How to prepare for Hybrid Events?
How to prepare for hybrid events?
As the world is slowly opening up, we see that events are also transitioning from fully virtual into hybrid formats. Now is the time to think ahead and redesign the event experience for your audience.
The past year has greatly influenced peoples’ habits and preferences. Technology that supports remote meetings and events has taken a leap forward in evolution and innovation. Although all event formats – virtual, hybrid or in-person – will have their place and a purpose, we think that the biggest challenge and reward ahead lies in redesigning your event experience for the hybrid format.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is any event where an in-person and virtual audience joins together to engage and interact in the same event experience.
7 steps to plan a hybrid event
1. Clearly define your event purpose and the value it brings to your target audience(s)
The first cornerstone of any event – virtual, hybrid or in-person – is a clear definition of its purpose. Whom is it organised for? What are the goals of the event and key messages for the target audience? The answers to those questions will be the foundation of planning and managing your project.
Also, consider how the pandemic has changed peoples’ behaviours and what you can do to accommodate the needs and wishes of your target audience. This will help you find the right format.
2. A hybrid event can be organised with many combinations of different formats
In its simplest form, you have an in-person event with the main studio, and the virtual audience can join, interact, and influence content the same way as in-person participants.
Hybrid hubs are a great option when organising international events. In this case, content is shared from the main studio to the regional hubs, where it is possible to have in-person events. It is also possible to bridge hubs and cross share content. Be bold to create true dialogue and empower the feeling of being part of a community.
In addition to the shared experience, hubs can organise their own regional program around it.
3. Choose a platform that best supports your event goals
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Event goals, target audiences, and key messages will guide you to the right platform selection. You can read our tips on how to choose your virtual or hybrid event platform here.
4. Create program structures tailored for in-person and virtual audiences
Essentially, you are organising content for different audiences in one event. Think about the program length, which parts are united, and which are separate for your audiences.
Usually, the in-person event’s duration is longer than the virtual. In-person participants need time to move around, and they have breaks together to network. The virtual audience usually needs a shorter program because people lose focus, easily tire, or get distracted behind their screen more quickly.
Since the program flow is very different in in-person hubs and virtual events, plan a supporting program with moderation to guide the audience through the virtual experience while others have an in-person networking break. The virtual audience should feel that they are always guided and supported and that their experience is planned.
Think that you are organising two events – plan the event journey for in-person and virtual audiences with unified parts.
5. Build the main studio to be live audience friendly
It’s important to remember that you are creating an event experience for the in-person participants at the main studio. They need screens to see the streamed content and what the cameras are showing. The screens can display supporting materials, event visuals, keynote presentations, the host, and maybe even the participants themselves at some point.
The main studio needs to be more than a streaming hub. There should be a lobby and registration area, food and beverage, and all other amenities to make the in-person event participants’ experience at the hybrid studio as high quality as it would be at a solely in-person event.
6. Apply lessons learned from virtual events – plan new content flow
Organising fully virtual events have given us many lessons that can be applied to in-person events. Attention spans are shorter, and audiences are more demanding when it comes to content. For example, 45-minute live presentations do not work that well in a virtual format. Your hybrid event can benefit from sharper and snappier content to keep your participants engaged and energized.
Planning ahead, think about what content should be live and what can be pre-recorded and how will the main studio audience experience the recorded parts?
7. Be inclusive with engagement & networking
It’s important that your virtual audience feels engaged and part of the event.
Think about three different types of engagements: in-person, virtual, and united engagement. By using an event app, everyone can take part in the same Chat, Q&A and Polls or even engage in one-on-one video meetings regardless of their location.
A successful hybrid event manages to blur the line between physical and virtual engagement.
It is a great time to think about how your event experience can be redesigned to become hybrid ready and start planning.
If you would like to know more and perhaps have a virtual coffee to talk about hybrid solutions, get in touch by booking a meeting directly in the calendar.