Online Event Management Archives | ZiaBia

Combine fun with focus at your event

How do you bring the fun into your online event without losing the focus on your key messages and it becoming a distraction? 

Clients have really had to step out of their comfort zones when transforming their face-to-face event into an online event. Conferences, awards and meetings, which may have been delivered the same way for years, have HAD to evolve to survive the transition. Moving to online has, in some ways, been like breathing fresh air into the same old tired event format. Now is the perfect time to guide your client that smidge further out of their comfort zone!

On our previous blog, Are your audience in the room?, we shared some ideas about how to maximise your platform and use third party apps to really engage your audience with the content.
Now, why not sneak in some fun elements for your attendees too? 

If your attendees are having fun, it is more likely that they will stay engaged for the duration of the event. And fun doesn’t need to mean you are taking the focus away from your key messages – there are ways to combine them both effectively.  Here are some great ways to do this!

During the pandemic technology has developed at a rapid pace, so the ideas below really only scratch the surface. Some will require more investment while others are free.


Most people love an element of competition and can make even the most switched-off attendee alert again. 
Previously associated with event apps, gamification has evolved into the online event world as well. Grab audience attention and get them involved with some simple, effective ideas.

Lots of companies which offer gamification tools and apps will be have a cost associated, however many will have free entry-level options as well.

The power of social

Pretty much everyone is on social these days and most events have a hashtag. Why not capitalise on this? 

SocialWallPro has various options and packages available to suit the complexity and budget of your event.

Let’s get visual

Involve your delegates in making the most of visuals and imagery. This also adds a real element of fun to the event and if people are having fun they are more likely to be engaged.

 Learn something new

Involve your audience with a hands-on activity. To give you a flavour of what can be implemented, we have delivered events incorporating some of these options:

Power up your platform

We have all been on a wide variety of event hosting platforms, but after a while they might start to look a little samey. Also after a year of online events people are starting to crave seeing people again so wouldn't it be wonderful if you can replicate that online somehow? 

Step into the world of AI and VR... you can set up virtual meeting rooms that look like meeting rooms. You can brand them, have outdoor space, reception lobbies signposting the different elements of your event. These options take your event to another level for the delegate experience. This really is at the higher end of your budget but might be just the thing your client is looking for.

See the options available from Shocklogic and Fuzzy Brick


As you can see there really are endless opportunities to be creative whatever your budget from low-spend gamification options right through to a super souped up platform interaction!

It really is an exciting time to be working on these events and seeing how willing the clients are to step outside the box. If you would like a chat with one of the team about your next event (online or in person) and suggestions we have for combining fun with focus at your next event please get in touch.

Are your audience in the ‘room’?

Let's talk Audience Engagement - its 2021, and you have made the switch to online events. Congratulations – it’s fun isn’t it?

You have adjusted your agenda to make sure it works better online with short and snappy sessions; more breaks have been added, the format has been mixed up and your audience isn’t being ‘talked at’ throughout; presenters are using different ways of presenting – goodbye masses of bullet points, hello imagery, photos and video!

However, do you sometimes find it hard to ensure audience engagement? Are your audience even still in the ‘room’?

Sometimes there really is no way of knowing. Or is there?

Without a physical room it is super tricky to gauge the audience reaction and to invite them to participate in what you are doing. As an event manager, you need to be inventive to make sure your event is interactive, relevant and engaging!

We have been delivering online events for our clients, old and new, for nearly a year now, so we have a few tricks up our sleeves!

Here we share a number of tried and tested options for engaging the audience with your content messaging, ensuring everyone stays alert and achieving your event objectives.


Maximise your platform

Work with what your platform offers. If you are on a tight budget your chosen platform may already have engagement tools built in. Explore what they have and how you can utilise them to keep your audience engaged. Options are likely to include one or more of the following:

As you would with any aspect of your live event, make sure these elements are planned in advance. Your audience is more likely to engage when they implemented in a strategic rather than slapdash way.

Integrate third-party apps

Platform-provided polling can be fairly one-dimensional requiring prescriptive answers. So, while they do the job you could be missing some critical responses. To plug that gap, there are some fantastic web-based apps available, which add extra depth to your Q&A and polling options.

Slido has recently been integrated with MS PowerPoint so you don’t even have to toggle between screens to display real-time answers.

From tedious to curious

Information sharing. That is pretty much what every event is about. The trouble starts when some of that information is not the most attention-grabbing!
And with attendees now at home, or in part-empty offices, if the messaging isn't engaging then the distractions will creep in.

Luckily there are some clever tricks you can use to keep people alert and involved when you are attempting to share the mundane. 


There is so much you can do to help your audience engage with the content and messages you are trying to impart. From the simple yet effective to the more strategic.
If you would like to talk to one of the team about how you elevate your delegates’ experience, we would be delighted to speak to you.

Guest Blog: A testimonial from the security and surveillance industry

The Global MSC Security Conference & Exhibition is an important annual event that historically takes place at The Bristol Hotel in November. For one-day, security practitioners, senior police officers, local authority members and technology experts come together to debate the most important topics in the area of security and public sector surveillance.

For 2020 the chosen theme was 'AI and Analytics in Video Surveillance' and the event was given even greater gravitas when the Surveillance Camera Commissioner choose to use the conference as the platform for his final public address in the role.

Plans for the event began soon after the success of the 2019 conference. However as the long term impact of Covid-19 on hosting events became apparent, a decision needed to be made whether to postpone or cancel the event.

Derek Maltby is the Managing Director of Global MSC Security and he comments: “The programme was finalised with excellent speakers on a hot topic for the security and surveillance industry. Our sponsors were looking forward to continuing their support of the event and early delegate registrations were looking good.”

