Most organisations adopt a fully remote office environment with recent technological developments. This modern workplace approach means that remote and onsite event participants are becoming common for team collaboration. In other words, those who prefer attending events in person can do so while virtual attendees can become active participants via virtual channels, enabling flexibility.
The hybrid event setup is unique because they're established around empowered interaction by the active usage of innovative technology. This approach generates audience engagement since virtual attendees can connect with presenters and other participants through digital avenues. In addition, this increased reach encourages valuable business stakeholders to participate remotely during the event by giving video presentations regardless of travel restrictions.
In this article, you'll learn five surefire strategies for transforming into a compelling hybrid event host.
1. Determine Hybrid Event Strategy
Ensuring a successful hybrid event requires starting with identifying your event strategy by seeking answers to essential questions. You have to place your audience, the lessons they’ll learn from the session, the event's exact schedule, and the featured speakers' list. Then, you have to determine a specific goal such as improving brand awareness, enabling lead generation, and enhancing customer relationships.
After identifying your goals and the essential elements of your hybrid event, you must establish an appealing event buzz. You can achieve this strategy by creating an event hashtag, building an event page on various social media channels, and adding a countdown clock to your campaigns. Also, you may consider sending virtual event gifts, encouraging participants to share images of their gifts, and producing an event trailer.
2. Choose A Hybrid Event Platform
Having efficient technology to support the demands of your hybrid event is an absolute must. That said, you must compose a list of all the requirements to make an inventory of these elements based on your entire event portfolio. If you select the right event technology, you can make registrations and ticketing seamless, whether virtual or in-person.
While most venues offer some degree of hosting hybrid events, you must always prepare for possible technological malfunctions. Make sure that your selected platform has solid internet coverage and check if they have a well-trained technical team so you can prevent delays. Ideally, these service providers have connections with service-driven vendors who can supply soundproof phone booths to enable efficient communication.
When choosing hybrid event platforms, you must consider specific functionalities like high bandwidth streaming capabilities and networking features. In addition, you should assess if these avenues include detailed and real-time reporting, a designated app for the participants, and marketing automation. Furthermore, you can read more online to ensure that the system has a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for the attendees so you can have a productive event.
3. Evaluate Your Audience Mix
Hosting a hybrid event requires you to gain an in-depth knowledge of your audience to know the percentage of prospective participants who will attend in-person and virtual settings. If possible, you need to poll your potential attendees to identify their comfort level in participating in the in-person setup by inviting key groups that make sense personally. These individuals may include local teams where face-to-face team building and collaboration are vital to organisational success.
Initially, you need to begin with a smaller in-person audience to deliver a greater sense of protection to ensure personalised services. Additionally, this smaller in-person group allows you to meet the proper event capacity limits for the number of guests. Once you do so, you'll boost your chances of becoming a successful host during your first hybrid event.
After evaluating your in-person audience, you need to assess your virtual attendees by considering time zones. With that, you have to gain accurate participant information using the poll you collected earlier in this process. If you learn that your potential attendees have scattered availability, you may consider hosting the hybrid event within two half days instead of throughout a single day.
4. Gather Enough Lead Time
Whether you're a startup or seasoned hybrid event host, you must do yourself a favor by giving yourself enough time to set up the activity. Doing so helps you avoid frustration whenever an issue arises and allows you to deliver the best user experience. Instead of letting your stakeholders force you into hosting short timelines with minimal preparation, you have to step back so you can provide a successful event.
Your organisation will have a negative impression and experience of these events in the future if you don't ensure the success of your first session. With that, you must measure the amount of lead time depending on the scales and complexity of your hybrid activity. An event with a single session requires less lead time while those with ten sessions will need a lot of preparation.
5. Connect Both Audiences
The most crucial step in all types of events is finding an effective way to encourage active engagement between your two-segmented audiences. Fortunately, if you choose the most efficient hybrid event platform, this software offers various avenues of interaction for both audiences. The most common forms may include chat rooms, live polling, digital business card exchanging, direct messaging, and virtual booths for sponsors.
You must remember that both audiences need to find value in these engagement methods, so you can become an effective virtual event host by providing effective communication. Ensure your in-person participants bring their mobile devices to interact with the small audience. Also, your speakers need to be able to attend to all possible questions from all audiences so you can sustain their attention and engagement throughout the session.
Another way to encourage active engagement between these audiences is by enabling meet-and-greets before the hybrid event so they can all engage comfortably during the live one. Alternatively, you should inspire your live participants to post an image with a remote attendee on social media. Since you already have an established online page for your hybrid event, you must use this avenue to keep a live feed of event highlights and encourage attendees to leave comments.
If you're hosting a hybrid event for the first time, you have to ensure its success so you can leave a positive impression on your attendees. Thus, you should consider following these strategies to promote active engagement with your audiences effectively. In turn, most of your participants will gain great experience during your first hybrid event, and they might keep asking for more in the future.
About Author: Sasha Bealy is a digital entrepreneur and consultant helping businesses maximise the new normal in the workplace. When she's not writing for blogs and working with clients, she spends time with her three golden retrievers.