• Joe Gilliver

Hybrid Events: How Can We Truly Merge Virtual and Live Elements?

Ever since the idea for hybrid events was conceived, the question of how to merge both live and virtual audiences has sprung to mind. How can you really cater for both? The experience for a virtual event is vastly different from that of an in-person event, so it can be incredibly difficult to juggle both at the same time. Although you may feel like choosing one over the other, we argue that hybrid events are going to become essential in years to come. (Link to ‘How Can Businesses Utilise Events in a Post-Covid World?’ blog)

So, how can we truly merge virtual and live events together?

Have both audiences interact with one another

Connecting audiences can be both challenging and a chore simultaneously. But one way you can merge them is through networking. Networking is essential to events as it allows attendees to interact with one another, gaining value for their experience during and afterwards. That’s why you should enable in-person attendees to network with virtual attendees. This may be tough to implement, but your audiences will grow closer when all is in place.

You can also make good use of live polls and Q&As. For example, a virtual attendee could ask a question that never sprung to mind for an in-person attendee, thus elevating their experience that bit more. This interaction may not be direct, but it is nonetheless something that engages them better.

Virtual Reality could provide a much-needed spark

On another note, why not make use of VR? Virtual Reality is an ever-expanding technology that many in the industry are now highly regarding as an important immersive tool. So, to give virtual audiences that extra dimension, it could be a good move to provide them with the option of VR.

Reserve a specially designated seat in the audience for the VR tech. In doing so, you will communicate to everyone present that the virtual audience is as much a part of the experience. Although this technology is somewhat novel, it is extremely exciting looking toward the future. VR is as close as the in-person and virtual attendees will be to each other during an event, something that isn’t achievable through any other means.

Leverage that intimate ‘at-home feeling’ you get from a virtual event

Throughout the pandemic, we have been able to create more intimate experiences for people that couldn’t have been done through conventional approaches at a live event. This could be a way to present a hybrid event in the future. We can reduce attendees, be more intentional with invites or content, and provide gifts as well as other informal elements that provide intimacy. The significant production values we often see in live events may not always work for virtual events. However, it could work with hybrid events since the amount of in-person attendees is reduced. Instead of going straight back to live events, why not fully incorporate those virtual elements we’ve been trying to perfect over the last two years?!

Everyone should have their own say

Whether you’re a virtual or in-person attendee, you should have your own say no matter what. This could be with polls, Q&As, networking or even the actual content itself. Perhaps give the floor to the virtual audience for a question, and then the live audience for one themselves. Or, if you’re looking for that ‘true’ merge we speak about, make it an entirely fair vote for them all.

Real-time feedback can elevate the experience for everyone, whether digital or live. This can also be the case for breaks in-between. During this time, live attendees can network with each other while digital attendees can do the same. Interaction and participation are both crucial to the event becoming a success overall.

Engagement is key

A virtual attendee's attention span is vastly different from that of an in-person attendee. Virtual attendees are more likely to switch off if not engaged thoroughly, while in-person attendees are more likely to engage as they are physically present. So how do we engage them?

Regular interludes can help break up the monotony of certain aspects of an event, while the timeframe can surely be adjusted to accommodate everyone’s tight schedules. Typically, a successful event or broadcast consumes two hours on average. Now, this can’t apply to all events, of course, but if you give each section a reasonable length of time to breathe, it will work in your favour. Again, good planning is vital here.

In need of any help with Events or Campaigns?

Then be sure to contact us at Chameleon today for a fantastic, personalised and comprehensive service! Visit our virtual events page for more info on what else we have to offer; we can help you create an unforgettable experience from start to finish for all your attendees!

Also, don’t forget to share this content and see what others have to say!

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