Hybrid events are a combination of physical and virtual events. There is the physical location where some of the attendees gather. There is the livestreaming of the event which participants can watch virtually. But how can an event organizer bring the two attendee groups together in a single, seamless networking event? Read on to find out.
Hybrid Event Management Software
A hybrid event isn’t going to work without an event management software. The attendees need to universally register and log in on some sort of platform to participate. They also need a platform where they all come together in one place, even though they are in multiple locations. There are a lot of event management solutions available, however b2match is an excellent choice because of its emphasis on b2b matchmaking. Business matchmaking is what allows participants to find each other to set up networking opportunities during a hybrid event.
Business matchmaking is a strategic, efficient form of networking. Attendees provide information on the hybrid event management solution about what they are looking for or offering. They use a smart search function to find their best matches to set up one-to-one meetings either onsite or virtually. The hybrid event management platform provides personalized agendas to each participant letting them know who they set up meetings with and where.
Marketplace for Hybrid Events
A marketplace is where people go to find what they are looking for. That is why the b2match marketplace is the heart of its b2b matchmaking feature.
The marketplace is where participants have the opportunity to fill out what they are looking for, and what they are offering. Whether that is investors looking to fund startups. Or buyers looking for sellers. Or a job fair hybrid event matching students to potential future employers. Each participant can fill in detailed descriptions, upload photos, videos and files.
Using a smart search function, they are presented with all the best opportunities your hybrid event attendee list is offering. Before the event even begins, participants choose the business partners they are interested in meeting with. Their personalized agenda tells them if their meeting will take place at the physical location or online with a virtual participant.
Scheduling the Hybrid Event Agenda
A hybrid event needs specific planning. It is a bit more complicated for participants at the physical location. They need clear information about where to go and when to be there.
A well planned hybrid event agenda has the welcome and introductory sessions, plenary sessions, workshops and pitch presentations in the first half of the day. The second half of the day is then dedicated to one-to-one meetings.
Scheduling out the hybrid event agenda like this has two benefits.
The first benefit is it will increase your event’s one-to-one meeting numbers. Attendees do not have to decide between attending plenary sessions, workshops, pitch presentations or one-to-one meetings. The two are not competing for time resources.
The second benefit is that you can schedule in a clear break between the sessions and the one-to-one meetings. Make sure there is a good amount of time between these two parts of the agenda. Sessions can go over their allocated schedule. Participants can miss their one-to-one meetings and that lowers event satisfaction.
It also gives your physical event attendees time to review their personal agendas. They have the time to see if their upcoming one-to-one meeting is onsite and what table has been assigned to them. Or if it will be virtual so they can prepare their devices.
Your virtual participants also need a break from their devices. This way they can come back refreshed for their one-to-one virtual meetings.
One last tip. Don’t offer too many matchmaking sessions in one afternoon. Attendees can get overwhelmed.
If you are having a hard time scheduling enough one-to-one meetings, look into offering long-term matchmaking. This is an excellent solution for not having a hybrid event that is too long, while still offering enough networking opportunities.
Livestreaming with Virtual Attendee Participation
Hybrid events are a great way to fight virtual event fatigue. Those who join a physical event are welcome to. They get the benefit of being away from their devices and interact with colleagues and during live sessions.
With the right hybrid event platform, you can deliver similar benefits to your virtual participants as well.
Livestreaming your hybrid event to your virtual audience isn’t just an online video format used to broadcast through the internet in real time. It’s an opportunity to include your virtual participants. Make sure the event management platform you are using offers live stages that include virtual audience engagement with Q&A, chat, and polls, which event organizers moderate.
Offering live stages and one-to-one business matchmaking will help your virtual attendees actively participate in your hybrid event rather than passively watch. That will increase participant satisfaction.
Inform Participants About Hybrid Meeting Tech Etiquette
Attendees have the same hybrid event technical problems over and over again. They cannot log in, they cannot access their microphone or camera, they cannot figure out how to book or join a meeting, etc.
A lot of these issues can be easily avoided by clearly communicating exactly what participants need to do to join your hybrid event and how to navigate their one-to-one meetings. Utilize your most powerful communication tools. Your event website and event emails.
- Encourage your participants to install the latest version of their browser (Firefox or Chrome for example). If need be, add links with a detailed description on how exactly to do it.
- Add helpful links to the browser's and system’s (Windows/Mac) permissions to use the microphone and camera.
- Create a step-by-step guide with screenshots or even a video on how to join meetings.
- For your virtual participants, include ways to contact you during the event in case of technical needs. Add the event email address, a phone number, a chat messaging service.
- Set up a help desk session within your hybrid event where someone of your organization is always available to help.
- For your physical event participants, have assigned meeting tables to go to. Make sure the onsite WIFI can handle the bandwidth necessary for the amount of meetings taking place. Offer access to power outlets for charging devices. Encourage the use of headsets and have a few extra to hand out.
A smooth technical experience will ensure that participants manage to make it to their meetings successfully. This will increase attendee satisfaction of your hybrid networking event.
Offering valuable networking opportunities during a hybrid event is possible. Finding the right event management platform for your needs will ensure success.