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How to Plan a Hybrid Event

Veronica Brundle - Jan 14 2022, 12:57:10 PM

Are you looking to host your first-ever hybrid virtual event? Congratulations! Hybrid events represent the future of networking and strategic corporate planning — you’ve made an important first step in increasing accessibility for remote colleagues and stakeholders.

If you’ve never organized a hybrid meeting, however, you may be feeling a little daunted by the prospect of offering a combination of in-person and virtual attendance options.

Don’t fret — we’ve collated a helpful guide to hosting a seamless hybrid conference your employees, clients, and key stakeholders will love. Whether you’re planning to launch a new product or increase collegiality among workers, the following steps will help to boost engagement and enhance the reputation of your brand.

Before you even think about planning your event, we recommend that you invest in hybrid meeting software. Thanks to the proliferation of hybrid events, there are now tons of fabulous platforms out there designed to make conference planning a breeze.

When choosing your software, look out for the following features.

  • Networking tools: Most hybrid event software is designed to enhance networking opportunities via chat platforms, Q&A functions, and virtual lobbies.
  • Online surveys: Virtual polls and surveys encourage participation by remote audiences and are great for collecting actionable insights about your business operations.
  • Digital content tools: Try to source software that allows you to upload images, videos, whitepapers, and more for virtual attendees to access from the comfort of their own homes.
  • Appointment booking: If your conference involves private meeting sessions, your software will need to feature a convenient online booking feature.
  • Gamification: Keep virtual attendees entertained between presentations with gamification features.
  • Virtual goodie bags: Everyone loves to receive free stuff after an enjoyable event; however, physical marketing materials can be costly and damaging to the environment. With virtual goodie bags, you can combat these problems through digital treats.

If you’re new to hybrid conferences, it is also worth investing in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company with a responsive customer services team that can help you if things go wrong on the day.

Before creating a schedule for your event, you must establish your primary goals. Are you looking to enhance networking opportunities for your employees? Perhaps you’re looking to educate stakeholders about your latest brand strategy? Whatever the purpose behind your event, use it to guide your vision and come up with a compelling panel of speakers and engagement opportunities. Once you have done this, promote your event effectively by targeting key demographics and highlighting its professional benefits.

Successful hybrid conferences require meticulous scheduling to ensure the event flows well and keeps people engaged. Key things to establish and communicate with your co-organizers or team members include:

  • A detailed schedule, including speaker and networking sessions, breaks, and more.
  • A list of delegated responsibilities.
  • Social media guidelines, including when and what to post.
  • Details about tech and when to use certain types of software.

Your team represents the beating heart of your hybrid event, so you must ensure they know their exact responsibilities. To make this as easy as possible, why not use a project management tool, such as Trello, to track progress? This will ensure team members remain accountable and do their best to deliver great results.

Social media can help to generate a buzz around your hybrid event and increase its reach. Before the event, tease followers with sneak peeks or create educational content about your content. This will enhance awareness of the event and boost attendance.

During the event, try to post highlights from key speeches or panels to drive discussions among delegates. Once the event is over, you can continue to engage with attendees via online discussions or even promotional competitions. Whatever you can do to keep people engaged will benefit your brand and increase your chances of hosting another successful event in the future.

To learn more about our events or to schedule one, contact us today!

Originally published at Jan 14 2022, 12:57:10 PM. Updated on Sep 28 2022.

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