Hybrid corporate events have taken off in the last couple of years due to many factors including health and safety, cost of travel, remote work, and sustainability. The way we engage with audiences has changed, and with that come new opportunities for how to host your next corporate event. Hybrid events combine the best of in-person and virtual attendance for participants. By adding a stream or broadcast to a live event, speakers can reach their audience that is physically present at the event venue, as well as a larger audience of viewers participating from remote locations, such as their office or home. By using effective audio and video solutions, event organizers can enhance those connections by adding Q&A sessions, polling, live chat, and other interactivity features to create added levels of engagement while being conscious of the environment and budget.
Audience members and speakers have more flexibility now than they did before. For example, when traveling is not an option, event organizers can arrange for speakers to present from the comfort of their homes or office, reducing travel costs and travel time. The right virtual event partner can facilitate remote speaker setup, tech checks, and rehearsals to ensure your presenters are comfortable and prepared for their session. While at the live event venue, your audio visual company can ensure connectivity to the stream, and your live event attendees have a high quality listening and viewing experience. Hybrid events can have the benefit of higher attendance and higher engagement levels, all while reducing carbon emissions.
First, let’s start by keeping the audience in mind. A hybrid model is not recommended for every type of event. It’s important to consider the geography, your message, and your company's mission. Think about where your attendees may be traveling from. A hybrid option may alleviate extra travel time and expense if some are long distant attendees. Next, consider the type of information you plan on sharing with participants, like keynote presentations, live product demos, or workshop sessions that require audience participation. Interactive meetings and events, such as trainings and award shows are great options for a hybrid event. These types of events are driven by interaction and two-way communication. A live format is preferred if your event is highly informative, with lots of keynotes and minimal feedback requested from the audience. Although most events can be offered in a hybrid format, virtual attendees may not feel as engaged when information is presented to them one way. You should keep the desired outcome in mind. Finally, a live format may be the better choice if the event requires hands-on learning, like sharing updated equipment features and being assessed on its proper use.
Now that we’ve established the audience is a good fit for a hybrid event, what else should you consider? How many people are you estimating live and virtually? If there will be two-way communication, it’s important to give both live and virtual attendees the same opportunities to engage with a hybrid event, even if those methods look different. For example, if live attendees can ask questions in the room, make sure there is also a way to gather questions from the virtual audience. Also, keep the agenda the same for all attendees. Having the same schedule is important for attendees to have the same experience. It is also easier to plan and track engagement activities when everyone is on the same schedule. Lastly, make accommodations for virtual breakout rooms if there are live breakout rooms, and be sure to include moderators for both groups. Don’t forget about your virtual audience when you are doing report backs or group discussions. Finally, ensure the technology you are using has an interface and capability for both audiences.
Corporate Events Inc. has experienced project managers to guide you every step of the way and help you answer these questions. Our project managers are skilled at creating impactful and engaging hybrid events that will wow your attendees and make your planning easy. Whether you want to cut down on emissions and have a focal point be a sustainable, greener event, or if you are choosing hybrid for the convenience; CEI has the right tools and right connections to be your one-stop shop for corporate event production.