As people begin gathering in person for live events again, organizations are transitioning from fully virtual events to hybrid events, where presenters and some of the audience may be physically present, and others tune in via webcast.
Hybrid events present unique challenges for event organizers, including ensuring all attendees remain engaged and have an enriching experience. At the same time, they offer the opportunity to reach out to team members, customers, or partners across geographic boundaries in a convenient way. Remote attendees can save travel time and costs and still feel connected.
Following these best practices for your webcast can help ensure that all attendees have a positive experience.
Create the Best Content You Can Prior to Your Webcast
The success of virtual events and hybrid events rides on proper preparation. Give your teams plenty of time to create thought-provoking content that goes beyond a stilted slide show. Consider ways to use video, Q&A, and audience polling to keep the event moving.
Keep Tabs on Time
In total, webcasts should run between 30 and 45 minutes, but it’s best to break your material into shorter segments. When you’re lining up speakers and planning segments, keep things short. You want to give your presenters enough time to share their message, but audiences won’t offer their undivided attention for long.
Plan breaks in between content segments that allow those viewing remotely and those on-site to grab a beverage, stretch their legs, or connect with peers.
Perform a Test Run Before the Event
Broadway performers wouldn’t run a show without multiple rehearsals. Plan a few hours to run through the event. Pay close attention to the lighting in the room, the acoustics, and how well the technology works. Note any bandwidth limitations that may need to be addressed.
PGi’s full-service operator-assisted events service can help ensure your event goes smoothly.
Engage Your Remote Attendees
It’s natural to focus on the people in the room when you’re hosting hybrid events. Make sure to engage your remote attendees using proven virtual event tactics and technology. Put the camera on remote viewers and ask their thoughts.
If it’s appropriate for your event and brand, you could get the whole room up and dancing and ask remote viewers to join in — then broadcast the best dancers, live or remote, on the screen. The important thing is to shake things up with the unexpected so remote attendees remain focused on the event.
Choosing the right tool for your hybrid events can make it possible to include multiple features for audience engagement.
The magic and emotion of the best hybrid events shouldn’t stop when people leave the room or close their computers. Follow up via email with a survey and evaluate what you can do better for remote and in-person attendees at your next hybrid event.