• The convergence of in-person and streaming events
Steph Pfeilsticker, of Hybrid Events Authority, explains a hybrid event as, “A virtual event that also has an in-person audience.” Why would you opt to host a hybrid event? To work around conflicts, whether geographical or personal (work/life balance), to save money, and to expose a secondary audience to your content. “Hybrid events do not cannabalize the in-person audience,” expressed Pfeilsticker. Different groups are looking for different experiences. Her research showed 35-51% of attendees in a virtual event will attend in-person the next year.
Attention spans run short. Remember this when presenting virtual sessions. Use of a platform to show videos, slides, and incorporate chat are helpful in increasing engagement. Utilize a ‘Mod Squad,’ as Pfeilsticker adoringly calls them. These individuals moderate your live-stream chats, social media, and after-session Q&As. Pfeilsticker’s other tip is to use polls to create an instant increase in attention.
In choosing to take on this style of event, take into account your risk mitigation plan. Difficulties are bound to happen. “Anticipate failures, agree on solutions with your team, and rehearse the plan,” prompted Pfeilsticker. Hybrid events are moving from a trend to full adoption; start small, learn, and continue to produce.
If your budget allows for a virtual studio to be placed within your event, keep it near the action and consider employing a virtual host to lead the between session Q&As and interview speakers. If your budget is smaller, a studio can be created in the back of a room with a skirted high boy, a single light, and a camera. Don’t throw out the idea of producing LIVE content, even if your budget is small.
Make sure to promote your event early. Pfeilsticker suggests promoting the in-person and virtual events at the same time, as ultimately they will appeal to different attendees. Open the in-person registration first and open the virtual event registration a few months later, or six weeks prior to the event.
Your virtual event should flow as easily as your live event. Don’t be scared to try something new, have fun and get virtual.