Over the past few years, event planners have had to get more comfortable with delivering digital meetings. Even with the return of in-person events, Covid has left us with some lasting changes and it is still necessary to incorporate some online elements into the events. This has led to the rise of hybrid events, which connect in-person and remote attendees and require a great deal of planning!
In this blog post, we share some of our top tips to make your next hybrid event a success!
Select the right platform
With the wide variety of platforms available, it is vital to consider the needs of your audience when selecting the platform for your event. The main things to take into account are;
- How many people are you expecting to join the event online?
- How long will it run for?
- What level of engagement do you require for the agenda and what is your budget?
If you are planning to simply live stream your event, you will require a different set-up to the one with a more comprehensive agenda, remote speakers and a high level of engagement.
We’d recommend working with an AV provider or your event venue to discuss the most effective set-up option and a platform to support this.
Consider both agendas
When planning a hybrid event, planners must focus on meeting the needs of in-person attendees, whilst also keeping remote viewers engaged.
Delegates joining remotely may find it harder to remain focused for a full-day programme. You need to consider engaging elements to break the agenda up. You may choose to condense the online agenda and then schedule additional activities, such as meals and networking gatherings, for in-person delegates.
Create shared experiences
While live and remote elements of the event are distinct in many ways, allowing both audiences to experience something together can elevate the experience for everyone. Think about setting up live votes, polls and Q&As to engage the remote audience as the event is happening.
When those attending in person will be networking, those on the other side of the screen should also have ways to interact with each other or the host.
Facilitating interactions between remote and in-person audiences is the true challenge of hybrid events. Solving this dilemma might mean putting a screen onstage to allow remote attendees to take part in a presentation or ask questions. You could also provide individual tablets to in-person attendees for one-to-one exchanges with digital participants.
It’s important to blend audience engagement throughout the sessions as much as possible to keep everyone equally involved. The moderator should take as many questions from the in-room attendees as from those online. One way we have achieved this is by using one Q&A platform (e.g. sli.do) for all participants. This ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to get involved.
Provide a thorough briefing
Preparing stakeholders for what will take place at an event has always been necessary, whether the gathering is face-to-face or digital — but it’s especially important when combining the two.
Provide all participants with thorough instructions for joining the meeting, including the agenda for the day and any information they need for engagement in advance (e.g. links to apps).
Additionally, all promotions should make it clear that the event will have both digital and in-person elements and audiences, allowing prospective attendees to select the delivery option that best fits their needs.
Things are constantly changing, so enabling participants to change their involvement easily is key. Make it easy for registrants to upgrade to in-person attendance if circumstances allow — or to shift from attending in-person to joining virtually if covid keeps them at home.
The same applies for speakers. Having the option to contribute remotely reduces the likelihood of someone dropping out at the last minute.
Capture the experience
One of the major advantages of a hybrid event is that the content can be captured for on-demand use long after the event ends. You can share the virtual elements with a wider audience who were unable to attend on the day. Make sure you get sign off from all contributors to share the content after the event.
Test, test, test!
And last, but not least, we would recommend to test, test and test again! Whether it’s internet connection, speaker video, microphones or video content, nothing will have your guests tuning out quicker than poor technical delivery. If you’re working with an AV company or the venue IT team, do a trial run and test calls to ensure seamless delivery.
We hope these tips will help you with your future hybrid events planning. And, if you need some assistance to ensure your next hybrid event is a big success, get in touch. We would love to help!
You may also like Sustainable Events – Practical Guide.