What is a hybrid event?
A Hybrid Event takes place in a physical location, while also being hosted by a virtually live audience. Many organizations and event profiles have embraced hybrid models for years. But as a concept for future opportunities, hybrid events, meetings and conferences are gaining huge popularity, largely due to the crises posed by the pandemic.
While blocking restrictions have slowly begun to be released in various places, social distance norms and restrictions on large mass gatherings can accelerate the emergence of hybrid events even further.
If you too want to get into the hybrid ecosystem and take advantage of the opportunity to host a successful hybrid event; here are some important things to keep in mind when planning and hosting it.
1. Technical Support And Equipment
- Here is a list of essential equipment required to attend a hybrid event
- A well-lit conference room, preferably with three-point LED lighting configuration – button, padding, taillights
- HD camera + tripod placement, at least three so as to cover the speakers from the front, left and right edges
- Microphones with jackets for keynote speakers
- Studio microphones for one-on-one interactions
- Event management software integrated with a broadcasting platform/service that allows your remote participants to connect
2. Staff Support
- Along with sound technology, you will definitely need the support of the following people to create a better experience for your participants –
- Technical staff to assist with event management software operations
- A team of camera people, maybe a director of photography and assistants
- A sound engineer to manage sound amplification for both live and remote audiences
- A virtual event host who can also connect well both directly and with remote participants
- Moderators for a smooth transition from one basic speech to another
- Social Media team to post and upload content and manage the hybrid source of events
3. Basic Nitty-Gritty
- Background material such as slides, videos, presentations and spreadsheets, designed in a way that is easy to upload online and easily accessible to a remote audience
- Update your social media regularly to keep participants informed at a distance
- Make sure your speakers and presenters are not wearing any colours that blend easily into the background of the event configuration; so that the subject is easily separated from the background
- Also, it is imperative that they avoid naked clothing as it becomes too busy for the cameras to capture
Things to do — for better engagement
1. Engage more with the remote audience in a Hybrid Event
Understand that a Hybrid Event is much more than just a live broadcast or television broadcast of a recorded session. Your audience would be more interested in interacting with you than just participating in presentations. Engage with virtual participants as much as you interact with attendees in a physical location. Make the most of the direct question and answer features in the event management program you choose. This will enable you to connect with international audiences on a large scale and increase your network base
2. Make your sessions short and fun
Getting the attention of attendees to a hybrid event is as challenging as planning a hybrid event itself. Remember, remote attendees are just a click away from leaving the event if they do not find it interesting
Get their attention – use dynamic graphic images and gifs. Give books and movie references, use appropriate anecdotes and examples to better substantiate your theories.
Another way to maximize audience participation is to ask questions from the live audience and do a Twitter survey or event management software for virtual participants.
Why Should You Organize a Hybrid Event?
1. Hybrid events provide a long-term reach – Sessions recorded during the event can later be accessed by attendees and will also open the door for new viewers to access the content. In this way, the significance of that particular Hybrid Event will continue to grow.
2. Chances of turning remote attendees into the personal present – If fortunately, you are able to educate, inform and entertain your virtual audiences, chances are they are looking to attend in person at your events.
3. Hybrid Events Are Attractive to Sponsors – The fact that Hybrid Events provide a long-term reach makes them more attractive to sponsors. Attendance of physical attendees plus online conference broadcast and event/conference social media noise is one of the most prominent features for sponsors and entices them to invest more.
4. To understand and evaluate the number of audience needs – With surveys and surveys conducted during hybrid events, you can learn how many attendees attended online and why. You can use all of this information and results to know what works best for your audience.
Challenges of a Hybrid Event
1. As easy as it sounds, organizing a Hybrid Event is not just about setting up flawless cameras and sound systems. It has more to do with stimulating participation from a virtual audience; for which the content should be appropriate. But how to ensure public participation?
Solution – Hosts and moderators should make it a point to interact with online audiences to provide them with a healthy experience. At the same time, the needs of the physical audience should not be neglected. Managing a Hybrid Event is a challenge as catering to two different groups needs establishing a good balance. Also, open up ways and set up a networking lounge where physical attendees can engage with online attendees
2. Another major challenge is, for many organizations, getting into the Hybrid ecosystem can be a new and daunting experience. Also facilitating speakers and tech groups can be just as troubling in such cases.
Solution – Research, Search and Research! Learn about virtual events. If you are familiar with Virtual Environments, skip to reading more about Hybrid. Request a demo from the customer service teams of the event management software you choose. Do tests and dry runs. Allow your speakers to practice in advance for both online and physical scenarios. Even for tech groups, make sure they are equipped with in-house equipment and transmitters.
3. Many times your online participants will complain about the broadcast delay or inaccessibility due to bandwidth issues
Solution – Take a dry run of the event before the actual event. Learn to know the internet speed that attendees would require and let them know about it. In case you still have problems, make sure all your content is available in offline formats that can be mailed to attendees.