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White Paper: Fighting Zoom Fatigue

White Paper: Fighting Zoom Fatigue

Doriena Parsons

How to create high-energy digital conferences and webinars. 

Over the past year we have all become intimately familiar with digital conferencing, and ‘to Zoom’ has become a comfortable verb. But as we have discovered the opportunities these new platforms offer, many people are still coming to grips with how to host meetings and conferences effectively and most are drier than my husband’s stir fry.

Zoom fatigue is a thing. In order for your webinar to hit the right note it is important to plan well.

In March of this year, Moore Australia organised a conference for our 2020-2021 graduate intake. As the first iteration of the concept, we initially planned this in-person, but were forced to move online.

Our aims were simple:

  • Build a connection between graduates across Australia and New Zealand.

  • Provide introductions to our national, regional and global Networks as well as the various pillars of professional services.

  • Start building key soft skills, such as communication and teamwork.

  • Introduce new grads to life in the corporate world.

Our event set-up:

  • Venue: Zoom with breakout rooms.

  • 55 participants.

  • 4 hours per day, across two days.

  • Max 45 minutes per session.

  • Regular quick breaks.

  • At least 2 informal sessions, to 1 formal or technical session.

  • Opportunities to participate and engage, other than Q&As, including opportunities to win cash-prizes, with winners announced during the conference.

  • All collateral was branded with a house style developed especially for this event.

The feedback from our post-event survey was overwhelmingly positive but came with key learnings, which are shared in this whitepaper.   

1. Location, location, location

Your venue can make or break an event. Digital events are no different. Where possible, bring participants into one meeting room with Zoom on a large screen, away from their desks. This not only takes them away from the distractions of emails and phones and fosters active listening, it also provides a shared experience.
During our graduate conference we noticed engagement was much higher from participants who were together in a meeting room, and the feedback was far more positive from those same participants.
2. Cameras on!

For all of the reasons mentioned above, it is key that cameras remain switched on. It is the most disheartening thing for a speaker to be presenting to the little glowing LED next to the camera.
Keeping cameras on brings engagement, connection, energy, and cohesion. Hey, there are actual people out there!

3. Find a way to engage.

It is hard to draw engagement from a group of people, who cannot communicate verbally. So a non-verbal communication vehicle has to be found.
For our conference, we used custom branded hand flags in two colours, for each participant. Although they might have felt a bit childish and cringe-worthy at the start, by the end of day one they were whole-heartedly embraced by speakers and participants to express agreement, excitement, and similarly, disagreement.

4. The Goodie Bag Lives!

Our budget allowed us to provide a goodie bag to each participant, and this is where we scored the highest. Although presenting a logistical circus, it was worth the effort. Each participant walked away with more than one piece of branding and something which will remind them of the conference in the future. 
Our branded goodie bag included:

  • Hand flags as described as above

  • Sweets and treats

  • Fun random items

  • Relevant discount vouchers

  • A branded gift set.

  • A short poem to tie all the items together and explain the ‘connection’.


5. Teambuilding, digitally

Love them or hate them, activities make great ways to break the ice, if done well. During our conference we organised a few activities, geared towards a younger audience. The most popular was our digital treasure hunt, which has rapidly become an icon.


  • Create a list of riddles and items to find, password protect the file, and distribute ahead of conference.

  • Be sure items cannot be found in one single location such as an office or home, so that people have to delegate items between individual team members and locations.

  • Set up Google Drive folders.

  • Circulate Google Drive link ahead of conference, to make sure all have access.

  • Create Zoom breakout rooms.

  • Separate participants into teams, making sure each team is made up of participants from different offices/cities.

  • Tell each participant to bring a phone or laptop, with Zoom installed.


  • Open breakout rooms and let participants join.

  • Push the password into the breakout rooms.

  • Be sure you are on hand to help with any technical issues.

  • Each team tries to solve the riddles, delegating retrieval of the items.

  • After locating the item, participants take a picture of the item on their phone and upload this to Google drive.

  • During the next speaker session, judges check the entries and award points to each item, and the winner is announced the same day.

The activity was designed to build communication skills, problem solving skills, delegation skills and of course team-working skills.  
Key learning points:
Overall, participants loved it, but we also learned a few things. The most important being the background noise. With up to 15 people in one room, talking in different breakout rooms, the background noise was a problem for some people.

Be sure to test your activity, get comfortable with the tech, make sure it works!
There are digital platforms which can host a treasure hunt for you. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to trial these and costs were prohibitive, so we stuck with what we knew.

In general, we learnt, activities which would work well in a digital environment are those that rely on communication skills, and which force participants to move around, such as:

  • Treasure hunts,

  • Paint by numbers,

  • Escape rooms,

  • Twister

  • Blind shoe-lace tying.


6. Make it relevant and deliver what you promise.

Many people have discovered digital conferences and webinars as an inexpensive way to blatantly push content which they do not understand, or that lacks real depth. Webinars and conferences must deliver what they promise. If you promise ‘ways to….’, then make sure your slides include the tools to do so.

We promised our graduates an introduction to Moore Global, Moore Australia, their profession, as well as an introduction to corporate life. And that is exactly what we delivered.
The sessions provided information, tips, tricks and tools.

7. Skilled speakers and visually engaging slides

Our most popular session was presented by Moore Global CEO, Anton Colella. He is a fantastic speaker who knows how to hold a room and brings real value in his content, as he always tailors to his audiences.
Our participants walked away buzzing.

Especially in a digital environment, it is important to be skilled at ‘public’ speaking. Voice intonation and variation are extremely important. Bringing energy through your face, voice and slides is what will make or break a session, no matter how good the content. Make sure your slides are aesthetically pleasing, and practice your presentation before you deliver it.

Stand up, if you can. Vary the tone of your voice and use your hands. If you are excited about something, show it! Enunciate. Microphones will muffle your speaking and buffering will do the same.

Presenting to camera/Zoom is a little bit like stage acting. Everything has to be slightly exaggerated, to come across well.

Don’t be disheartened. It’s hard to read a room when presenting on Zoom. So just keep smiling, present what you know, and show that you care.

8. Mind your time zones.

Our conference participants were spread across Australia and New Zealand, creating a time difference of up to 4 hours. On our final day, our Global CEO, Anton Colella, joined from Scotland, making the time difference 11 hours. It was inevitable that someone was going to be uncomfortable.
To sweeten the deal, we ensured that those people on a late evening were catered for with pizzas and beverages, afternoon tea and/or breakfast, relevant to locations. Needless to say, the catering scores were through the roof.

9. After-care is key

If your aim is to provide a sense of connection, then make sure you provide your participants with the tools to do so. Following our graduate conference, we have instigated a series of graduate-specific coffee meetings, we encouraged them to connect with each other and senior management on LinkedIn, and we circulated a list of everyone’s contact details afterwards.

10. Flow

 We ensured there was a fast flow to our agenda, and that to every technical session, there were at least two informal sessions. No session was more than 45 minutes, and participants were allowed two 5-minute comfort breaks and one 20 minute lunch break on each day.

Keep the pace up, keep the energy up, and be sure to know your technology, so you’re not endlessly faffing with the platforms between presenters.

In short summary, our event was such a success because we delivered exactly what we promised. Two days of useful, engaging content, delivered in a way which was relevant to our audience.