When executed well, it can work spectacularly. A few examples of hybrid done right;

B2B Summit North America

At this year’s B2B Summit in North America, organisers went to great lengths to ensure that attendees had access to inspiring keynotes, networking opportunities and breakout sessions whether they were attending virtually or in person.

Online attendees were offered a guided platform orientation to ensure they knew how to navigate the event and maximise their experience. They could also engage with a digital sponsor marketplace so they didn’t miss out on sponsor collateral and other engagement opportunities.

Apple’s Special Events

Apple regularly uses hybrid events to introduce their latest products and technology. They host around 1000 in-person attendees at these events while streaming to millions of Apple customers worldwide. So how do they make it work?

Firstly, they create a sense of intrigue in the lead-up. Then, the Apple team work hard throughout the event to keep the virtual audience engaged. They change speakers regularly, use visual slides with animations, images and photos, and break up the content with videos. Plus, they deliver outstanding production quality using the latest and greatest videography techniques. There are lots of external distractions for a virtual audience, so keeping them engaged is vital.

The pitfalls to avoid

Now we have discussed some great examples of hybrid events; what about the not-so-great? Here are some of the common pitfalls to avoid:

Livestreaming your in-person event with no consideration of the virtual audience and experience

While a short delay between speakers might be acceptable for those on the ground (they can chat to their work colleague in the next seat or quickly check their emails), it won’t cut it for those playing along at home. They will soon get bored and navigate to another webpage or leave the room to put the washing on. Time management is crucial to keeping these attendees engaged

Poor broadcasting audio and video quality

Do you remember the time before streaming services became the norm when people would create bootleg copies of movies from their seats in the cinema? Without the right equipment, your hybrid event will feel like that. People don’t want to watch the online event and feel like they are sitting at the back of the auditorium, struggling to hear what they are saying.

A lack on online support

Have you thought about how you will support your virtual viewers? Their user experience is just as crucial as the in-person event experience. So, you need to test it beforehand and offer support throughout.

How to make it special

To ensure your virtual participants get an outstanding experience, you need to bring some magic to them. There is a myriad of ways to achieve this, but to get your brain ticking, here are a few suggestions:

In essence, organising a hybrid event means considering the virtual and the online experience as two separate offerings. It might be double the work, but it isn’t worth doing if you don’t do it right.