Time to pivot

At the start of the pandemic, the decision was taken to continue to plan for the conference to take place. As the severity of the situation rapidly unfolded it was clear that it would not be possible to host the conference. Derek adds: “Everyone would have understood if we had decided to cancel, but we wanted to find a way to stage the conference, with the caveat that it would need to match the same high standards.”

The challenge was given to ZiaBia Events Consultancy who have been entrusted with managing the Global MSC Security conference in recent years. Working in collaboration with the AV company, Istead, they developed a plan to host a Special Online Event.

“When we discussed making the conference a virtual event, it was important to us that it stood out and didn’t become just another webinar,” explains Derek. “It was a step into the unknown but having worked with ZiaBia and Istead for so long, we knew they shared our high standards and that we could trust in their advice, guidance and expertise implicitly. ”



“The ZiaBia team went above and beyond”

The two hour-long Special Online Event would be hosted at the Istead studios in Coventry and streamed live to delegates representing private and public sector organisations around the world.

Derek explains: “The vision was to produce a live, high quality Newsnight style broadcast, with a presenter and a mix of in studio and external interviews, presentations and panel debate.”

The existing sponsors Genetec and Pelco, along with media partner, the International Security Journal were quick to give their support to this exciting first for the industry. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter and Philip Ingram MBE also agreed to give their presentations.

Project Manager at ZiaBia, Paola Davis, states: “We needed to work at lightning speed to get everyone onboard, feeling comfortable with the new look format, and to allow ample time to give the event the promotional campaign it deserved.”


Whilst working with Global MSC Security and Istead on the logistics and aesthetics of the event, the ZiaBia team also co-ordinated a multi-channel marketing campaign that included a targeted email campaign, social media engagement across LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as an extensive media outreach programme.

The Bristol conference typically attracts delegates from across the UK, however, the Global MSC Security team was struck by the high level of interest and registrations from all corners of the world including Europe, China, US and Australia. The event was acknowledged by all involved as a huge success.

“The ZiaBia team went above and beyond, to deliver a Global MSC Security first,” concludes Derek. “The feedback we received from our speakers, delegates and sponsors has been fantastic, with calls for a Special Online Event to become a mainstay of the Global MSC Security calendar, alongside our flagship conference, which we look forward to hosting again hopefully in 2021.”

Helping make your speakers shine online!

With the recent announcement of a Lockdown 3.0 in England and the rest of the UK pretty much in the same situation, we can safely say that online events are here to stay for a while. In the third of our 'Technophobe' series we now are focussing on event speakers.

Whether you use a professional speaker, an expert in their field or someone from your organisation, the online stage is a whole new ball game!

While there is still an audience there is minimal, or no, audience reaction for them to respond to and interact with. It is harder to engage the delegates, get them involved and get immediate feedback.

Where once there was a stage to walk around there is now just their office/kitchen/dining room to present from and, as they will only have a webcam, moving around is restricted somewhat!

A one-hour programme slot may not do so well online – your speaker is competing with delegates’ multitude of home distractions (even if it is just the washing up!)


There are a number of options we have found work when helping guide our event speakers online. We hope they are useful to you – let us know what you think


The devil is in the detail

Let your speaker know as much about the event as you can and refer to the online platform as a venue - both will help make the experience more relatable.

Get a reaction

Speakers will need to recreate audience engagement in a non-visual way as it is unlikely they will be able to see their audience, or if they can, only a proportion.

Death by PowerPoint

We’ve all been there and seen it done at one time or another! While PowerPoint (or equivalent) definitely has its moment why not encourage your speakers to try something new?

Banish apprehension

We would highly recommend engaging an event host or compere to take additional pressure off your speakers - you don't want them panicking about if they need to deliver housekeeping messages or keep an eye on questions coming in!


By making your event speakers comfortable and providing the support they need, the transition to online events will be easier. This will, in turn, improve the attendee experience to better engage with the content and share their experience.

ZiaBia is an events consultancy with experience delivering both face to face and online events for clients of all sizes, in locations around the globe. If you would like to have a more in-depth chat with us about how else we have worked with our event speakers with the switch to online then we look forward to hearing from you.

Supporting stakeholders with their switch to virtual events

Previously we wrote about how you, as an event organiser, can support your attendees at a virtual event. The next in our mini-series of ‘support’ articles focusses on helping the stakeholder when they are a bit nervous about making the change.

The government recently announced updated information on business events and that more people can attend, but this is all Tier dependant, which can change fairly quickly if more cases develop locally. Therefore, we predict virtual events won't be going anywhere for a while yet!

So how can you can support the nervous stakeholder, or one who has had a bad experience?
The intention and will are there but there maybe a mental block about translating to online. You now need to work with your stakeholder to shift that initial perception.

Here we share some of the main concerns we have come across, and overcome, from our stakeholders:

“The live event will not translate to virtual”

“People come for the networking”

“How do delegates interact or ask questions?”

“Home provides too many distractions”

“Sponsors won’t sign up as you can’t have footfall without feet”


Quick wins

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Even if they are seasoned presenters, it’s a different ball game without a physical audience to respond to.
Communication behind the scenes is different, there are lots of messages to share with the audience and timings really are down to the minute. Rehearsals will make your client much more relaxed and in control on the day.

Why not…

Engage an event host – whether it is a professional host or the stakeholder themselves, having someone holding the event together helps enormously and this really is a key role!


So for all the obstacles presented there are a multitude of solutions and positive outcomes!
If you want to find out more about how we have supported our clients and stakeholders to make the switch, then do get in touch, we would be delighted to talk.