The Ultimate Guide To Hybrid Events Best Practices

If the pandemic taught us one thing, it’s the value of personal connections and getting together. And while many of us love in-person events and conferences, not everyone can get involved. Travel budgets, different time zones, and locations make attendance tricky for some people. And others prefer to take part from the comfort of their own homes with their slippers on. It takes all sorts. And that’s why hybrid events are now taking off.

Hybrid events mean your company has the best of both worlds. You can still connect with a live audience while reaching a much larger virtual one.

However, running a killer hybrid event requires careful planning and preparation. You need to ensure both live and remote audiences enjoy a value-added experience.

If the thought of planning hybrid events sent you into a tailspin and panicked Google search, help is at hand.

Our best practice guide walks you through all you need to know. The tips in this ultimate guide are tried and tested to ensure your event is a huge success.

In the guide to events best practices, we cover the following topics:

  • What is a hybrid event?
  • When to host a hybrid event
  • Hybrid events best practices
  • Why are hybrid event best practices essential?
  • The different types of hybrid events
  • Hybrid vs. traditional events

What is a hybrid event?

It’s pretty straightforward hybrid events mix live and virtual elements. It could be a seminar, conference, workshop, or town hall meeting. With hybrid gatherings, some features are live – think in-person attendees, speakers, and venues. And other components are virtual, like remote participation or on-demand options. Taking things online means everyone can participate, no matter the location.

When to host a hybrid event

Pretty much any event can be hybrid. However, it’s best suited to larger gatherings where in-person attendance from all participants may be challenging. Your onsite venue may have limited capacity. Or maybe your audience is spread out over different locations, making it costly to get everyone together.

Hybrid gatherings offer a win-win solution. They deliver the perfect combination of real-life connection with large-scale digital distribution.

Hybrid events best practices

No doubt, you’re well-practised at hosting in-person conferences. And you’ve honed your virtual meeting management skills over the last few years. However, hosting hybrid events is different. You must juggle the needs of two separate audiences at the same time. It’s a balancing act, so we’ve pulled together these best practice tips to help you.

Set an agenda that works for both audiences: Zoom fatigue is real. Who hasn’t had a hard time staying focused when attending online events, right? Make sure your agenda includes regular breaks. Both in-person and virtual audiences will appreciate a short comfort break. It helps participants stay focused and engaged.

And if your remote audience is in different time zones, set start and end times that make sense for them. Or include some on-demand elements so they can easily catch up.

You want to ensure seamless content delivery for both live and online audiences. So, once you have set your schedule, review it. It’s impossible to be too prepared, so don’t skip this crucial step.

Cater to everyone: Think carefully about the staging and screens. What works for a live audience may not work online. For example, set your camera angles to capture speakers and presentations in one shot. And double-check the microphone can be heard loud and clear at the back of the venue and online.

Furthermore, include interactive elements to engage in-person and remote audiences, like live Q&As, polls, reactions, and even networking. Everyone has the same opportunity to get involved, whether in the auditorium or the living room.

Coach your speakers: Simultaneously talking to a live and virtual audience means some speakers may have to adapt their style. Presenters who like to pace up and down the stage or gesticulate may not come across as well online. Speakers need to work harder to keep both audiences engaged, so spend time taking your presenters through the pitfalls.

Practice makes perfect: Rehearsals are even more critical with hybrid events. After all, there’s more potential for embarrassing glitches. You don’t need your tech falling over at the last minute, so rehearse the entire event with your onsite team and have a backup plan. What happens if the internet goes down or there’s an electricity outage? Be prepared for all scenarios.

Why are hybrid events best practices important?

Hybrid events are still relatively new. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of best practices out there. So, whether you are hosting your first or your hundredth hybrid event, best practices help you get the best outcome. There’s no point reinventing the wheel or making the same mistakes as others, right? Best practices save you time, money, and a ton of unnecessary headaches.

The different types of hybrid events

When it comes to types of hybrid events, there are two main kinds.

Internal hybrid events could be town hall meetings, departmental goal setting, or sales kick-offs. These gatherings benefit internal stakeholders, leaders, executives, and employees. Even small companies can struggle to get all their people in one venue, making hybrid events the perfect option. All you need to do is select a venue – whether internal or external – and livestream the meeting for those unable to attend.

External hybrid events: These external meetings are aimed at customers, clients, and prospects. Conferences, tradeshows, and product demos are good examples here. A hybrid event extends your reach far beyond the confines of four walls. And it has the bonus of lowering your carbon footprint, which is a big plus for increasingly green consumers.

Hybrid vs. traditional events

We’ve touched on plenty of this already. However, here in one place are all the advantages hybrid events have over traditional formats.

Increased participation: This is the big one. Not everyone has the time, budget, or ability to travel to attend events, no matter how much they may want to. These factors act as barriers to participation and can deter people from signing up. Hybrid events are different. Anyone can attend, and venue capacity limits do not hamper you.

Get more bang for your buck: Live streaming and recording events provide endless marketing opportunities. You can share insightful snippets on social media or LinkedIn. Afterwards, you can send the recording to anyone who missed out. Plus, it’s more convenient for attendees. They can rewatch the proceedings and continue to engage with the content long after the event. This keeps you and your brand top of mind and delivers a better ROI than a one-off event.

Enhanced sponsorship value: Getting sponsors on board is always a challenge. But it’s much easier when the exposure is bigger than any traditional event. Hybrid events mean you reach many more participants. And that makes your event a whole lot more attractive to sponsors looking to maximise their sponsorship dollars.

Hybrid event FAQs

Here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.

How do you run a successful hybrid event?

Have a well-planned and rehearsed strategy. Think about the needs of your different audiences and how you deliver value-added content. Remember, it’s one event, but there will be two different audience experiences, so set clear objectives for the event.

What is a best practice for planning content for a hybrid event?

Some sessions, like the keynote address, work for both audiences, but others, like interactive workshops, may not. Think about creating separate content for remote audiences. For example, replace workshops with webinars or panel discussions with industry experts.

How do you organise hybrid events?

Break it down into bite-sized chunks:

  • Develop clear objectives and set a budget
  • Identify team roles and responsibilities
  • Create a schedule and develop the content
  • Decide on the venue and select your virtual platform
  • Seek sponsors
  • Market to attendees
  • Rehearse and have a backup plan.

What are some obstacles to conducting hybrid meetings and events?

Hybrid events are more complex. You’re juggling different audiences, technology, tools, and platforms. And delivering a memorable experience that’s just as rewarding for live and remote audiences is more challenging.

  • What do I need for a hybrid meeting?

A venue, an audience, and a customisable, flexible solution are all you need to get started.

Hybrid Events Wrap up

Check out the Write Solutions blog for more expert help and advice. And if you have any comments or insights, please share them below. We’d love to hear from you.

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