In the corporate sector, organizations are exploring virtual meetings and hybrid events to:
Associations use hybrid conferences as a strategy to provide a wider audience with access to content and spark interest in future live conferences.
Participants from various locations communicate and interact directly with each other and the speakers.
Hybrid events combine face-to-face events with virtual access for remote participants.
What are the benefits of virtual meetings and hybrid events?
Of course, due to their dependence on technology, these events do present some unique challenges. You need to make sure that:
Fortunately, emerging technology is making it easier to deliver interactive and engaging experiences. And on that note, here are 8 things you need to consider when planning a virtual event or hybrid event.
1. Objectives: Ask “Why virtual?” and “What do you want to achieve?”.
Depending on whether the goal is to educate, entertain, or engage, this will guide your technology decisions and the choice of platform.
2. Type of Content: What type of content will be shared during the meeting? How many presenters will be sharing it?
Slides and a single speaker can be accommodated through webcasts but video requires technology that is capable of handling live streaming if there are multiple presenters.
3. Internet Bandwidth: How much is enough is always the question?
Rich video requires more bandwidth or the stream will be choppy.
4. Engagement: How will you keep people engaged?
Virtual participants often multi-task and they have distractions and competing priorities. The level of commitment is low and they will drop off if they are not engaged. For this reason the sound bites and presentation segments need to be shorter than for face-to-face meetings and events.
5. Speaker-to-Attendee Interactions: How much interaction is required between the speaker and the remote audience?
This is another key driver when selecting a platform. Is Q & A enough or do you require a platform that offers more robust discussion functionality?
To enable remote attendees to interact with the speaker and content just as though they were there in person, you can choose an event app with audience response functionality like Live Polling, Surveys and Q & A. This makes it possible for attendees to: submit questions during the , participate in polls and
6. Attendee-to-Attendee Engagement: How can you facilitate interactions between virtual and live participants?
Choosing an event app with interactive features like discussion channels can help spark conversations and facilitate networking between live and remote participants. Curious to hear more? Here are some ideas on could use Group Discussions at your next hybrid or virtual event.
7. Demographics: What is the age group, level of tech savvy, and multi-cultural mix of the audience?
This will influence decisions about the best platform, graphics, music, and use of avatars vs real people. Never make assumptions or base decisions solely on demographics. Use demographics as a starting point and then interview or poll a part of your audience to crowdsource you content and approach.
8. AV Considerations: What type of AV will be required to achieve your objectives? Here Midori Connolly–Chief AVGirl of AVGirl Productions–reviews important AV considerations for hybrid events and tells us why it’s important .
Christine Otsuka is a seasoned writer and editor with a passion for the events industry. She's spent the last seven years creating print, digital, and live content for event planners, managers, and marketers. She works as Customer Marketing Lead at EventMobi, supporting the Customer Success and Marketing teams.
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