Learn How to Enhance Creativity and Boost Value for Hybrid Events
What do a centaur, a werewolf, and today’s hottest events all have in common? They’re all hybrid! Much like creatures of folklore, today’s trending affairs are a mash-up of two great things — live events and virtual events. At face value, a hybrid event might seem like the best of both worlds… but, like any hybrid, it can also have a darkside.
I’m talking about the lack of creativity and connection for the virtual audience at a hybrid event. More often than not, virtual attendees miss out on tons of value that those in the physical audience receive simply by being there. It’s time to talk about how to enhance creativity and boost value for hybrid events across the board.
What’s Missing in Most Hybrid Events?
Not too long ago, I broke down the ultimate hybrid events checklist, as told by a professional emcee. That blog post was packed with a ton of helpful information for those planning a hybrid event, especially if you’re still gathering your events team. What we didn’t talk about in that post, however, was how to add value specifically for your virtual audience.
Even in hybrid events with a well-staffed team, the virtual crowd can be a bit of an afterthought. At the end of the day, the in-person audience is sent to the ballroom to mingle amidst a loaded buffet and professional DJ. In comparison, the virtual audience is left heading back to their normal kitchen and living room, alone. Do you see the problem there?
At the core, most people come to conferences or seminars to network. They attend with the purpose of connecting with like-minded professionals. For those in-person, networking can be as simple as chatting up other attendees at the buffet. But for virtual attendees who are cut off from everyone else once the curtain closes, there’s no networking opportunity in sight.
Let’s talk about how you can level the playing field with a professional emcee and asynchronous software.
How to Level the Playing Field with a Professional Emcee
So, how do you add value for a virtual audience? At the very least, every hybrid event should have a chat feature. There are tons of ways to create virtual engagement through chat. If you do it right, dozens of questions get asked — way more than I see at an in-person event, in fact! Without the pressure of standing in front of an entire ballroom of people with a microphone, all attendees have equal access to ask questions in the chat.
However, there are so many ways to take this basic idea of a chat and completely turn up the dial of creativity and connectivity! In my experience as a professional emcee, I’ve learned to leverage apps and software during hybrid events to create a running dialogue between myself, the speakers on stage, those in the audience, and those at home, to ensure everyone feels included.
Entertainment + Software to Encourage Engagement
As a host an entertainer, two of my favorite software pairings for hybrid events include:
- Socio: Live streaming, attendee engagement, advanced analytics, and 1:1 networking.
- Mentimeter: Live polls, word clouds, quizzes, Q&A sessions, and more.
When I’m the professional emcee at a hybrid event, I love to work with the event planners and producers to get these two apps into the run of show. Once we’re live, I’ll open Socio on my iPad to kickstart polls and quizzes. Then, we get Mentimeter screening from the projectors for in-person guests and begin a live stream for those at home.
Ready for the cool part? When I ask a question on Socio, like where everyone is from, both in-person and virtual audiences type in their answer from their phone. So, instead of selecting someone from the live audience to participate, I can read out from a list of answers that can be coming from anywhere in the world — from that very room or from halfway across the globe!
As the professional emcee, this method essentially democratizes the hybrid event. Now, everyone has an equal opportunity to ask a question, answer a question, or weigh in on a poll. Plus, these software options bring the magic and engagement of a virtual chat straight to those sitting in the live audience. It’s a win-win, really!
Why Added Value is Critical Now More Than Ever
Prior to the pandemic (and the subsequent lockdowns), the value of an event was previously understood. People would attend for networking and connection. Today, producers have to actively plan to add value to virtual events. When an event is hybrid, those sitting at home cannot be an afterthought, but instead must be a part of the event planning from day one.
It’s helpful to think about it this way: Hybrid events have leveled the playing field for people who either don’t want to travel or can’t physically travel, either because of medical, personal, and business restraints. However, these individuals still expect a similar experience as those who are in-person. This is especially true for association events, where individuals are buying tickets.
In this case, the “value” of your event is essentially tied to a price point. While your in-person audience might receive a loaded buffet, a DJ, and dozens of networking opportunities for that price point, your virtual audience receives a fraction of the value. It’s imperative to find methods to enhance creativity and connection for those at home to make it a truly valuable experience.
If this is your first hybrid event, or if you’re struggling to find ways to enhance value for your virtual audience, it’s time to tap in a knowledgeable professional emcee.
Enhance Your Hybrid Event with an Emcee Consultant
With more than a decade of live experience, more than 200 virtual shows, and a plethora of hybrid events under my belts, I’m no longer just a professional emcee and entertainer — I’m a consultant! As your professional emcee, I help shoulder the responsibility of generating engagement and connection between your attendees. And if we’re being honest, I’m pretty good at it!
Aside from guiding the schedule of the event from beginning to end, I also specialize in virtual happy hours, team-building, and even virtual comedy shows. I’ve spearheaded tons of virtual networking events, so I can mingle with both your in-person guests and your virtual audience with ease. This way, no attendee ever has to be like their needs weren’t considered by your event.
If you’re ready to put on the best hybrid event possible, I’m ready to help you execute on your vision. Let’s work together to plan a hybrid event that all attendees — both live and virtual! — will talk about for years to come. Send me a booking inquiry today to get started!