The Best Virtual Meeting & Event Themes for 2022

As in-person gatherings have taken the backseat to virtual alternatives, virtual meetings, and online events are some of today’s biggest buzzwords. 

But how do we keep our virtual event ideas fresh and energizing? What’s trending in the business and personal worlds that can inform our virtual event themes to make our online events more compelling?

This article explores some of the most engaging themes and virtual event ideas to make 2022 the year of maximized online productivity.

The Importance of Alignment in Virtual Events

Rear view businesswoman chatting with colleagues online during a virtual event

Successful virtual events require careful planning, innovative strategies, and a clearly defined purpose. Your theme should reflect that purpose and remind attendees why they are gathered in the first place.

Whether your virtual event is business-related or personal, virtual graphic recording is a terrific strategy to capture the essence of your message, keep everyone’s attention, and help people remember the key takeaways.

Virtual meeting themes run the gamut from silly to serious, but they all have similar purposes related to successful business aims. From product launches to boardroom discussions, virtual business meetings generally require attendees to remember the content of the meeting and to follow up on actionable information. 

In contrast, personal virtual events may not have such stringent outcome requirements. But they do have similar goals regarding engaging the audience and making the event as pleasant and memorable as possible. The virtual world cannot replace the intimacy of in-person events, but it does offer the benefit of bringing together family or friends that are far away. 

Read on to learn some inspiring themes for virtual gatherings that are predicted to trend in 2022 and learn strategies to avoid the pitfalls and pain points of a ho-hum online event.

5 Best Virtual Meeting Ideas & Themes

Man waving to computer during a video conference

  • Participant Chosen Session Topics: This is a strategy that allows your employees to “choose their own adventure,” so to speak. It can transform plain video conferencing into more fun virtual team meetings. Make several choices available for meeting times and topics and let employees fully participate in creating their own bespoke schedule. This is especially useful if you are hosting a series of seminars or for any virtual meeting that will last more than an hour. Virtual meetings are notorious for sapping our attention span, and an hour is the suggested length for a successful online session presented in the traditional “listen and learn” format. By planning ahead, you can make a schedule of smaller turbo-meetings focused on specific topics and goals and let employees create their own schedules.
  • Gamification: Experts recommend that to maintain audience attention during a virtual meeting, it should have some form of interaction approximately every 10 minutes. For example, participants might cast a vote, answer or ask a question, or contribute a comment or chat. Even more compelling is making those interactions as similar to familiar game strategies as possible. If you can create a game to deliver your information, even better. Games like Jeopardy, scavenger hunts, and trivia or quiz games provide remote team members with positive opportunities to engage with one another and feel like a team. Many online apps are available now that offer games that might be perfect as part of your next virtual conference. Games are excellent as ice breakers and fun virtual team-building strategies: they promote positive thinking and help people remember key points.
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: There is something undeniably compelling about virtual reality and augmented reality. The hardware, software, and apps are now available and affordable for most businesses. There are many ways to incorporate this technology into an online meeting to engage your audience and deliver information. Consider demonstrating how the technology works, showing how other companies in your industry use it, and allowing employees to try it themselves. There are also free virtual tours available online that might pertain to your industry that your audience will find compelling and very informative.
  • Maximize Audience Participation: The more your audience participates actively in the virtual meeting, the better. Ask participants to arrive with questions prepared in advance. Assign them topics to discuss during the virtual conference. Or consider a Think/Pair/Share activity as part of your agenda.
  • Virtual Lunch-and-Learn: Consider providing lunch to your remote employees while a keynote speaker or internal business leader delivers an important presentation. Many apps now make feeding remote employees fast and easy and act as a great way to show appreciation while creating an opportunity to connect and learn.  

