We’ve seen many organizations give up on the idea of hybrid events out of fear or “analysis paralysis.” It’s not uncommon to get hung up on what a perfect event should look like, and constant “what-ifs” might creep in and limit your ability to move forward with planning.
But hybrid events don’t always need to be daunting. We created the following list of questions that you can ask yourself to ensure you deliver engaging and successful hybrid events.
What’s a Hybrid Event?As the world continues to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and disruption, hybrid events offer a seamless way to connect and accommodate people with diverse needs and preferences.
Key features of hybrid events may include:
- Virtual platforms: Hybrid events leverage various virtual platforms, such as video conferencing software, live streaming platforms, or virtual event platforms to facilitate real-time interactions with remote attendees.
- In-person venues: Physical venues are selected to host in-person attendees, providing a space for face-to-face networking, presentations, workshops, and other traditional event activities.
- Content delivery: Presentations, keynote speeches, and workshops can be delivered to the in-person audience and virtually.
- Interactive features: Hybrid events often incorporate interactive features, such as Q&A sessions, polls, and chat functionalities, allowing virtual attendees to participate and engage with the event actively.
- Networking opportunities: Most events offer networking opportunities for in-person and virtual attendees.
4 Questions to Consider When Planning Your Next Hybrid EventOrganizations should consider four fundamental questions when planning their next hybrid event to fully engage and captivate attendees.
1. What Technologies Are You Using?
Selecting the right platform and tool to meet your needs and objectives is necessary to create an engaging and interactive experience for both groups of participants.
Many event management platforms are readily available, so you’re not short of choices. Each platform offers different capabilities depending on your objectives. If you’re hosting a workshop with group activities, you’ll need a platform with tools and features that support group exercises, such as whiteboards and breakout rooms. If you’re hosting a seminar with an audience of a few hundred participants or more, you’ll need a platform that can support a large group and include some quick engagement tools like question-and-answer sessions or polling.
2. What Kind of Support Do You Have?
Having the right support team is critical for the success of your hybrid event. Consider appointing the following team members to ensure your event runs smoothly.
- Technical point person: Identify someone with the technical and system expertise to handle real-time issues with the platform and participant access.
- Virtual producer: A virtual producer can kick off an event by reviewing instructions and critical features virtual participants must know to engage fully. This person can also help manage the interactive tools, communicate with participants, and discuss technology issues with the technical point person.
- Facilitator: The facilitator’s role is to lead exercises and activities, keep the program on track with the agenda, and engage the audience to maximize participation.
3. How Are You Creating Immersive Experiences?
A poorly planned hybrid virtual event can become dull and lifeless, making people switch off mentally and literally. Crafting an agenda, setting clear goals, and integrating engaging activities can help organizations overcome this challenge.
While crafting your agenda and activities, think of how engagement will be achieved for both groups of participants. Thanks to virtual and augmented reality and gamification techniques, you can quickly connect, intrigue, and entertain the remote audience, but be sure to also identify tools that will help you keep your in-person audience engaged.
4. How Are You Collecting Feedback and Taking Action?
Feedback is a gift. As part of your planning process, consider how you’ll obtain feedback from both groups of participants. You can provide survey access in multiple ways, from on-paper surveys to QR codes.
After your hybrid event, ask the following questions as you analyze your data: What went well? What could be improved? When did we experience lower levels of interactivity? How can we create a more engaging experience next time? Use your answers to these questions to inform future events you host.