Experts say hybrid events are the future. A successful hybrid event requires both components: the right physical location and the right technology. Therefore, both deserve special attention and planning. A different approach to creating a mission and goals for both audiences is key to making your hybrid event a success.
Hybrid events offer the best of both worlds – the virtual and the physical. Some of the participants are present at a physical location, and some are virtual. The popularity and use of hybrid events has spread during the pandemic, and they are here to stay. This is a good reason why we should get to know them more.
In a Forbes article, Melissa Park, founder and CEO of award-winning global events company, Melissa Park Events, shares her experiences and tips that are important for an event to make a big impact. If your company wants to organize a successful hybrid event, you must not neglect these tips.
Every Hybrid Event Needs Production
For a hybrid event to be successful, more production is needed than simply delivering the event content with a physical presence. Although you'll be sharing the same content online and live, for the event to be truly effective, the virtual element of the hybrid event needs to be designed as a stand-alone experience.
It will mean technical solutions that will contribute to every participant being inspired and involved. From choosing an online platform with the right features and technology, to the technical support team. You will need to factor this into your budget as well.
Set separate goals for both types of events: virtual and live The virtual component of your event should have its own separate mission and goals. The experience that online participants will have is completely different from the experience of participants present at the physical location. Both components of your event cannot be evaluated at the same time. We often like to skip the boring tasks of planning and go straight to the fun stuff like decorating, putting up signs, and choosing food and drinks, explains Park. But the clearer our mission and goals are, the clearer our entire event and its marketing will be. Don’t Forget the Participants Perspective Once you've defined what you want to achieve, it's time to get inside the mind of your target audience so you can create from their perspective.
What is it that bothers them?
How can your event solve their problem?
What will it take for your marketing material to float to the surface in the sea of digital noise?
What will it take to get them to buy a ticket or sign up to attend?
Beware of the Participants Attention Distractions are everywhere. Through the use of live streaming technology, a virtual version of the event takes place in parallel with the event at a physical location. However, you won't be able to hold the attention of a virtual audience for that long. This is why you should create a shorter, modified virtual program that lasts less than 2 hours. Live stream the keynote and all keynote speaker sessions. Then give virtual attendees access to a library of presentations they can watch later at a time that suits them. Encourage Participant Interaction Beware of forced interaction. Create conditions for the interaction to "flow". If your live event has too many components, then this moment of forced interaction will appear. With a great desire to enable a greater degree of interaction, we offer them too many options such as group sessions, breakout rooms, one-on-one meetings with the expert, wellness activities, networking opportunities, VIP dinners, partner/client dinners, cocktail parties, etc. The same applies to the involvement of virtual participants. If you ask your audience to do a million little things, you will confuse them and lose them. Think about what elements you need and will actually help you achieve your goals, and then remove everything else. Promote Networking Networking is one of the main reasons people attend business events, explains vFairs' Ahmed Sohaib. The task of the organizer of the hybrid event is to create conditions for the participants of the event to achieve effective interaction. Providing networking opportunities to a hybrid audience is challenging because part of your audience is in attendance, while the rest is watching the event from a distance. One recommendation is to encourage attendees to set up user profiles on the virtual event platform, whether they attend the event online or in person. This way attendees and speakers can easily search profiles and start targeted conversations. It will also make it easier for them to communicate and schedule a business meeting. Technology as a Key Component of Virtual and Hybrid Events One of the key components of virtual and hybrid events is technology. The first thing that should be on your check list when organizing hybrid events is: "Provision of appropriate technology" – explains the Strategic Development Consulting from Skopje in the Manual for Organization of Virtual and Hybrid Events. Appropriate technology as a term can vary depending on the different types of events - virtual ones require a device and a stable internet connection to log into a platform, while hybrid events require additional video, audio and streaming equipment (cameras, microphones, audio/video mixers, etc.). Conclusion Hybrid events are here to stay. They are the future as they offer unique opportunities for participants to experience the best of live and virtual events. Because of this difference in setting, there will be a gap in the experience of the virtual audience and the live audience. Your role as the host is to minimize this gap and ensure a seamless, interactive event for both audiences. When it comes to the corporate sector, the reasons why companies should use the potential offered by hybrid events is to have a greater impact on their customers - existing and future. Looking for a location for your next hybrid event? LinkAcross Development Center in Skopje offers a space (physical location) and a Zoom platform for organizing hybrid events. Find out more on our website at https://www.centarzarazvoj.mk/venue.
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