As technology advances, hybrid events are becoming increasingly more popular and accessible. Hybrid events are events that 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 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 footage and content from the event, such as keynote and guest speakers, workshops, launches and education sessions via a webcast direct to their computer, tablet or mobile phone. Generally, they are also able to interact with the speakers and other virtual attendees via messaging tools, a chat line or social media channels.

When holding a hybrid event, the most important thing to consider is that your event is fulfilling for all attendees, whether in person or virtual, and effectively engages both audiences.

Here are some things to consider:

Be prepared

To have a successful virtual experience, you must have  flawless technical output. Information such as video, slides and other event data needs to be prepared, input into the streaming system and tested in advance.

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.

Keep on time

It can be hard to keep events strictly on time, but this is even more important when providing a hybrid event. Like waiting for a TV program 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.

Acknowledge the virtual attendees

More often than not, many presenters fail to acknowledge the online audience. Take some time during introductions to acknowledge both in person and online audiences – this will ensure that both 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.

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