Hybrid Events

The journey to transformation post-pandemic

The pandemic was entirely unexpected and brought the whole corporate world to a stop. However, people found ways to re-group, and soon Work From Home became the new norm. One year has passed and the situation has improved on the home front.

However, the virtual aspects of business are now transitioning into conducting corporate events as well. Companies are hoping to return to in-person events, but the risk of fully doing so is high. One solution that is gaining in popularity is the concept of a Hybrid event.

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In simple terms, a Hybrid event is a combination of virtual and physical participants. Here we will talk with you about Hybrid events and how they have gained prominence post the pandemic.

How do you conduct a Hybrid event?

A hybrid event is conducted at a physical venue but is attended by both virtual and live participants. They are perfect when your entire audience cannot participate in person. With the growth of virtual technology, conducting your event in this form is a workable solution. There could be two types of Hybrid events:

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Internal Hybrid events

These are events that a company conducts for its shareholders, employees, and other staff. Often it is just impossible to get all your team at one venue. In such a situation, you could choose some team members to attend the event virtually. Some examples are:

  • Company meetings
  • Sales kick-offs
  • Company spirit week

External Hybrid events

These are programs designed for your customers, clients, and prospects. If you make this a hybrid event, the chances of more people attending it increase. Examples are:

  • Trade shows
  • Product demo
  • Customer conferences

Advantages of Hybrid events

People have perked up last year and accepted virtual work as the new reality. Conducting any event with the entire team in person is unlikely. Read on to know why hybrid events hold so much importance.

1. Increase in attendance

With hybrid events, more people get a chance to be a part of the event. A physical venue has a limit to the number of participants but less so if you choose hybrid events. Therefore participation is not limited to the physical capacity of the venue. In addition, those who are unable to travel to the venue still have the option to attend virtually – another increase in attendance.

2. Get better speakers

Certain people are unable to commit to speaking at an event because of the distance and travel requirements. However, a hybrid event will make it more palatable for speakers to participate if they can do so virtually.

3. On-demand viewing

A significant part of the online virtual event is the ability to view the content later on. So, if someone misses the event for any reason, you can still make the content available for viewing. This can be a big draw for registrations if a potential participant is unsure of their schedule, knowing that they can view the recording at a later date.

4. Increased engagement

Participants attending the program virtually can easily provide input, like, comment, and share their opinion on the material. To further this, the leaders use different methods to increase engagement. This includes polls, feedback forms, and Q &A sessions. Some organizations hold seperaate post-event sessionsfor the virtual and live attendees so that neither audience feels left out.

5. Increased sponsorships

An increased number of sponsors like participating in a hybrid event as they know they can target more audiences by doing so. Plus, they can communicate directly with the live attendees and interact with the virtual ones on a personal level. The options for promotion also increase as they can sponsor live streams, event apps, and many more ideas.

Avoiding Common Challenges

There are a few common dilemmas that planners face when putting these hybrid programs into action. Examples of these are outlined below, along with tips and tricks to help you avoid these pitfalls.

1. Make Sure It Is One Event, But Two Experiences

Hybrid events are a balancing act. They balance between in-person and virtual attendees, and therefore, they must balance these two experiences. On the one hand, you will have to deliver your content differently to both groups. You will have to make sure that your video streaming service is working correctly, and that your presenters are prepared to be recorded and to speak in front of a camera. Make sure that your content is relevant to both in-person and virtual attendees, and avoid joint activities that isolate one group from participation.

2. Keep Content Engaging

Your content is arguably even more important during a hybrid event than during an onsite event. To keep content engaging, make sure that it will translate well over video. Incorporate live polls or Q&A to keep virtual attendees involved. And make sure that the sessions are a digestible length.

3. Navigating Time Zones

One of the benefits of hosting a hybrid event is that participants can attend virtually from all over the world. However, this poses the challenge of accommodating your virtual attendees' varying time zones. Make sure that the sessions you are offering to your virtual attendees can be accessed on-demand.

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How hybrid events foster collaborative learning

All the participants whether they are live or virtual come together with a common goal in mind. This increases the possibility of higher interaction between all of them. Despite the geographical barriers and time constraints the team members find a solid ground to discuss the topic. Hybrid events allow for a broader cross-section of participants, and naturally yields a broader perspective, input, and outcomes.

Conclusion

The pandemic halted the business world for a time, but we are slowly coming back. The evolution and upsurge of virtual learning, working remotely, and virtual events are just an extension of the future that awaits us. Even as our world returns to a semblance of normality, hybrid events are going to remain in demand. The tools have been put in place and have a proven track record. The ROI is high, and that is enough reason to make Hybrid events part of our new normal.