In recent years, hybrid events have witnessed a massive spike across the globe. Not only do they provide attendees with flexibility, but they also allow organizations to come up with more creative ways to drive ROI.However, the biggest challenge with hybrid events is creating a seamless and engaging event experience for two different sets of the audience, the in-person audience and the virtual audience, simultaneously.
It is especially important to keep the virtual attendees hooked as the possibilities of distraction are higher when compared to the high engagement level of live events.Fortunately, there are ways to create engaging hybrid events that involve seamless audience interaction.
By leveraging the right combination of tools, content, and virtual event platform, marketers can capture leads, document analytics data, and maximize ROI without missing out on audience engagement.Let us look at some important aspects that each audience expects from the hybrid event.
Tips To Engage Virtual Audience
1. An Engaging Immersive Environment
Nothing can captivate your virtual audience more than the feeling that they are present at the physical venue of the conference, trade show, or presentation. A 3D virtual auditorium with a lobby, stage, booths and networking space can help your virtual audience visualize the event venue easily and connect with your event better. With FLOOR, a comprehensive virtual event platform, you can design your event venue the way you like.
2. The Facility For On-Demand Viewing
There could be many reasons why your virtual audience might get delayed or skip the hybrid event entirely. The least they would expect in such circumstances is an on-demand viewing of the entire event. To cater to the audience who missed the event or even others who may want to revisit it, it would be good to record the event, especially the speaker presentations. This way, the audience can watch the highlights and crucial segments of the event when they wish to. They will be able to access, make notes, and analyze the presentation better in their free time.
3. Consistent Connection And Less Distraction
Virtual audiences are likely to get distracted easily because of the remote setting, odd time zones, and shorter attention spans. The internet – email notifications, messages, and browsers add to the distraction. To keep the event lively and engaging for them, you need to step up a notch.
One idea is to take questions from the virtual audience at regular intervals and answer them LIVE. A live social feed running parallel to the presentation, featuring your virtual attendees’ tweets, posts, and opinions, can lift their spirits and boost engagement.
Tips To Engage In-Person Audience
1. Tangible Takeaways
You don’t need to depend on the internet to share information with an in-person audience. You can hand them brochures, pamphlets, and handy notes that specify the key takeaways.
You can also hand them pens and notepads to jot their takeaways from the presentation. This will help them with an instant refresher on the subject matter and make them more engaged with the presentation.
2. Interactive Sessions
Let’s face it. Presentations can be a bit boring with zero interaction. The in-person audience expects heightened interaction and impact, which is why they chose to be at the event venue in the first place.
Therefore, speakers must get creative with their presentations while interacting with live audiences. Polls, trivia, and QnA are some interactive features that can boost interaction between live and virtual audiences.
Tips for bridging the gap between both the audiences in a hybrid event
To create a seamless hybrid event experience that meets the expectations of both audiences, here are eight tips that can help you out.
1. Plan The Event Schedule Wisely
Suppose your event is nine hours long with scheduled breaks in between. Imagine how both your audiences would react to an event of this duration. While the in-person attendees might be able to attend back-to-back sessions due to the in-person networking and the option of chatting with other people, it will be an altogether different ball game for virtual attendees.
Virtual attendees can’t sit with their laptops for nine hours, even with sufficient breaks, understandably, because their attention span will not be as much as the in-person attendees.
You can organize the event by planning meals and activities at the beginning or end of the day to deal with this. Plan out shorter sessions. If a session is long, divide it into two distinct segments for the virtual audience to keep up.
2. Provide Flexible Registration Options
The pandemic has brought forth a consistent possibility of the Government enforcing restrictions on local and international travel at any time. It is, thus, imperative to keep your registration and attendance options open and flexible.
Allow your guests the liberty to choose whether they want to be virtual attendees or want to attend in person. With this flexibility, your attendees will feel more confident and relaxed registering for the event. You can also allow them to choose parts of the event they would like to access online and the ones they would like to attend physically.
3. Prepare The Tech And Content
A hybrid event needs more preparation than a virtual or in-person event. Action plans to cater to both types of audiences, content types, and formats are some key elements to be discussed. Another aspect that needs to be planned and prepared in advance is the technology needed to accommodate both audiences simultaneously.
4. Indulge In QnA For Aoth audiences
QnA is an exciting way to bring your audiences together, despite the distance. Both can participate in QnA, whether sitting at the event or their homes. One way to conduct QnA effectively is to balance the queries between both types of audiences. The host can alternate between the in-person hand raising and the virtual hand-raising.
The event organizer can also have the in-person attendees use their own devices to submit their queries, just like the virtual attendees, so that all questions are received online, at the same place.
You can have the presenter or the chatline monitor read out the received questions from both audiences to make things easier for the speakers.
5. Ensure speaker preparation
Keynotes are crucial. The event’s main highlight is usually the keynote speaker, for both – in-person and virtual audiences. Be sure your speaker knows what to expect on stage and is adequately prepared for the same.
6. Address The Screen Fatigue Issue
Screen fatigue is real. If your event spans over 5 or 6 hours, you must consider a way to reduce screen fatigue for your virtual attendees.
One way to do this is to adopt a few audio-only sessions, so your virtual attendees can do some physical activity or take a walk while listening to the essential bits. This will give them a break from the screen while keeping them engaged.
7. Designate A vitual host specifically for the virtual attendees
The in-person audience heads to the cafeteria for their coffee break while their virtual audience is left waiting. Have you witnessed this earlier?
This can be a mood spoiler for the virtual attendees. You can keep them engaged by having a separate virtual host during break-time. The host will entertain the virtual guests between sessions and amid lunch or coffee breaks. The virtual host can provide a walk-around of the actual event space and have short interviews with the in-person attendees to keep the virtual attendees engaged even during session breaks.
8. Gamify Your Event
Nothing brings people together better than games. Friendly competition is all it takes for people to take a step ahead and get networking. Gamification of virtual events is all the hype right now, and you can incorporate it into your hybrid event. A trivia game show, quiz, or photo posting contest works well with both – in-person and virtual audiences.
A scavenger hunt works excellent for both audiences and makes them explore the event space simultaneously. Gamification is known to boost audience engagement and networking. Incentivize people with freebies, hampers, coupons, membership, and exciting prizes to keep them on their toes.
Hybrid events are rapidly becoming the best form of events that companies prefer organizing. Engaging two audiences simultaneously can be challenging, but it can work like a charm if done strategically. With the tips mentioned above, you will be able to make a better rapport with both audiences.
A virtual event platform that caters to both audiences and provides the required tech can make a huge difference. FLOOR, powered by 10times, a leading virtual event platform, has all the features and abilities to help you plan, organize, and host an engaging hybrid event. Check out our FREE demo, and we’re sure you’ll want to hop on to the FLOOR for your next event!