Planning Virtual & Hybrid Events
Hybrid Event Planning
A couple of years ago the world did not consider a Hybrid Event. Thanks to the CoVid 19 Pandemic Hybrid events have captured the imagination of event organizers. First let’s answer the question, what is a hybrid event? A hybrid event is an event or conference that is occurring as an in-person event but also is being offered as an event online. In a recent survey conducted by international organizations, 70% of the respondents said that hybrid events are the future of event hosting. So, it looks like hybrid events are here to stay.
So what does it take to plan a hybrid event? CCI has put together some steps to plan a hybrid event.
1. Start Early – During the pandemic a lot of our event schedules got out of synch due to cancelations. In the past, most of us started planning next year’s shortly after this year’s event finished. Now with a couple of years off it may be hard to get back in the groove and with all the new virtual requirements there is most likely more the plan, so it is best to start planning 9 to 12 months before the event.
2. Have a clear vision of the event. – As with old school journalism you will need to consider the who, what, when, where, why and how of the event. Working with an event planner can help with some of this effort.
Who is attending the event?
What will they learn?
When will it happen?
Where will it happen?
Why would they want to attend?
How will you conduct the event?
3. Set roles and responsibilities - Since you are hosting a hybrid event, you will most likely need a bigger team of event organizers and event managers. These people will define duties and responsibilities for your team and ensure that there is no overlapping. So remember to build a team that shares the same passion as you do for a successful event.
4. Set a plan of events and the content needed for the event - You will have to create an event that meets your audiences’ needs and plan to the minutest of details. Your plan should include the immersive experiences, speakers’ details, timings of the sessions, tech details, and more. The needs of the in-person group and the online audience will be different. For example, your live audience will be fine with attending more sessions with fewer breaks, it is entirely the opposite is true for your virtual audience.
It is difficult to meet everyone’s expectations; hence, find a middle ground. Usually it is best to offer a couple live sessions that are common for both audiences while the rest can be offered live in-person and can be provided as a video-on-demand for your remote viewers.
The bottom line is to plan content so that the in-person and online audiences have a similar experience and receive the same amount of knowledge/information.
5. Select a virtual video streaming partner/platform - Utilize a medium and a virtual format that offers you live streaming, engagement, and networking features, high-quality audio, video, and the choice to record sessions. CCI is a video solutions company that offers event planning and live virtual services for online attendees and AV support to service your in-person attendees.
6. Communication with virtual attendees - Communicating with your online attendees is essential and it ensures that your audience has the correct information. Send updates and reminders regularly to your attendees. Day of sessions reminders are essential. Just as important as attendee communications, is communicating with both your in-person and remote virtual presenters. Don’t forget to schedule time for testing connections and rehearsals so your presenters will have time to get used to the remote connection technology and practice before the event. Working out all the details such as internet connection, camera, microphone, and so forth will help make sure your live event goes smoothly and professionally. Here at CCI, we send out an email to the presenters with connection instructions, rehearsal dates and times, and types for a good show as well as providing an instruction sheet to be distributed by the event organizer for the attendees.
These last few years have taught us all a lot. The planners at CCI have learned the most important lesson is to be prepared. Live, in-person events will never go away, but many attendees want the option to attend virtually. Making your next event a hybrid could be your best course of action.
If you need help with your next event reach out to CCI at firstname.lastname@example.org.