Who watched The Friends Reunion? I could not help reflecting on the famous scene where Ross purchased the couch but decided not to purchase the delivery service and think about the last 18 months in the events industry.
We are hearing from so many clients, who purchased virtual event software to deliver their virtual event in 2020, only to find that they just could not pivot sufficiently to deliver a highly engaging event. Many people accepted this as the 2020 experience, and people were forgiving.
2021 we are pivoting again, this time with a hybrid component, and again we are seeing many people attempting to deliver their hybrid events, leveraging technology, and forgetting about the virtual audience experience. Moving forward people aren’t going to be so forgiving, and they aren’t going to accept simply sitting watching a stream from a venue knowing breakouts are happening, yet not being a part of them, hearing from people at the venue what the whole buzz is, yet not feeling that online. This really does not keep people attention, can feel frustrating, not to mention, the social aspect many of us are aching for, is simply missing. It would be remiss of me not to mention sponsors just aren’t getting value from online sponsor booths and need an alternative experience to invest in hybrid booths, or get value from spending time online, so we have to develop social experiences where sponsors can get in front of a valuable virtual audience, while also connecting onsite…
1. Create specific networking events online for the Virtual Audience, so that the hybrid audience stays engaged with each other. If you have an opening reception onsite, create a different online experience at the same time, so there is no FOMO!
2. Leverage an online host who is onsite at the venue, who can bridge the gap for the virtual audience who can interview onsite participants, sponsors and virtual participants and keep the experience dynamic.
3. Educate your onsite speakers & sponsors to engage with the virtual audience by leveraging a moderator onsite and involving comments and chats from the virtual audience into the live presentation.
4. Broadcast leveraging onsite and offsite presenters and bring the experts from global venues onto the stage via a live stream.
5. Deliver a new social experience for the sponsors, where they participate in schedule sessions which naturally bring the audience to them. Allow them to network in new ways, and match the audience to the sponsor.
6. Pay for delivery. Leverage seasoned professionals who know how to leverage the tools on the market to deliver engagement onsite and offsite for your audience. The investment will pay off, with a higher ROI for your event.
We will keep needing to pivot the delivery of our events and include hybrid as part of our event packaging for the foreseeable future. Knowing how to do that effectively is going to be key to keeping your audience engaged in your content and in your organization and/or business.