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Hybrid events: how to host a productive get-together on-line

Hybrid Events: how to host a productive get-together on-line.

In order to be an effective #futureoffice, workspace providers will have to rethink the way businesses can optimise the use of their office space, which includes looking at the way corporate events in the aftermath of COVID-19 can be held successfully. Hybrid events, hosting a combination of physical and virtual participants, will become more commonplace, and in order to stay ahead of the curve, office providers will have to consider beefing up some of the services they offer. 

The following blog by HUBILO provides some interesting insights as to what steps flexible office providers can take, in order they continue to deliver relevant services.  

Hybrid Events: Here’s the perfect recipe to host a successful Hybrid Event

By Zarna Udasi

What is a Hybrid Event?

A Hybrid Event takes place at a physical location, while also being attended by a live audience virtually. Many organizations and event profs have been embracing hybrid models for years. But as a concept for future possibilities, hybrid events, meetings and conferences are gaining immense popularity, largely due to the crises posed by the pandemic.

While lock-down restrictions are slowly beginning to loosen up in various countries, the norms of social distancing and restrictions on large mass gatherings may accelerate the emergence of hybrid events even further.

If you too are yearning to barge into the hybrid ecosystem & exploiting the opportunity to host a successful hybrid event; here are some important things you should keep in mind while planning and hosting it.

Prerequisites

1. Tech support and equipment

Here’s a list of essential equipment required to host a hybrid event

  • A well-lit conference room, possibly with three-point LED lighting setup of — key, fill, back lights
  • HD cameras + tripod setting, at least three so that it covers the speakers from front, left and right ends
  • Lapel mics for the keynote speakers
  • Studio microphones for one-on-one interactions
  • Event management software integrated with a streaming platform/service which allows your remote attendees to connect

2. Staff support

Along with sound technology you’ll definitely require support of the following people to create a better experience for your attendees –

  • Technical staff to help with event management software operations
  • A team of camera persons, possibly one director of photography and assistants
  • A sound engineer to manage sound amplification for both the live and remote audience
  • A virtual event host who can also connect well both live and with remote attendees
  • Moderators for a smooth transition from one keynote speech to another
  • Social Media team to post and upload content and manage the hybrid event feed

3. Basic nitty-gritty

  • Background material like slides, videos, presentations and spreadsheets,designed in a way that it is easy to upload online & made easily accessible for remote audience
  • Update your social media regularly to keep the remote attendees notified
  • Make sure that your speakers and presenters are not wearing any color that gets easily merged in the backdrop of the event setup; so that the subject can be easily separated from the background
  • Also it is imperative for them to avoid stripped clothing as it gets too busy for the cameras to capture

Things to do — for better engagement

1. Engage more with remote audience at a Hybrid Event

Understand that a Hybrid Event is much more than just a live streaming or telecast of a recorded session. Your audiences would be more interested in interacting with you than just attending the presentations. Engage with virtual attendees as much as you interact with attendees at a physical venue. Make the most of Live Q&A and chat features available on the event management software that you choose. This would enable you to network with international audiences at a large scale and grow your network base.

2. Make your sessions short & entertaining

Grabbing the attention of attendees at a Hybrid Event is as challenging as planning a Hybrid Event itself. Remember, remote attendees are just one click away from leaving the event if they do not find it interesting

Catch their attention — use dynamic graphic images and gifs. Give out books and movie references, use anecdotes and appropriate examples to substantiate your theories better.

Another way to maximize audience participation is to ask questions from live audience and conduct a poll on twitter or event management software for virtual participants.

Why should you host a Hybrid Event?

1. Hybrid events ensure a long term reach — The sessions recorded during the event can later be accessed by attendees and will also open doors for new viewers to access the content. This way the significance of that particular Hybrid Event will continue to surge.

2. Chances of conversion of remote attendees to in-person attendees — If fortunately you are able to educate, inform and entertain your virtual audiences, chances are they’ll look up to attending your events in person next.

3. Hybrid Events are enticing for sponsors — The very fact that Hybrid Events ensure a long term reach makes it more attractive to sponsors. Participation of physical attendees plus online broadcasting of the conference and social media buzz of the event/conference is one of the most striking features for sponsors and entices them to invest more.

4. To fathom & quantify the needs of the audience — With surveys and polls conducted during hybrid events you can learn how many attendees participated online and why. You can use all this information and results to know what works the best for your audience.

Challenges of a Hybrid Event

1. As easy as it sounds, setting up a Hybrid Event is not just about immaculate placements of cameras and sound systems. It is more about stimulating participation from a virtual audience; for which the content must be appropriate. But how to ensure public participation?

Solution — Hosts and moderators should make it a point to interact with the online audience to provide them with a wholesome experience. At the same time the needs of physical audiences should not be neglected. Managing a Hybrid Event is a challenge as catering to two different sets of groups requires striking a good balance. Also pave ways and arrange a networking lounge where physical attendees can engage with online attendees

2. Another major challenge is, for a lot of organizations, stepping into the Hybrid ecosystem can be a new and daunting experience. Also facilitating the speakers and tech groups can be equally daunting in such cases.

Solution — Research, Research and Research! Learn about virtual events. If you are familiar with Virtual environment jump on to reading more about Hybrid. Request a demo from the customer service teams of the event management software that you choose.Take trials and dry runs. Allow your speakers to practice in advance for both physical and online scenarios. Even for the tech groups, make sure that they are prepared with both onsite and broadcasting equipment.

3. Many a times your online attendees will complain about delay in broadcast or inaccessibility due to bandwidth issues

Solution — Take a dry run of the event before the actual event. Learn to know about the internet speed that the attendees would require and notify them about the same. In case if you still face problems, make sure that all your content is available in offline formats that can be mailed to the attendees

Hybrid Events & the future of Events Industry

Although lock down restrictions have begun to loosen up; it is important to acknowledge the impact of the pandemic and travel restrictions & ponder on the fact that hybrid events, conferences and trade-shows are bound to shape the future of the events industry. Hybrid ecosystem is going to be an extension to the very well accepted virtual ecosystem. It will allow engagements along with preparing the audiences to attend a physical event in the coming months or years.

Here is all you need to know about Hybrid Events and planning one. Given the possibilities of their mushrooming ecosystem in the coming months you would want to make the most of this opportunity, right?

Source: Medium