Many companies do not want to abandon their physical events. Instead, it is increasingly common for companies to enhance existing physical events with online event programs and content. The hybrid event model combines the best of both worlds while curbing disadvantages. This guide is designed to walk you through some of the best practices in extending a hybrid experience to your physical events.
Before Your Hybrid Event
- -Identify your target audience.
- -Decide on a format for your event (fully online or hybrid)
- -Review the purpose for your event. What are your goals? What do you hope your event will achieve?
- -Choose staff members to create presentation materials and manage the presentation. Select your speaker or speakers.
- -Choose a platform for virtual events that will fulfill all your needs and provide you with fully integration and features.
- -Plan your event from start to finish, but build in time for engagement and interactivity. If this is a hybrid event, look for ways to integrate it with your offline event and bring everybody together.
- -Start marketing your event or webcast online using social media and email marketing. Write up a brief, clear, and compelling description and consider posting preview videos. Get people excited about what you have to say.
- -Send out information about the date and time for the event and how online participants can access it.
- -Welcome your participants when they log in and make them comfortable with the virtual event venue and platform.
During Hybrid Presentations
- -Start off with a powerful, memorable opening. Get your audience involved psychologically even before you get them involved in the conversation via live chat or polling questions.
- -Change the type of content on the screen every 2-3 minutes to keep viewers engaged. PowerPoint slides, animations, video clips, links, attachments, and screen sharing are great for sharing information and for improving information retention.
- -Use polling questions and surveys to gather opinions on both your topic and your presentation format.
- -Open up dialogue with live chat or Q&A. Get your audience members to open up and share their opinions and ideas, and to voice any questions they might have.
- -Be entertaining. Use your hands when you speak, make eye contact with audience members in the room and with the cameras which supply the HD video feed to your virtual audience members. Share anecdotes and jokes, and keep your presentation lively and fun.
- -Use a strong call to action to compel your audience members to share your presentation, sign up for a trial, pre-order a product, download a brochure, call customer service, or even tune in next week. Your call to action should relate directly to the goal you hope to achieve.
After the Hybrid Event
Review your analytics to learn how viewers engaged with your event, sponsors, fellow attendees and webcasts. Identify strengths and weaknesses within the event, and use that information to improve future presentations. It is also important to follow up with attendees who followed-through on calls to action, had heavy participation, earned badges or won prizes. Also, thank attendees who you have access to via email or social networking for taking the time to attend and enjoy your presentation.
Using internet technology to deliver hybrid events and presentations is very different from participating in physical events. You have new technology to work with, and since you are delivering messages through a different medium, you need to learn how to leverage the power of that medium to the best effect while minimizing the disadvantages.
At the heart of any event or webcast is the relationship between the host, sponsor, speaker, and the audience. Build rapport with your audience by keeping your event dynamic and exciting, and by respecting your attendees and soliciting their feedback. If you can accomplish this offline, you can achieve it online too, and you should find the transition to virtual events smooth and manageable.
At INXPO, we’re here to help you. If you’re ready to take your events or presentations to the next level, or even if you just have a question or a comment, we’d love to hear from you. To learn more about INXPO’s next generation webcasting and online events solutions visit: www.inxpo.com/online-events, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (312) 962-3708.