As technology advances, hybrid events are becoming increasingly more popular and accessible. Hybrid events combine a live (in person) and a virtual (online) audience experience, blending and engaging the two elements. The technology and capability for web streaming is growing rapidly, and event organisers are actively trying to include this option in as many events as possible.

Hybrid and online events can be great for an array of event types, including meetings, product launches, conferences, trade shows, company announcements, training, and sales and marketing updates. Those that attend virtually can view live streamed content of the event, such as keynote presentations, guest speakers, workshops, launches and education sessions via a webcast direct to their computer, tablet or smart phone. Generally, these attendees are also able to interact with the speakers and other virtual attendees via messaging tools such as live chat or social media.

When holding a hybrid event, you need to consider whether your event is fulfilling for all attendees both in person or online. It is important to effectively engage both audiences, and where possible, facilitate interaction between them through networking or online chat features.

Here are some things to consider:

Be prepared

To have a successful virtual experience, you must have a flawless live streaming experience. Information such as video, presentation slides and other event data needs to be prepared, input into the streaming system and tested in advance to ensure everything is working as planned.

Make sure you identify the ideal camera positioning on the stage, the main focal areas and the spots to avoid filming. Some time should be taken to ensure your speakers are prepared and comfortable. Some people may be a little more nervous knowing they are being live streamed to a much larger audience.

Keep on time

It can be hard to keep events strictly on time, but this is even more important when conducting a hybrid event. Like waiting for a TV programme to start, your virtual attendees will log on specifically at that time, for that speaker or presentation, and if there are delays or confusion with timing, they may log off or become disengaged.

Acknowledge your virtual attendees

More often than not, many presenters fail to acknowledge or communicate with the online audience. Take some time during introductions to acknowledge both in person and online audiences – this will ensure that both will feel welcome and part of the event.

Participation and engagement

Allow time and access for both online and in person attendees to participate in discussions or workshops, and remember to allow time for online attendees to contribute, as they may not be able to answer as instantly as those within the room. Consider having a session chairperson to monitor the online platform for questions via Live Chat or other Q&A modules.

Hybrid events that utilise live streaming are a powerful communication tool and can assist you to save money, extend the life of in person events and broaden your audience and exposure, offering different perspectives and an exciting experience for all involved.

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