How to Keep Engagement on Zoom

The average adult attention span has fallen to eight seconds, yet the attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. We as humans have a lower attention span than a goldfish…… 

Due to the virtual world we now live in, most of us are forced to sit on our devices almost all day, making it much harder to maintain our attention on everything thrown our way.  

For event planners, this has become a prevalent issue. Events are commonly held on Zoom or similar platforms. Virtual event platforms come with many perks, but they can also result in a lack of engagement due to the ability for attendees to sit behind screen with little to no accountability. With no accountability comes a higher chance to become disengaged or be distracted by the surrounding environment and as a result, the event can be less effective.  

How can we engage attendees on Zoom like we did in person?  

Interactive elements are key! 



  • Polls provide the opportunity for participants to engage if time or the platform does not allow for a discussion and/or breakout room. Polls can include basic questions about the participants to gage information about your attendeesAlso, polls can also be a great way to check on participant takeaway from an event! You can create a quick quiz to see what participants got from the specific presentation and/or conference. 

Chat Bomb 

  • Chat bombs are a way to engage all participants! The way this process works is to say a question out loud and have all participants type their answer in the chat, but to wait to press send! Next, you then will countdown and tell everyone to send it at once. You then can read through some answers in order to incorporate participant’s opinions and answers. This is a great way for everyone to see others’ responses and create a fun experience!  

Breakout Rooms 

  • Breakout rooms are key for networking and regaining the attention of your participants. This concept gives the participants an opportunity to get to know new people and engage in conversation which increases active listening. Additionally, with the new feature found in the recent Zoom update, attendees can choose the breakout room they wish to be in rather than the host having to assign rooms to each guest. Breakout rooms are important in mimicking that in-person feeling. 


  • Annotation is another great way to initiate active listening. Once participants begin to make action, they will often pay more attention to the event at hand. With annotation, you can provide the opportunity for participants to write on the screen. This is particularly helpful if you want to do a white board activity where everyone answers the question. Many people are visual learners; as well, so it might help in engaging individuals more than other tactics.  


  • Discussions will always promote engagement. Many people tend to steer away from discussions due to the consistent issue of people talking over each other. Howeverif you organize it and use the hand raise feature, the process becomes much easier. 


Add something creative and unique to your virtual event! 


Virtual backgrounds  

  • Creates a fun and creative way of promoting conversation within your attendees. Additionally, it can help in tying your event together if you make a virtual background with the event graphics. 


  • A leaderboard or any type of competition can increase engagement and overall participation. People love winning especially when it comes with a prize. If you make an incentive revolving around participation, it easily can increase your engagement.  

Ice breaker 

  • Start off the event or meeting with a fun ice breaker so people can get to know each other. With virtual events, there is little to no networking opportunities, but by adding an ice breaker, you start off the event on a positive and collaborative note. 

Starting off the meeting with music 

  • By providing music when the attendees arrive, it helps avoid the awkward silence and starts the meeting off nicely. If the event is starting off early in the day, music is a great way to bring some energy to your audience. 


Written By:

Madison Packer

Event Planning Intern

MPHI – Education and Training Services


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