2020 presented unique challenges for event coordinators and planners. Fortunately, these challenges have been overcome during the pandemic and the organizers have managed to adapt to the changes by developing and using innovative solutions that allow communication with the audience.
Moving face-to-face events to the virtual environment, where communication takes place 100% in an online environment, has been a challenge, but it has also opened a world of advantages such as: the low cost of implementation, the greater scope or the analysis and the data collection. To these we also add the opportunity to carry out live broadcasts or pre-recorded content, or even a combination of these, which allows reaching the target audience more punctually and communicating the necessary information in a more creative and effective way.
However, companies have realized that the virtual, although it provides a solution to several problems raised due to the global health emergency, is not entirely perfect, since some relational needs are not usually solved.
Some studies and research show that, for many companies, the virtual system does not achieve precise objectives in large groups, due to the lack of interrelation that usually occurs in some events, something that would be achieved personally in a face-to-face event. On the other hand, the transmission of experiences is very complicated in the totally virtual plane, obtaining better results in an event with the presence of the target audience.
For these reasons, hybrid events have become very relevant since the advantages of the virtual system are coupled with those already known from the face-to-face system, in such a way that a more complete environment is created, solving problems of interrelation, experimentation and networking.
Advantages of hybrid events
– Opens an opportunity for those who wish to attend in person or those who prefer the convenience of online events.
– Promotes interaction with products or services personally and enjoy the environment.
– It allows companies to develop more transmission channels and take advantage of the benefits of virtual and face-to-face events.
In a new environment such as hybrid events, it is important to be aware of potential errors when organizing such an event and to try to minimize them.
If we consider the mixed nature of these types of events, we realize that, in them, the problems that can occur in face-to-face and virtual events coexist, with which we have twice as many problems to deal with.
Problems to avoid when organizing hybrid events
In this post we list some of the problems to avoid when organizing hybrid events to anticipate them and carry out a totally successful event:
1. Lack of advance planning: planning an event is everything; We cannot start anything without first sitting down carefully with the team and determining the details and actions to follow. To do this, we need to start by defining both the team in charge of the face-to-face event and the person in charge of the virtual event. We cannot generalize since we are dealing with two different audiences, virtual and face-to-face, and we need, from the initial idea, to establish clear ideas for each audience.
2. The non-interaction between virtual and face-to-face: To achieve the desired objectives, we need to focus not only on the public present but also on those who connect with us from their electronic devices.
We cannot perform the same dynamics for the two audiences; We must consider that each one of them has its pros and cons, taking them into account when making the event agenda will help us to correctly transmit the ideas we have.
The importance of the keynote speaker, in addition to the speakers or lecturers, is vital to achieving this task. The experience of the speaker is needed to direct and interact with the two audiences, in addition to promoting the participation of the attendees. If this interaction is achieved with the entire audience, it will have a successful event and surely the attendees will repeat attendance for the next year.
3. Lack of content for both audiences: content is the most important, since it is what we will transmit to meet the objectives that we set ourselves. Although the main content will be common, we cannot prepare the same content for the two audiences because the environments are different, and they need planning to transmit it in the best way to both channels. The use of videos, pre-recorded content, music, etc., will allow us to direct the content in a better way to the virtual public, than just the presentation of the lecturer. For the face-to-face audience, dynamics or collaboration with the public may be used, among many other tools.
4. Do not measure the time of the event: each event needs an estimated time for its completion, something that we must consider when it comes to a hybrid event. In the face-to-face we can have the audience’s attention, but in the virtual, we need to capture the attention, maintain the expectation, and surprise the attendees in such a way that the event does not wane in interest. Hybrid events need to be handled on an almost perfect timer in such a way that both the face-to-face and virtual audience are satisfied and the cumbersome physical problems, such as disconnections or software or hardware errors that may occur do not affect in any way.
5. Do not foresee the correct transmission equipment: a hybrid event needs the best team to carry it out, including technology teams. For this, it is necessary to have a professional team with which we can have the reliability and security that the event will not be offline at any time and that its development will not have any interference.
6. Lack of measurement of results: both modalities, face-to-face and virtual, have easy and effective tools for measuring results. In hybrid events we need to take these tools into account and take advantage of them for later use. In person, the use of surveys, cameras detecting the reactions of the public, as well as applications that allow us to know the opinion of the attendees, among others. As for the virtual, the use of web forms, online surveys, use of the tools offered by the platforms to measure connection and participation time, access time, etc. All this will facilitate decision-making and provide feedback to the organizers for future proposals.
7. Forgetting the post-event experience: it is one of the most common problems and the interaction with the public before, during and after the event is extremely important. Practices such as sending emails with messages of thanks or certificates of participation; sending contributions such as supporting books or pdfs with related topics; have a website with VIP access to the participants of the event, making available content on demand, videos, interviews, reactions and behind the scenes.
8. Not guaranteeing the safety of the face-to-face assistants: the security for face-to-face assistants must be the most rigorous and reliable. Taking into account the sanitary provisions of each place and promoting distance between attendees, as well as the correct use of protection accessories such as masks, gel and temperature measurement, are some of the measures that are necessary in this type of events. Security is something that needs to be taken very seriously among organizers.
If the problems described above can be avoided, we can ensure that we will have a 90% chance that our hybrid event will be a success.
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