Why Audio-Only Should Be an Option at Your Next Virtual Event

The world of events is always changing. In 2020, virtual and hybrid events were the newest thing. These events are still growing in popularity, but now there’s a new twist you should consider adding to your toolkit: the virtual event audio-only attendance option.

Why Offer an Audio-Only Option at Virtual Events?

It seems counterintuitive to offer audio-only. Wouldn’t an attendee want to experience a digital environment in every way possible? Here are a few reasons providing an audio-only option can be a benefit to your virtual event:

1. Combat Zoom Fatigue

With more people working remotely and attending events the same way, a new concept has emerged in relation to the effect it sometimes has on attendees: Zoom fatigue. It refers to the fact that, increasingly, work-related meetings and virtual events often involve video conferencing platforms. Video conferencing is wonderfully convenient, but there are some things that contribute to Zoom fatigue:

There’s more eye contact than usual: On video conferencing calls, attendees are continuously looking into their monitors or at their cameras. This makes it look like everyone is looking at everyone else, all the time. Extended eye contact tends to make people feel uncomfortable, especially over long periods of time.

It feels unnatural to watch yourself in real time: On most video conference platforms, the viewing screen includes a square with your own real-time image inside it. As with the continuous eye contact, this is something that doesn’t happen in the real world. We’re not used to seeing ourselves close up in this way, especially for extended periods. For most people, it’s an uncomfortable feeling.

It’s more mentally taxing: People naturally send and receive nonverbal communication signals all the time, mostly without realizing it. But in a video chat, it’s more difficult to interpret nonverbal cues. That makes it harder for people to communicate effectively, so it requires more mental effort.

Physical movement is limited: When attending a video conference or virtual event, attendees must sit and watch the screen in order to participate. If they get up and walk around, they risk missing out on some of what’s going on.

What’s the danger of Zoom fatigue? Your virtual audience may find it increasingly difficult to stay focused the longer they have to sit without a break. Zoom fatigue can decrease attendee engagement, making your content and your marketing messages less effective. And for people who are suffering from Zoom fatigue—even if they don’t know it—attending virtual events may not seem like an attractive prospect.

Offering event audio as a stand-alone option could help you keep these people in your audience pool. It also offers attendees the option to consume your content away from their desks. They could be walking the dog or doing the dishes, expanding the opportunities for them to hear from you and enjoy it.

2. Reach a New Audience Segment

There’s another excellent reason to consider developing an audio-only version of your next virtual event: It gives you the opportunity to expand your audience reach. There may be people in your potential audience pool who can’t quite afford the price of a virtual ticket or who just haven’t heard of your event yet. All of those are people you might potentially reach by offering your event content in an audio-only version, for a discounted price.

3. Reuse Audio Content

You don’t have to stop at selling audio-only tickets. If your event audio is suitable for repurposing as a series of podcasts, you can continue expanding your audience reach, while getting even more value out of the event. Podcasts are hugely popular for a wide range of listeners, in all kinds of industries. People listen to podcasts for professional as well as personal value, with podcasts on everything from career development to management and industry news.

How to Develop an Audio-Only Event Experience—and Make It Work

Audio-only programming is hardly new. Podcasts have been around for almost 20 years and radio for over a century. But media made using these formats is created with the format in mind, and virtual events are highly visual. How can you design an engaging audio-only event experience if the event’s native format includes both sound and vision?

1. Plan for an Event Audio-Only Option

The most important thing you can do to make an audio-only option work for your virtual event is to plan for it. Instead of adding the option as an afterthought, design your content from the ground up so that it’s appealing to people who are listening, as well as those watching. This might mean, for instance, asking speakers to avoid heavy use of visual aids such as slide decks and PowerPoint presentations.

2. Take the Podcast Approach

One thing that makes podcasts so popular is their bite-size approach to content development. By creating your event content with this approach in mind, you can make it extremely easy to convert your virtual event into a podcast series at a later date.

This approach has another advantage, as it also means that each “bite” of event content is a comfortable length for both listening and viewing. The most popular and effective duration for a podcast is 20 to 40 minutes. And 40 to 45 minutes is about as long as you’d want to go for a virtual speaker, discussion, or webinar. If you try to stretch it beyond this point, people who are watching in real-time may be losing focus and needing a break. Stay in the 20- to 40-minute range, and it’s just right for everyone.

3. Add Audio-Only Event Spaces

Many virtual events include text chat as a communication option, but not all offer audio chat. Those that do tend to limit audio chat to Q&A sessions and other interactive elements. But what if you also included audio chat rooms, open for the duration of the entire event? Audio chat can be highly engaging and help keep people interested—and logged in—while waiting for the next speaker or session to start. You can even use audio chat rooms to beef up your content schedule, with moderated group discussions.

4. Offer a True Event Audio-Only Option

Finally, if you’re going to offer an audio-only option for your virtual event, make sure it is truly audio-only and that it offers a real event experience. Ideally, your audio-only attendees should have access to streaming audio of the event in real time, rather than being limited to only on-demand content or podcast episodes after the event is over.

With real-time video, real-time audio, and on-demand options too, you can offer your attendees so much flexibility in terms of how they can access your event content—and they’ll appreciate it!

Audio-Only Can Offer a Full Event Experience and Make Your Event More Flexible

With issues such as Zoom fatigue coming to the fore as virtual events gain popularity, there are plenty of good reasons to consider offering audio-only at your next event. Designing event content with this audience in mind can help you create a more engaging and flexible event and expand your audience reach too.

Jack Connolly

Executive Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.


Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.


In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

Jerome Nadel

Chief Marketing Officer

Jerome Nadel is Internationally experienced design-led marketing executive (CMO and GM) with a track record of improved market position, revenue growth, and M&A. He is an advance degreed psychologist and user experience product/service design expert, board member and advisor.


Prior to joining ProGlobalEvents |ProExhibits |XtendLive, he has had a variety of chief marketing officer and chief user experience officer roles at companies including Rambus, BrainChip, Human Factors International, SLP InfoWare, Gemplus, and Sagem. He started his career in the IBM Human Factors Labs.


He is also an avid cyclist with National and multiple California State Champion titles.

Ivan Fujihara

Chief Financial Officer

Ivan brings 25+ years in senior level management experience from a variety of technology industries.  His background includes accounting management, analytics and audit management for technology companies.  He has worked with companies such as THX, Ltd, Recruitology , Double Click, Creative Labs and more.  Ivan has also served on the board of Lincoln Families, a non-profit that supports East Bay children with the objective of disrupting the cycle of trauma and poverty.

Matt Rulis

Vice President of Sales

Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler


Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jody Tatro

Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.