Elevating Hybrid Event Experiences
Over the last couple of months we have attended more online meetings than we’ve probably done over the course of our entire lives. Armed with our many recent virtual event experiences we have penned a How-To list with our recommendations to avoid common pitfalls and boost the overall online delegate experience.
- Content is (still) king. Decide on the ‘why’, what are your KPIs for this event, and focus on a niche in the market to provide real value to a target audience.
- Rethink event formats for online. Utilise Open Forums and ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions to engage your audience and encourage active delegate feedback and participation with live chat. Mix it up with live conversations and pre-recorded sessions.
- Keep the sessions short and sweet. Time punchy sessions to match short attention spans and allow ample time for comfort breaks.
- The name of the game is … gamification. Whizz sessions up with competitive activities and interactive point scoring ideas to drive engagement.
- Connect the community. Socialising and networking remains the single most important reason for attending, so use breakouts with panel discussions for Q&As, create virtual lounges and utilise apps for AI-inspired match-making.
- Put on a great show. Arrange virtual entertainment to bring the fun factor, break the ice and add moments of delight.
- Prepare an online help desk to offer technical support to attendees during the event.
- Speaker drill. Fail to plan and plan to fail, they say. Do a number of trial runs and numerous rehearsals to practise all sorts of outcomes together with staff and remote speakers. Test and test again the sound and picture of your online speakers, and make sure that they are doing the rehearsals with the same devices they will be using on the day of the event.
- Spread the word with pre-event marketing. Release short video teasers on social media in anticipation of the event. This should show those who have signed up already what to expect, and entice new sign-ups. Keep these campaigns short and drip-feed in dedicated segments detailing sponsors, prizes and entertainment details.
- Create a branded digital goody bag to add to the event experience. Make it relevant and choose from e-coupons, e-books, screensavers and virtual backgrounds.
ON THE DAY
- Don’t over-produce the event. Human moments in the delivery of the event are absolutely natural and your audience will remember it for all the right reasons.
- Wi-Fi fail? Of course, this would never happen at Church House, as we have a number of back-up systems. But remember, should this happen, it’s not the end of the world. As long as you record the event, you’d be able to make it available on-demand within an hour after the event.
- Follow up. Data is the crown jewels, remember. Post-event is the time to reconnect with your audiences, those who have attended and those who haven’t. Get ready to start planning the next event utilising what you’ve learnt and the feedback you’ve received.