With the CDC’s latest COVID-19 guideline updates, event leaders will soon be (if they aren’t already) planning more hybrid meetings, or meetings with a mix of in-person and virtual attendees. While many organizations have been holding hybrid meetings for the last several years, experts are still trying to figure out how to accommodate the varying needs of their audience.
So, whether your audience has a seat in front of the main stage, or they are viewing from the comfort of a home office, here are some tools of the trade to keep in mind as we start to see the demand for hybrid meetings and events pick up.
Invest in a virtual platform
If you’re relying on Zoom or Microsoft Teams to support the virtual component of your event, it may be time to explore other virtual hosting platforms if your end goal is to grow audience engagement. That said, virtual platforms come in all shapes and sizes, each offering its own level of flexibility and customization options. For those making their first investment in a virtual platform, creativity and flexibility in design are often overlooked. You’ll want to find a solution that gives you the flexibility to customize your brand and messaging for different event types.
PRO TIP: Before you invest, check to confirm the platform can customize the attendee experience with things like personalized schedules and agendas.
Hire an event production agency
The role of event production has changed as producers now have to oversee new components like platform build and technical requirements needed to support a virtual environment. If you’re lucky enough to have internal resources, the sky is the limit! Unfortunately, most companies don’t have the luxury of having an in-house production team.
PRO TIP: When looking for an event production partner, be sure to find someone who is capable of overseeing rehearsal runs, managing recordings, setting up and tests for broadcast quality and an internet connection, and can help manage features like polling, slide transitions, and other visuals.
Showcase your virtual audience
Have a big screen behind your main stage? Use it to showcase as many of your remote attendees as possible! If some don’t feel comfortable being live on camera, provide an option for them to submit a photo. Adding this level of personalization reminds the presenter or emcee that they have another audience to interact with.
PRO TIP: Note that Zoom supports up to 49 members in gallery view. To accommodate a larger audience, you may want to consider a virtual platform solution or a custom built platform tailored to your specific needs.
Create digital experiences
With two different attendee types, event leaders will need to think outside of the box when it comes to keeping the virtual audience engaged. Attendees are expecting a different experience from virtual events – live panel discussions and PowerPoint presentations aren’t going to cut it. The right content elements organized and delivered in the right way create a perfect union between the event and its virtual audience.
PRO TIP: Use this as an opportunity to explore new ways to create highly compelling product demonstrations with prospective customers. There are several product tour software tools worth exploring!
Planning your next hybrid meeting
Are hybrid meetings part of your future event strategy? We’ve helped several companies evolve their event experiences. We’d love to help yours too. Schedule a discovery call and let’s discuss your next hybrid meeting!