Bo Priester

Bo Priester


How to Host a Successful Hybrid Event: Thought From an Organizer

If you are wondering how to host a successful hybrid event, the thought of an organizer in this article will guide you with precision.

How to Host a Successful Hybrid Event - Thought From an Organizer - Neomeet

Even though face-to-face gatherings are making a comeback, virtual and hybrid events continue to be in high demand.

In addition to saving money and being convenient for people who can’t physically attend, live-streamed events also help event marketers spread their message far beyond the confines of a physical venue.

Some of you may be thinking, “Count me in!” But read on if you’re unfamiliar with hybrid events and don’t know how to begin creating your playbook!

We polled the CEOs of several professional groups to find out what they’ve learned about hosting hybrid events and how they keep their audiences interested.

How did your experience with the pandemic change your perception?

Sponsorships, public appearances, seminars, and conferences are just some of the 900 or more activities in which organizations typically partake annually. Before COVID-19, we were already familiar with virtual events and used Google Meet and Zoom to disseminate client educational content.

However, beginning in 2020, we shifted our focus to providing only virtual programming and flipped our entire event offering to be accessible exclusively online.

When did you first decide to host a hybrid event, and what inspired you?

Our goal was to create a virtual event experience that could hold its own against our live events. So, we had a hybrid conference over the course of two days using Neomeet and in conjunction with numerous business organizations across Europe. It was our first experience with a hybrid event format, and we did both the virtual planning and the physical execution.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of holding a hybrid event?

With the online alternative, we can welcome as many people as possible. The majority of those who came to our Berkeley gathering were locals.

Due to the inclusion of a live online component, both Cooley and Berkeley were able to extend invitations to a much larger audience. Adding that virtual element will increase attendance to the event by a factor of three, so there’s no comparison.

How does one interact with a virtual audience differently from a live one?

To some extent, I’d like to recreate the atmosphere and excitement of a live event in a digital setting.

If I have a live audience of 100 people, and they can ask the panel questions, but I have a virtual audience of zero, I need to find a way for them to interact with a live speaker naturally and intuitively.

We don’t want them to roll their eyes at us while we ask a question because a screen is broken.

What if some people in the group are more comfortable using technology than others?

Making sure that everyone can log in and use the information they find is something I worry about frequently because I am not particularly tech-savvy myself.

As I plan an event, I consider how someone who isn’t very tech-savvy can still enjoy themselves. Neomeet, Zoom, and Google Meet are widely used across European organizations, and we regularly hear reviews about how intuitive it is for both presenters and audience members.

Many attendees of our hybrid event remarked how smoothly and efficiently Zoom Events integrated with the rest of the event.

When it comes to capturing the attention of these groups, what part does technology play?

hybrid event organization - capturing the attention of these groups - Neomeet

The audiovisual element is crucial because, in the end, all our preparation will be for naught if the AV doesn’t function. The video feed sent into the virtual event must be identical to the one shown to the audience on the ground; there must be no mixing or blending of the two.

Our events team was on the ground in real-time, ensuring everything ran smoothly during the live portion of our hybrid event. As we couldn’t be in two places at once, we relied on web conferencing platforms to handle the virtual logistics, such as starting and stopping sessions and assisting with the backend build.

If an event is virtual or hybrid, how important is branding?

How our brand is communicated is something we give constant consideration to. I have a good idea of our branding for in-person gatherings. I’m familiar with the theater’s layout and lighting. Using the Neomeet calendar, we created a virtual experience that looked like the real thing.

Since the business organizations already use Neomeet and our offices are integrated with Neomeet Rooms, a significant part of planning our virtual event was thinking about how to make it feel like it was taking place at the office.

What recommendations do you have for presenters at a hybrid event?

Conversations with the people in the room seem like the most prominent and straightforward way for live speakers to connect with their audience. However, remember that you have two distinct demographics to cater to in your delivery.

You have a different audience of 600 people checking you out online. As you greet guests and make references to attendees, keep the camera in mind and play a little more to their strengths.

Think about the event from the point of view of both the attendees and the presenters. A presentation will suffer if the speaker isn’t confident in their tools. Make sure the presenters have ample time for practice and preparation by conducting walkthroughs and dress rehearsals before the virtual presentation.

Do you anticipate that a virtual element will always be included in your events?

Including a virtual element is routinely discussed, whereas, in the past, it was rarely thought of unless there was a compelling reason to do so. This option is now always available, and eighty percent of the time, the answer is yes, we are going to provide a virtual service or product.

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