Hybrid conferences are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They provide the unique opportunity for attendees to bridge the gap between in-person and remote participants. But as most event managers know, you can’t have one without the other! We’ve pulled together some tips to help you engage your on-site participants while simultaneously cultivating a strong online presence that’s sure to benefit both your virtual and physical attendees.
1. Switch speeches with activities
Undoubtedly, people take part in hybrid conferences to listen to other people and get new insights. Thus, if you want participants to enjoy the conference and get knowledge from it, you may want to shift speeches with something else, not to overload them with tons of information at once.
What can you do? First, leave enough time for coffee breaks and make sure you anticipated lunch-time so participants can have some rest. You can try combining speeches with activities to keep participants’ attention. For example, to engage everyone, hold a virtual poll in-between performances. It will help to learn participants’ opinion on a matter and stir them up. Secondly, use Worksup image tasks to capture one’s emotions or get an answer with an image that you could project on a screen. Third, to activate the audience, ask open-ended questions that could give you specific insights. After that, you can visualize answers on a screen in different ways so everyone can see them. Choose a kind of interaction that suits your hybrid conference. If not sure, a Worksup expert can advise you on what to select.
2. Make a playground for business connections
Another critical and often missed part is virtual networking. Even though part of the attendees are onsite and can easily communicate with each other, think about the ways to connect for the virtual audience. Make sure, everyone knows how to network on the chosen platform and can invite another attendee for a meeting.
For example, Worksup allows participants to have a chat or video call during events or set them up for the future. Also, if a conference has an expo area, they can easily approach the company’s reps online, ask them about the product or agree on a demo time.
Except for the 1-1 conversation, you can enable group chat so that participants can write messages visible for everyone and find new business connections there.
3. Same audience, same attention
Sometimes, having part of the participants in-person, conference organizers can occasionally prioritize them over the virtual audience. It can make online participants feel like they’re simply watching a Zoom webinar, and after all, influence their impression about the hybrid conference. Even though the prices for in-person and virtual format sometimes differ, make sure that everyone is treated the same way. For instance, the online audience may find it inappropriate when a moderator or speaker constantly interacts with people sitting in a room.
Even though it’s much easier to talk to a person nearby, plan that all Q&A, random outreach and other interactions to be equally split among all participants. Make certain that all necessary information such as changes in agenda, any how-to guides or info about the next steps is clear for both sides. It also refers to the post-event followups, sending materials, feedback or thank you notes.
Overall, organizing a hybrid conference takes a lot of efforts to please both online and offline audiences. The article presents a piece of advice that could help organizers to execute this process better and let every attendee enjoy an event to the fullest.