Hybrid Events – The fine line between flawless and disaster

We believe that creating memorable audience experiences and tangible outcomes involves a clear strategy, good storytelling and most importantly, flawless execution. 

With as many moving parts as hybrid events require – this isn’t always easy, simple, or straightforward. In fact, often it couldn’t be further from the truth. 

So, to set you on the path to success, our team are sharing 8 tips to help you create a flawless hybrid event.

1. Choose the right technology

Hybrid events run on tech – so it’s imperative to choose the right platform combinations to allow you to successfully weave the in-person and virtual experiences seamlessly.

Choose the wrong combination and it could spell tragedy before you even get off the ground. 

The platform you choose (here’s what we prefer) should offer a broad array of tools and functionalities to utilise. This includes built-in features for registration, communication, meeting and messaging, speaker management, online networking, streaming, virtual booths and breakout rooms, data analytics, webinars and so much more.

Having the right features can make all the difference to your event. With so many platform options on the market, it can be hard to narrow it down. We’re always happy to share our experience, just give us a call.

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2. Balance live and pre-recorded content

Add polish to your event by integrating both live and pre-recorded content into the schedule. Pre-recorded content can add variety and dimension to your event, provide a break for live presenters, is easier to manage and keeps content dynamic throughout the event.

You can also schedule your pre-recorded content to stream at the best time for differing time zones, maximising your reach and audience experience. 

3. Make registration easy

Registration for your event should be intuitive and simple – and often that’ll come down to the registration software you choose. Ideally you should look for software that:

  • Delivers a smooth registration experience for your attendees
  • Allows you to integrate easily with existing software 
  • Allows you to create custom registration journeys for both in-person and virtual attendees so they can sign up for appropriate sessions and events
  • Collects as much data as possible (you can never have too much!)

4. Rehearse and then rehearse again

As the saying goes, practice makes perfect – and when it comes to delivering a hybrid event, you can never be too prepared.

Test and retest your content, tech, and engagement tools before the event to ensure you provide a faultless and professional result that really delivers your message. This goes for your presenters and MC’s as well. 

Rehearsals ensure your presenters feel comfortable, are delivering their content appropriately (think camera angles, suitable backdrops, sound, lighting, initiating polls, delivering their slides etc) and have the technical experience prior to the event to solve any problems should things go awry. Remember, the more comfortable and prepared your team and presenters are, the better the presentation – and therefore the better experience your attendees will have. 

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5. Generate audience engagement

Release your inner game show host and get creative! We live in a fast-paced world, where information fatigue is a real problem. Your attendees are one notification away from distraction so it’s important to keep them busy and engaged as active participants. 

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Use polls to allow attendees to have their say during presentations
  • Encourage active (rather than passive) participation with Q&A’s and live chat functions
  • Create a social lounge that all attendees can access and discuss the event content
  • Offer interactive workshops throughout – it’s also a great way to break up the day for those attendees that have been glued to their laptop all day
  • Sprinkle a range of competitions and competitive experiences throughout your event – look to sponsors for prize donations

6. MC vs. MC’s

Hybrid events cater to two audiences with differing needs, requirements, and experiences. “The MC is the water that keeps all boats afloat. They ensure audiences can find what they’re looking for and easily choose what they’re going to do next” says professional MC Carolyn Strauss.

Hiring an in-person and a virtual MC will help to bridge the gap between the live and virtual components of your event – offering all attendees a personalised experience. If your budget doesn’t extend to two MC’s – a virtual host (included as part of our digital event strategy offering) is also a fantastic option to prompt your virtual audience and keep them focused and informed between sessions.

And while you’re at it, why not look at engaging a chat moderator who can respond and engage with your virtual audience, whilst feeding questions, comments, and observations into the live components.

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7. Plan for flexibility

Murphy’s Law suggests that even the most careful planning doesn’t necessarily ensure success, so it’s important to have a Plan B (or C, D and E) up your sleeve to implement if necessary. That’s where using an end-to-end event production agency like Nectar Creative Communications can really come in handy, providing you access to every tool in the toolkit.

An experienced MC can also help to bridge any gaps that may occur, such as a presenter finishes early. Having a selection of pre-recorded content will ensure that your event continues to flow, no matter what occurs. 

8. Don’t forget the post-event follow up

The event may be finished, but the work isn’t over yet! Keep the engagement going by following up with your attendees with communication and content they’ll find interesting. 

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Send a thank-you email to all attendees after the event has finished. It’s good manners AND it offers a great opportunity to deliver a short post-event feedback survey
  • Send information on how to access on-demand content, especially if your event had concurrent streams
  • Promote sponsors who still have their virtual booths open
  • Provide key takeaways from the sessions, either separately, or together with any on-demand content

So, are you ready to take on your first hybrid event? Sometimes, it’s easier (and more cost effective) to leave it to the experts.

Why not book a free 30-minute consultation with our team of event strategists to discuss your event and ensure a flawless experience for everyone.