Hybrid Events Best Practices

Managing a global team has always meant team events are challenging. Now, you can deliver your team kick off, QBR, Christmas party or ERG session to in-person and remote groups, and achieve the same levels of engagement across the group.

Hybrid events mean your company has the best of both worlds. You can still connect with a live audience while reaching a much larger virtual one. 

However, running a killer hybrid event requires careful planning and preparation. You need to ensure both live and remote audiences enjoy a value-added experience. If the thought of planning hybrid events sent you into a tailspin and panicked Google search, help is at hand. 

Our hybrid event best practice guide walks you through all you need to know. The tips in this ultimate guide are tried and tested to ensure your event is a huge success.

In the VStage guide to hybrid events best practices, we cover the following topics: 
  • What is a hybrid event?
  • When to host a hybrid event
  • Hybrid events best practices
  • Why are hybrid event best practices important? The different types of hybrid events Hybrid vs. traditional events

What is a hybrid event?

Hybrid events mix live and virtual elements.

It could be a kick off, all hands, ERG, team meeting or even a Christmas party. With hybrid gatherings, some features are live – think in-person attendees, speakers, and venues - and other components are virtual, like remote participation or on-demand options.

Taking things online means everyone can participate, no matter the location.

When to host a hybrid event

Just about any event can be hybrid. However, it’s probably best suited to larger gatherings where in-person attendance from all participants may be challenging. Perhaps your onsite venue has limited capacity. Or maybe your audience is spread out over different locations, making it costly to get everyone together.

It may be that your organization has seen how hosting a virtual side to your event allows attendees with accessibility issues to join and truly be a part of your experience. Hybrid gatherings offer a win-win solution. They deliver the perfect combination of real-life connection with large-scale digital distribution.  

Hybrid events best practices

You're probably well-practiced at hosting in-person events. And you’ve honed your virtual meeting management skills over the last couple of years.

However, hosting hybrid events is different. You must juggle the needs of two separate audiences at the same time. It’s a balancing act, so we've pulled together these hybrid event best practices to help you.

Set an agenda that works for both audiences

Zoom fatigue is real. Who hasn’t had a hard time staying focused when attending online events? Make sure your agenda includes regular breaks. Both in-person and virtual audiences will appreciate a short comfort break. It helps participants stay focused and engaged.

And if your remote audience is in different time zones, set start and end times that make sense for them. Or include some on-demand elements, so they can easily catch up. Scheduling an event that runs multiple times in different locations and time zones allows you to replicate the experience whilst including everyone.

You want to ensure the seamless delivery of content for both live and online audiences. So, once you have set your schedule, review it. It’s impossible to be too prepared, so don’t skip this crucial step.

Cater to everyone

Think carefully about the staging and screens. What works for a live audience may not work online. For example, set your camera angles to capture speakers and presentations in one shot. And double-check the microphone can be heard loud and clear at the back of the venue and online. You may also have attendees with various accessibility needs. A sign language interpreter, closed captions and image descriptions are all ways in which you can ensure all of your audience is catered for.


Furthermore, include interactive elements to engage in-person and remote audiences. An agenda should include live Q&As, polls, reactions, and even networking. Everyone has the same opportunity to get involved, whether in the auditorium or the living room.
 

Coach your speakers

Simultaneously talking to a live audience and a virtual one means some speakers may have to adapt their style. Presenters who like to pace up and down the stage or gesticulate may not come across as well online. Speakers need to work harder to keep both audiences engaged, so spend time talking your presenters through the pitfalls.   

Practice makes perfect

Rehearsals are even more critical with hybrid events. After all, there’s more potential for embarrassing glitches. You don’t need your tech falling over at the last minute, so rehearse the entire event with your onsite team and have a backup plan. What happens if the internet goes down or there's an electricity outage? Be prepared for all scenarios. 

Why is it important to use our hybrid event best practices?


Hybrid events are still relatively new. But that doesn’t mean there aren't plenty of best practices out there.

So, whether you are hosting your first or your hundredth hybrid event, our list of best practices will help you get the best outcome for your event. There's no point reinventing the wheel or making the same mistakes as others, right?

Our Hybrid event best practices can save you time, money, and a ton of unnecessary headaches. 

The different types of hybrid events 

There are two main categories of hybrid events:

Internal hybrid events

 It could be a town hall meeting, departmental goal setting, or sales kick-off. These gatherings benefit internal stakeholders, leaders, executives, and employees.

Hybrid events are the perfect solution to ensure that you hit your target reach. All you need to do is select a venue – whether internal or external – and livestream the meeting via the Vstage platform for those unable to attend. 

External hybrid events

These external meetings are aimed at customers, clients, and prospects. Conferences, trade shows, and product demos are good examples here.

A hybrid event extends your reach far beyond the confines of four walls. And it has the bonus of lowering your carbon footprint, which is a big plus for increasingly green consumers.

Hybrid vs. In-Person Events

We’ve touched on plenty of this already.

However, here are all the advantages that hybrid events have over traditional formats. 

Increased participation

This is the big one. Not everyone has the time, budget, or ability to travel to attend events, no matter how much they may want to. These factors act as barriers to participation and can deter people from signing up. Hybrid events are different. Anyone can attend, and you are not hampered by venue capacity limits.

Enhanced sponsorship value
Getting sponsors on board is always a challenge. But it’s much easier when the exposure is bigger than any traditional event. Hybrid events mean you reach many more participants. And that makes your event a whole lot more attractive to sponsors looking to maximize their sponsorship dollars.

Get more bang for your buck

Live streaming and recording events provide endless marketing opportunities. You can share insightful snippets on social media or LinkedIn. And afterward, you can send the recording to anyone who missed out. Plus, it’s more convenient for attendees. They can rewatch the proceedings and continue to engage with the content long after the event. This keeps you and your brand top of mind and delivers a better ROI than a one-off event.  

Brand

you’ve made the strategic decision to promote and support hybrid working, you’ve trained your management team on managing teams remotely, you’ve implemented the necessary systems and processes - so your events should be hybrid too. 

Hybrid Event Best Practice
FAQ

Here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions.

How do you run a successful hybrid event?

What is a best practice for planning content for a hybrid event?

How do you organize great hybrid events?

What are some obstacles to conducting hybrid meetings and events?

What do I need for a hybrid meeting?

Get in touch for more expert help and advice.
And if you have any comments or insights, please share them below.
We’d love to hear from you. 

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