Organizing a hybrid event necessitates agility, flexibility, and smartness on the part of the host. It will be difficult to engage distant attendees in 2022, when there will be a huge increase in the use of gadgets and devices all vying for your attention. The distractions are reduced for the workers that are physically present. Your remote and in-person audiences will have different experiences due to the differences in location. As the host, your duty is to bridge this divide and create a seamless, participatory experience for both audiences. Here are some of our favorite hybrid event best practices for overcoming this problem and hosting an amazing hybrid event.
1. Keep an open mind when it comes to revisions
This practice can greatly assist you in avoiding last-minute panic. After deciding on the information to be provided and assigning subjects to the speakers, you must revisit the presentations, videos, and all other content that will be presented to the audience. Check to see whether it fits into your event’s plan and adds value. You must provide participants with value-added material in exchange for their time spent at your event. It’s worth the effort even if it means going over your content a few times. As an event organizer, though, you should use your first hybrid event as a learning experience. All firms will go through a trial phase as they transition to this new approach of presenting events.
2. Observe the functions of on-site operations
The virtual delegates aren’t as concerned as the physically present attendees; you’ll need to practice where the show will take place. You and your team should set aside a certain period during the day to practice and check if the lighting and sound are working correctly, so that you are not embarrassed when you are really there. Also, make sure that everything being live-streamed is set up to provide the virtual audience with quality audio and visuals. Before the event, conduct a brief ‘tech check,’ in which someone may examine the presentation via the virtual platform and propose any adjustments that are needed.
3. Involve the Virtual Participants
It’s simpler for distant participants to simply sit back and observe the event rather than actively participate in it. You should not allow this to happen as a host. To further engage your remote audience, tell your presenters to ask questions for virtual attendees on a regular basis so they don’t feel shunned. The presence of on-site attendees is unquestionably important. However, unlike the participants who attended the session remotely, they are able to engage most of the time because the speaker is right in front of them. It’s critical to keep both audiences engaged during live webinars. Use interactive features that can be used by both in-person and virtual guests. For example, both remote and in-person participants can use the virtual platform app to conduct live polling and Q&As. This will also enable event organizers to collect event analytics after the event has concluded.
4. Set Time as Your Priority
The attention spans of audiences have greatly declined, and even a smidgeon of sluggishness can cost you a lot. Those who joined remotely, in particular, are more likely to be targeted. Make sure that the sessions aren’t too long and that there are breaks in between. However, keeping sessions brief won’t ensure engagement; you’ll need to give engaging value-added information. You should also take into account the time zones of those who will be attending electronically. If there is a huge international audience, it is better to broadcast the live presentation and then publish a recording of it for others to watch at their leisure.
5. Consider the Capacity for Attendees
Organizers should impose a limit on how many in-person tickets they will sell. If in-person tickets sell out, you should market the advantages of attending the virtual event more aggressively. Some people may not purchase tickets if they are unable to attend in person because they do not believe the virtual event is worthwhile. This is where your marketing staff can help by addressing their worries and demonstrating why the virtual alternative is a good investment.
6. Foster Networking Opportunities
People attend business gatherings for a variety of reasons, one of which is to networking. Your responsibility is to ensure that the audience in your hybrid webinar/meeting has a positive experience. It’s a little more difficult to provide networking possibilities to a hybrid audience because only a section of them will be there, while the rest will be watching from afar. Also, regardless of whether they’re attending a virtual or real event, encourage participants to create user accounts on the virtual event platform. Attendees and exhibitors will be able to quickly search profiles and initiate interactions with important targets as a result of this. They can also set up meetings for themselves. It would help them better organize their calendars even if they were both present.
7. Take Economic Feasibility into Account
Despite being one of the most important aspects of planning a hybrid event, this factor is frequently overlooked. Below are a few of the cost components:
- Virtual venue cost
- Venue booking
- Production and A/V costs
- Internet connectivity cost
- Catering, food, and beverages for participants on-site
- Setup and teardown crew
- Hosts and speakers’ travel and lodging (if you’re paying for them)
When these fees are added together, they may add up to a significant figure, potentially costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the event’s requirements. As a result, it’s best to be prepared and have relatively accurate capital forecasts.
8. To determine success, do an analysis
Examine what is working for your company. Events are not one-time occurrences, and it is critical to learn from the mistakes of earlier events. Unfortunately, audience applause is not a reliable indicator of an event’s success. It’s preferable to believe the figures since it’s the examination of parameters that determines whether or not an event was a success. You must understand event analytics and reports and make decisions based on the findings in order to plan better events in the future (in terms of engagement, ROI, lead generation, and so on). These event reports may be generated and interpreted with the aid of virtual event managers.
Hybrid events are a relatively new phenomena, but their popularity is only going to grow. Best practices will undoubtedly emerge in tandem with the status of hybrid events. These best practices for arranging your first hybrid event should serve as a starting point.