competitions, & entertainment that are sure to get your attendees buzzing!
Event Kickoff / Icebreakers
Sure, you could have a keynote speaker and open the floor to questions. But we feel like we’ve been there, done that. Below you’ll find some ways of getting people engaged from the start of your virtual event. For the online tools, you could have a presenter who shares their screen with the attendees, so everyone can easily follow along. But for a better user experience, you might be interested in trying Symphony. Many of these tools are natively incorporated or can be directly embedded into a Symphony presentation.
- Collaborative Post-Its: With this online Post-it note collaboration tool, you can collaborate on any topic in real time. To start off an event, you could ask questions like “Why did you attend this event?” or “What are you looking to get out of this event?”
- Word Clouds: Generate some excitement during a company POA or yearly conference with a word cloud tool. You could prompt ideas like “what's your vision for our company in one word” or “describe your work style in one word.” This can be a great session for brainstorming new ideas or to get the ball rolling.
- Polls & Surveys: Break the ice with live polls or surveys. These quick polls can start light with questions like, “Is a hotdog a sandwich? Vote Yes/No” to more serious inquiries, such as, “Do you think we’re providing an environment for you to succeed?” This can be a great way to get the conversation started, as people can see where their opinions fall against others.
- Whodunnit: Play a game of “Who Done It.” Split your team into two groups. Each person anonymously submits something that they’ve done (try using Google Forms or Survey Monkey), the more peculiar the thing, the better! The other group has to match each submission to the person they think has done it in the other group. The facilitator may want to set up a simple PowerPoint of submissions & group members, so you can drag the submission to the images of the people in the group. You could also try out Quizlet to facilitate this. Learn more about the game here.
- 100 Prompts: Icebreakers often get a bad rap, but it’s usually just because the prompts are overused. Try our list of 100 prompts to spark conversation. This all-encompassing list includes personal, professional, would you rather, one-word, and hot take icebreakers.
Networking at in-person events happens naturally. But in a virtual space, organizers have to put a little more thought into how they can help attendees make lasting connections. Whether it’s to grow their business contacts or to make a new friend, these networking sessions are sure to be a hit!
- Randomized Chats: Our platform can be integrated with Chat Roulette, an online chat website that pairs random users for conversation. This is a perfect way for attendees to network with each other. Dedicate one session or multiple sessions for this format.
- Fishbowls: Watching a panel can get dull pretty quickly. Try a fishbowl session. In an open fishbowl, the guest speakers sit in a “circle”— the bowl—and the audience sits around them. The speakers are then directed to speak on a topic, and an audience member rotates in and out to add their take. This is a great way for attendees to be able to speak with thought leaders. Learn more here.
- Specialized breakouts can be helpful to break up the attendees into smaller groups about topics they are more interested in. Create multiple specialized breakout rooms at one time to ensure that your audience is spread out. Once within the breakout, have a handful of open forum ideas for people to comment on.
- Community Building: There’s nothing better than helping others, and with Kindness Quest it’s easy. They facilitate 90-minute, virtual gratitude and community events to bring people together. It’s a unique way to network and form bonds with the people in the group.
Health & Wellness
In a time where we’re behind our screens more often than not, there’s never been a more important time to focus on health and wellness. By incorporating a health/wellness session right into your event, you will be able to give people the tools they need to do it on their own. These can create a lasting impact on people’s lives.
- Yoga improves strength, balance and flexibility, but even more importantly, your mood and energy! And the more we sit in our chairs behind screens, the more we could use this. Have a live live virtual class with a local instructor or use a free YouTube video.
- Wim Hof Breathing claims that through their technique of combining meditation, breathing, and cold exposure, you can change your mind and body. Hold a session with a specialized instructor, or you can find videos for free on YouTube.
- Healthy Recipe How-To: You are what you eat! So have a chef lead your attendees through a healthy recipe to help them eat a nutritious meal. Just be sure to provide the grocery list ahead of time or even send them the ingredients yourself.
- Craft Gratitude Lists: Increase positivity & self-esteem with a gratitude list session. Gratitude lists help draw attention to the good things in life that we might otherwise take for granted which increases awareness of the everyday sources of pleasure around us. Learn more here.
- Self Defense Class: Empower your audience and help them feel safer every day of their life! Anyone can benefit from a self-defense class, so host an expert for your attendees.
- HIIT or Bootcamp Class: Exercise gives you endorphins! Include a virtual bootcamp class to get your audience moving. Reach out to a local instructor or try one of these classes.
- Meditation: Focus, clarity, ease. That’s what this virtual class could bring to your audience with this meditation workshop.
- Mental Health Workshop: We know that putting a focus on mental health is more important than ever right now. Bring in the professionals to help your attendees out.
The entertainment industry was among the hardest hit during the pandemic shutdowns. Entertainers like comedians, magicians, & more could use your help, and it will be an unforgettable session for your attendees as well!
- Magic Show: Digital Deception fuses magic and technology in an entertaining, customizable stage show performed by two of the country’s most exciting industry practitioners: Doug McKenzie and Ryan Oakes.
- Stand-Up: Laughing is the best medicine. Find a local comedian or try this one here to get your audience smiling.
- Wine/Whiskey/Alcohol tasting can be a fun evening activity to upgrade your happy hour. Plus, your attendees will get to learn something new! Reach out to your favorite vineyard or distillery, or try one of these.
- DJ Jam Session: Bring some bright energy to your event with a DJ set. Music is proven to improve mood, so it’s the perfect session for your attendees. Find a DJ near you or check this company out. You could even choose a decade of music and have people come in costume!
- Escape Room: Escape rooms are not only an incredible team building activity, they’re also incredibly fun! Attendees can call upon their inner Sherlock Holmes & Nancy Drew to crack the case together in one of these escape rooms.
- Learn to Salsa Dance: Ignite the passion that we all have inside of us with a virtual salsa class. It’s always fun to learn something new, and at the very least, you’ll get a few laughs out of it!
- Painting Class: Try Painting with a Twist, where you’re guided through painting yourself a masterpiece.
- Crafting Hour: It’s so satisfying to make something with your hands. In fact, crafting can even reduce anxiety. Try a beginner crochet or knitting class.
There’s nothing more engaging than a little friendly competition, especially when there’s a prize or bragging rights to be won. Incorporate one of these competitive sessions into your next event.
- Scavenger Hunt: Have a list of things people need to find around their house and then say GO! It’s a good excuse to get people up and moving, and you can include items like “a picture of your family” or “a travel memento,” which will help attendees get a peek into each other’s lives. Learn more here.
- Trivia: Whether it’s a specific category like “80’s Movies” or general knowledge trivia, people always love the opportunity to flex their strange knowledge. Make the trivia yourself, or try one of these.
- Virtual Casino: Have attendees dress to the nines and host a virtual casino night. Blackjack, roulette, craps, you name it - they’ve got it! You don’t have to play with real money though, the “winner” of the night could win a gift card or company swag.
- Family Feud: Promote yourself to the role of Steve Harvey, split your people up into groups, and let the games (and laughs) begin! Learn more here.
- Bingo: An oldie, but a goodie. Send the bingo cards out by email, encourage cocktails to be poured, and (of course) have prizes for the winners. Try this bingo pack here.
All in all, incorporate a handful of these unique virtual sessions into your event for a little added fun. We’d suggest at least one from each category where applicable. Think you can do better? Flex your creative muscle and think of your own unique sessions, but be sure to tag us on Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn if you were inspired!
And while you’re at it, why not upgrade your virtual event with a FREE all-in-one hosting platform that includes a live & pre-recorded meeting platform to host these sessions? Learn more about Cadence here.