Why Virtual Retreats Are In!

Why Virtual Retreats Are In!

Is Virtual Retreat Really a Thing?

During the course of the lockdown up until now when things are starting to ease up a bit and slowly going back to normal, have you, a family member, or a friend have been invited to what is now called a virtual retreat? I’m guessing your answer is yes. 

Virtual retreats have become all the rage especially for offices and organizations that are used to meeting face-to-face but have been forced to do things virtually at the start of the pandemic. And it’s understandable why this has become a phenomena. There’s a distinct difference between a Zoom meeting and a virtual retreat, and it revolves around how a video conferencing call is structured.

Zoom meetings are quite draining, especially if you’ve had three in a row and it’s only 3pm. The phrase zoom fatigue has been thrown around to connote that dreadful feeling we have after having an hour long (or even longer!) zoom call with a dozen other people. It’s tiresome and sometimes even inhibits are ability to create and collaborate.

Not so with a virtual retreat! As the name connotes, a virtual retreat is like a party packed in a video call. Aside from the more relaxed and inviting nature of the call, the participants also receive an actual treat that’s been sent to their home!

So if you’re considering doing a virtual retreat instead of an actual, in-person one (which we all should be thinking about now anyway), then you might want to keep in mind these reminders.

Tips to Hosting a Smashing Virtual Retreat

Be wise with the platform to use

Ah yes, the proverbial question of where to do your call. In recent months, Zoom has quadrupled their market reach, even coining the term as a verb when referring to connecting via video conferencing. However, there are still other platforms available, such as the constant contender Skype, and Google Meet, which admittedly still has its quirks and bugs but is slowly getting there.

Other video conferencing platforms to use are Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and Webex by cybersecurity giant Cisco.

Goodies and Giveaways

Who in their right mind would say no to a freebie? But if you have the means, please try to elevate your goodie basket or bag with items that are more sought-after and relevant to the audience of your virtual retreat. Be more creative than giving away corporate giveaways like pens and shirts with the company logo. 

Since virtual retreats are scheduled, you have the luxury to plan ahead, which means you have the option to customize the giveaways. Come up with gifts and items that are more suitable and relevant to your audience. If you want to get fancy, you can even go down to the demographics and psychographics of it all. Your attendees will be sure to enjoy their gifts and even post them on social media. That’s free mileage for your business! 

Worried about logistical challenges and expenses for delivering the items? There are always digital gifts that are equally exciting.

Put in breaks in between

Don’t make the wrong assumption that just because they’re at home or at the comfort of where they live means an hour and a half long of continuous video chatting won’t tire participants. This is not Netflix that they’re binging on, so there’s a threshold to how long you can keep their undivided attention without them daydreaming or playing online games simultaneously to pass time while the retreat is ongoing.

To avoid burnout and boredom, it’s best to strategize where to best put breaks in between sessions. That way, you can maintain momentum without losing their interest. Give 10-minute cuts for bathroom breaks or just to have a moment to rest their eyes before jumping back on screen. That will certainly re-energize them.

Avoid the avalanche of too many topics

When planning how long a retreat should be – virtual or otherwise – always consider the audience’s receptiveness to information. If you make the mistake of bombarding them with too much information in a short span of time, everything will just go over their heads.

Most event planners make the error of overstuffing events with the hopes of making attendees feel they got their money’s worth. Remember, the approach should be qualitative and not quantitative. We do not want to overwhelm participants with a deluge of information. We want them to consume learnings at an acceptable pace. As intriguing as it sounds, we should even aim for participants to feel that they want more. 

Join the fun and connect!

Organize a virtual retreat for your team or business. Instead of the usual video conference that attendees are starting to dread, give them something special and more meaningful. Apply these tips and create a memorable virtual retreat that your participants deserve.