Hello, fellow comedians! As a seasoned online event host, I've had the pleasure of engaging with diverse virtual audiences. While most participants are respectful and enthusiastic, there are a few undesirable behaviors that can occasionally arise in the digital realm. Today, I'd like to shed light on these behaviors to ensure that we can foster a positive and enriching virtual environment for all.
1. Disruptive Background Noise: Background noise can distract both the comedian and the audience. Participants should be mindful of their environment and use mute when when appropriate to prevent unwanted interruptions.
- Fan: If you can hear noise, the comedian and audience can, too. So if you’re cleaning out your desk drawer, doing a load of laundry, or enjoying a delicious meal during the show, WE CAN HEAR YOU. Please mute yourself until you’re finished.
- Host: You have control and can mute the person with the background noise. Don’t know how? Watch this tutorial video and be in the know!
2. Inappropriate Comments or Language: Respectful communication is paramount in virtual events. Inappropriate comments, language, or jokes can create an uncomfortable atmosphere and detract from the event's purpose.
- Fan: The same rules apply for fans enjoying the show. Behave as though you were in the room in real life –providing you’re a reasonable person and conform to societal norms.
- Host: If you’re running a clean comedy show, it’s up to you to inform your booked comedians, ideally in advance. Similarly, if you’re running a show with a dirty theme, inform your guests in advance. Finally, if you are running an open mic, let your guests know what the format is. Never assume people know what you have planned.
3. Side Conversations: Virtual events require a level of focus similar to in-person comedy shows and open mics. Side conversations in the chat or openly on video can divert attention and disrupt the flow of the event.
- Fan: If you find yourself in need to talk during the show, please kindly mute yourself.
- Host: You have the controls to mute participants in case they don’t mute themselves. Once again, here’s a handy dandy tutorial video on how to use them!
4. Excessive Self-Promotion: While networking is valuable, excessive self-promotion or spamming can come across as intrusive and self-centered. It's important to strike a balance between sharing and engaging.
- Fan: Unless the host invites you to promote yourself or another event, it's best not to. Save your self-promotions for a more appropriate time/place.
- Host: As the host, it’s up to you to set the tone and also inform your booked guests on how and when self-promotion is handled.
5. Lack of Engagement: Passive participation can lead to missed opportunities for learning and interaction. Participants are encouraged to turn on their video and audio to maximize the experience for everyone sans background noise/distractions.
- Fan: Excessive movement, unusual behavior, or disruptive sounds will call attention away from the performance. If you need to multitask or give your attention elsewhere, please turn your video and/or audio off accordingly.
- Host: Keep your eyes on the screen - even while someone else is performing. Take note if the audience is actively engaged or if they’re being disruptive. Utilize your host controls if you need to turn video and/or audio off on a participant. Also, it’s an opportunity to think of how you can increase engagement or keep the energy flowing as you host between comedians.
6. Technical Disturbances: Frequent disconnections, microphone issues, or camera problems can disrupt the event for both the participant and the host. Attendees should test their technology beforehand.
- Fan: Arriving a few minutes early can prevent tons of frustration. Plan ahead and ensure that you have your appropriate logins/passwords and connections set correctly. Showing up late with background noise and camera issues takes focus from the performance and spreads the frustration.
- Host: If you’ve booked comedians who’ve never used the software before, invite them for a test run and encourage them to arrive early. Most technical difficulties can be averted with proper planning and practice. When booking guests, ensure that the performers have access to stable internet connection.
Important for fans/hosts: Watch tutorial videos or contact the help text for assistance.
Fan tutorials: https://plauzzable.com/tutorials-fan
Comedian tutorials: https://plauzzable.com/tutorials-comedian
7. Trolling and Disrespectful Behavior: Trolling, making derogatory remarks, or intentionally causing disruption not only reflects poorly on the participant but also creates a negative environment for others.
- Fan: Show up as your best self! If you don’t like a show or performer, you are welcome to not laugh, turn your audio/video off, or leave. All of those actions send very clear messages to the performers. Escalating the experience with negative remarks or behavior will most likely result in removal from the show.
- Host: The host can mute participants if necessary. The host also has the ability to remove disruptive members from the room. Have you watched this super helpful video on how to do that, yet?
8. Constant Multitasking: While it's tempting to multitask during virtual events, constant distraction can lead to missing out on valuable insights and connections.
- Fan: You may miss out on punchlines and announcements.
- Host: This is your event - make it your focus! You are in the driver's seat and everyone is looking to you to set the tone. If you’re not interested (and trust me, everyone can tell), then they probably won’t be either. As the host, you are always on stage. The audience will always be watching and following your lead.
9. Late or Early Entry: Arriving excessively late or entering the event prematurely can disrupt the flow and create distractions for both the host and other attendees.
- Fan: We know poop happens. But we appreciate every effort you make to arrive on time and stay through an event. We see you!
- Host: Once again, you set the tone. 80% of success is showing up (on time)! And by on time, we mean before everyone else. Your role includes opening the virtual room, welcoming guests, and ensuring they all have a great time. If you’re not there, why are we?
10. Failure to Follow Event Guidelines: Event hosts often set guidelines for participation and interaction. Ignoring these guidelines can lead to misunderstandings and disruptions.
- Fan: Good hosts typically do some housekeeping at the top (beginning) of each event. They ensure you know how to navigate the virtual room just like in a club when they remind the audience to mute their cell phones and share directions to the bathroom.
- Host: Do yourself a favor and do some quick housekeeping, especially for your newcomers. Let them know you see them and want them to feel comfortable. Remind them how sensitive their microphones are and to mute and unmute themselves as needed. Let them know if you welcome crowd participation so they can participate accordingly –or not! Remind them to tip their servers! Oh, wait, remind them they can help themselves to a refreshing beverage at any time.
11. Dominating Discussions: Some open mics or other events will allow for discussions. While sharing insights may be encouraged, dominating discussions can hinder other participants from contributing their thoughts and ideas.
- Fan: The host typically sets the rules at the top (beginning of the event). If not, politely raise your hand or ask in the chat box if open discussion is permitted.
- Host: This is especially important to remember before your event begins. Inform your participants on the guidelines. If you have a timer, if you’ll call on people, or other methods you may implement. Pay attention to all audience members and note if someone is patiently waiting to be called on or if people are losing interest.
12. Unwarranted Negativity: Check your vibe! Are you unloading your negativity or stress and dampening the overall atmosphere? Leave those demons at the door!
- Fan: Running late? Still stressed about work? Forget your password and had trouble logging in? Poop still happens. Log out of your email and leave the bad vibes at the virtual door. You’re in! Let’s get to laughing!
- Host: The host is the default leader of the event. Fans and booked guests will be following your lead and seeking your approval. Be proactive in setting up your space in advance so you can arrive with a smile on your face. Can’t find your notes? Or maybe your hair needs combing? Take a minute, take a breath, and handle it. No need to curse, stomp your feet, or spread the negativity. It’s all good! Fans are here to laugh and support your show. We got you!
Creating a positive virtual environment requires mutual respect, consideration, and adherence to common etiquette. By addressing these undesirable behaviors and fostering an atmosphere of professionalism, engagement, and respect, we can ensure that virtual events remain enriching, insightful, and enjoyable experiences for all participants. Let's work together to create memorable virtual gatherings that leave a lasting positive impact. Thank you.Written by