5 Best Virtual Themes for Personal Gatherings and Other Social Events

Young man joining virtual happy hour with friends

  • Happy Hour: What’s more cheerful than virtual Happy Hour, right? Getting a group together for drinks and snacks on an app that allows everyone to see one another and interact is just downright fun. If you want to make it memorable, consider having a bartender or a barista teach your group some things about mixology. Or include a cooking lesson while you sip on your beverages of choice. 
  • Virtual Scavenger Hunt: A scavenger hunt where you can choose from hundreds of different experiences and personalize the experience to the needs and preferences of your group. This may sound like a daunting task to organize, but many different services make the process easy and incredibly entertaining. This can even be adapted to make a work meeting more fun.
  • Virtual Concert: With tons of musicians choosing to livestream their performances, choosing a performance to collectively watch as a remote group is a great way to feel connected and experience the joy of live music. If you’re having trouble choosing or finding an act, check out this dueling piano experience that live streams to any device. 
  • Virtual Campfire: A virtual campfire brings together all of the fun things you associate with camping but on virtual meeting software. You can include any camping feature that you prefer: s’mores, tents, candles or a fireplace, an outdoor fire if you are in the right location, campfire songs, and ghost stories. It really is a great way for friends and family to make memories together. Tiny Campfire is a great resource for virtual team-building activities that can be leveraged in a business or personal setting. 
  • Houseparty App: This is the number one online app right now that allows you and your friends to get together for game night in the virtual world and play the house party games you are used to. There are also several other multiplayer game apps specially designed to help friends, families, and coworkers play virtual games together online.

Avoid These Common Pitfalls and Pain Points

Animated sketch of a man working on a computer from home with text heading that reads "4 Pain Points of a Virtual Meeting"

In addition to vamping up your virtual meeting themes with some of the ideas above, you need to avoid the following common pain points to host the best possible virtual event:

  • Eliminate distractions. Distraction is the number one buzz killer in every virtual space. It is just too easy to check email, scroll through social media, or let your mind wander around the real-time space that you are in. The strategies above are designed to maximize engagement, but also consider how compelling virtual graphic recording can be during your online events. Watching an artist at work is a distraction that keeps your audience focused on the tasks at hand.
  • Take steps to negotiate availability. A radical drawback to online events is aligning schedules and equipment, especially if your online event is tremendously large. One of the benefits of virtual spaces is that we can invite an enormous number of people to meet at once, but negotiating a time that works for everyone can be very challenging. 
  • Generate excitement around the event. Virtual meetings have lost the charm of their novelty. At first, Zoom and Skype were exciting and new, but for many, the novelty has worn off. That is why incorporating engaging themes, strategies, opportunities to interact, and incorporating fun elements is so important.
  • Create actionable follow-up items. Effective follow-up for a virtual meeting can be difficult. In-person interaction does seem to call out much more accountability than the virtual space. It is important to emphasize the next steps and make specific people accountable for actions to be taken after the virtual meeting. This is another area where virtual graphic recording can be beneficial for highlighting actionable takeaways and emphasizing goals and next steps.

CTA Graphic with images of virtual graphic recordings

Virtual Graphic Recording as a Strategy for Successful Online Events

Digital graphic recorder sketching on a tablet during a virtual meeting

Virtual graphic recording is also known as live sketching, graphic recording, sketch noting, live scribing, etc. 

Perhaps you have heard of mind maps or concept maps? These are strategies used to summarize lectures, meetings, and other large bodies of information using a combination of illustration and keywords. Virtual graphic recording is a similar strategy. 

Our talented artists practice active listening and then represent the information from your virtual event in an illustrated format that is easy to understand, easy to remember, easy to share, and downright attractive.

Graphic recording by The Sketch Effect titled "Virtual Event Trends: Increasing Audience Engagement"

Virtual graphic recording is an ideal way to keep notes on virtual conferences that are clear and shareable. The graphics prioritize information and highlight the next steps and key points. They keep remote workers and attendees on the same page—literally. 

In addition, the illustrations can be very helpful for informing stakeholders who were not able to attend the virtual meeting, helping them process and remember much more effectively than just watching a recording of the session. Personal and social events can be captured very effectively by our artists as well. 

Our artists do an exceptional job of capturing the ideas of keynote speakers at conferences, tradeshows, remote work events and so much more. 

Events are taking place in the virtual space more often every day, and virtual graphic recording can provide an excellent and meaningful memento of your discussion.

Schedule a consultation to see how virtual graphic recording can enhance your next online event.