Hybrid events. Chances are you have heard this term bandied about at least once in the last few months. Navigating the new normal of mostly virtual connections has made us even more creative in gathering in groups. Have you “attended” a wedding that was live-streamed on YouTube without leaving home? Have you watched an awards ceremony on your TV or computer? Have you participated in someone’s high school or college graduation from hundreds of miles away? Have you logged in to your organization’s annual all-hands from your home office? Congratulations, you have been part of a hybrid event.
Hybrid Event: Why you need to host one
So then: what is a hybrid event? A hybrid or mixed event melds both the in-person and virtual participation experience, allowing you to participate in a live event from thousands of miles or even a continent or two away. For those who participate in a live event virtually, several boxes need to get checked in these uncertain times.
One, there is no FOMO. You do not miss out and can “attend” in real-time, even if you are not physically present. You are present virtually. And this makes all the difference in scenarios like weddings and baby showers, and the like. Two, you have greater flexibility. Owing to the pandemic, many of us have had to make significant adjustments in how we communicate with our social and work circles. When you RSVP to attend a live event virtually, you can make sure your participation is felt without worrying about travel and accommodation and the many details you need to consider to make a trip to another location.
Three, most virtual platforms have widened the net of accessibility and inclusivity for all. When viewing on a virtual platform on your phone, for example, you can cast to your TV to watch it on a wider screen. Older folk who may anyway be unable to travel long distances can access these events and stay connected. You may choose to read captions during the event to make sure you haven’t missed out on key details, a feature that SyncWords is a leading service provider in. And if the hybrid event is an office town hall or your company’s annual performance awards, you can cheer on your colleagues from the safety of your home office through live comments and social media huzzahs.
How to Plan for a Hybrid Event: Details, details, details.
Whether you are a party planner, wedding planner, or event manager, you will understand the logistics of any event. The amount of work you will put in is pretty much the same, but with a hybrid event, the chances of success increase exponentially, as there is no limit in terms of audience. You will not just enjoy a momentary high after the success of your event; it will likely resonate for a long time with a larger group of people, thanks to online amplification through post-event engagement and social media.
And as with hosting any event, you will likely have a few crucial steps and checkpoints as you begin to plan one.
- Define your audience: Who is the event for? What will they gain from participating? What about the event will appeal to them? Where and when will it happen? Who will conduct the event? Who will manage the event? You will need to have answers to all these questions as the first step to planning any event.
- The master event plan: When designing the event, develop an agenda that scores on these points: ease of participation, high engagement, flexibility, accessibility, inclusivity. Whatever the occasion, pay close attention to detail. The event flow should be clear to you: timing, sessions, speakers, tech details, event pre-checks, etc.
- Choose your virtual platform: This is the most crucial step in hosting a successful hybrid event. Choose a platform that offers you great engagement features like comments and captioning, unbroken live streaming, high-quality media, commenting features, the chance to record and download your event, and value add-ons like captioning and translation capabilities.
- Meeting managers: For a hybrid event, it is prudent to have both a live meeting manager and a virtual meeting manager, who will be your point persons to manage their sections of the event. While the in-person meeting manager can assist with logistics of attendance, mic checks, seating arrangements, etc., your virtual meeting manager should coordinate with the two of you to ensure pre-event platform checks, tech issues such as audio or video lag, seamless collaboration with the virtual hosting platform, and related matters.
- Build out a detailed communication plan: For any event to be successful, there need to be open communication with the audience, both before and after the event. Utilize communication tools like a pre-event newsletter, helpful text or email alerts for those who have opted in for reminders, and the like. Communicate relevant hashtags to be used by the audience on social media platforms during the event well in advance. Encourage participation during the event with community managers who can help the audience engage during the event. Post-event, ensure that survey forms are sent to all participants to let you know their feedback.
Partner with SyncWords for your Next Hybrid Event
Hybrid events have more significant potential in terms of audience engagement, whether an intimate social circle event or a company-wide all-hands event. Your audience expands considerably while still taking advantage of the engagement opportunities that a live event provides by providing participants with options to engage with the event online.
As our Business Development Head, Giovanni Galvez plays a crucial role in helping our partners and clients host successful events for a diverse set of audiences. Gio is passionate about what technology can do to make events accessible and inclusive for all. This passion underpins our commitment to bringing out products that reflect these core business values: to enable the world to come closer, sans boundaries and limitations. Through live captioning, real-time tech support, and translation to an ever-expanding library of languages, SyncWords is there to partner with you to make all your hybrid events successful, scalable, and accessible to all.
Here is what Gio has to say about hybrid events. “Hybrid events and conferences present a great opportunity for accessibility technology development, and our SyncWords Live platform has been designed to provide closed captioning and translation for both in-person and virtual participants. We have a pipeline of new features and launches which will make hybrid events more accessible, and inclusive. Our focus is on easy scheduling and seamless integration with various Event Platforms.”
The SyncWords Hybrid Event Checklist
Here’s a handy 10-point hybrid event checklist for the next hybrid event you will host.
- Decide the scope of the event
- Set a clear agenda
- Create pre-event buzz
- Appoint meeting managers: in-person and virtual
- Choose a hosting platform with captioning capabilities for the event
- Draw connections between in-person and virtual audiences
- Use social media to amplify
- Encourage participants to engage live
- Solicit post-event feedback
- Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You got this!