Hybrid Events for Global Audiences

2 June 2021

With business travel forecast not to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023, and with various countries at different stages of their vaccination programme, hybrid events have become the solution to connect global audiences together.

This of course comes with challenges and opportunities. The challenges, largely technical, but also to keep each audience member engaged with the event. The opportunity therefore is to deliver a hybrid event which inspires global audiences to keep talking which each other, innovating, problem-solving, networking and growing.

In this latest blog post, we’re taking a closer look at hybrid events and how they can work for global audiences.

What is a hybrid event?

Hybrid events are, quite simply, a mix of live and virtual events. The live component, no matter how small, is used as the base from which to engage with your audience, no matter where they are.

Engagement is the crucial foundation from which to start planning a hybrid event. Organisers and meeting planners need to ensure both the live and virtual audiences are fully engaged throughout the event, which requires careful thought and planning.

Therefore it can be said hybrid events are a balancing act for organisers to get right. Content needs to be delivered in different methods to each audience, speakers need to consider the live audience, and the virtual audience, when they plan their speech, while the event itself needs to feel like one event – not two separate entities.

What type of hybrid events work for global audiences?

Global businesses are turning to hybrid events instead of trying to fly everyone into one single location. With quarantine rules in place across the world, it’s nigh on impossible to get everyone together into one venue.

Whether the event is a sales kickoff, global town hall, inter-department team meeting, or even a fun/social occasion, organisers need to get creative.

The most straightforward choice for many organisers and meeting planners is to pick one venue, say the company HQ, and live stream to delegates across the world.

Except, can that really be the case with a global audience? After all, a 9AM start time in London is 5PM in Tokyo and 4AM in New York. That means organisers need to treat their audience equally to ensure their audience get the most from the event. They can’t just base it on what works for the company HQ, but rather each audience member needs to have their needs taken into account.

The misconception with hybrid events is that it’s either one or the other: you’re either in the room or logging on. However, there’s nothing to suggest your global event couldn’t be a series of local ‘hub’ events, joining one another via a link-up, to hear the main keynote for example. As the programme develops, local hosts or emcees can direct attendees to localised breakout sessions, feedback to the main host, keep the energy high in the room and even ask the keynote speaker questions from the audience.

Inspiring an audience to feel part of one event

The glue that binds audiences together is understanding they are part of a shared experience. This of course is easier to achieve in a single venue when we take in the words spoken and continue discussions over coffee.

With hybrid events, the opportunity still exists to bind delegates together. The keynote speaker is the focal point of the event, so selecting the right speaker who can impact both live and virtual audiences is imperative. But the content angle is just as important. After all, with the audience spread over many locations, each dealing with the pandemic differently, the speaker needs to make everyone feel included in the event.

Organisers and meeting planners therefore really need to consider what it is they want to achieve from the event, and the follow-up steps that are required to achieve that process. While an energising keynote might fire-up the early risers in New York, the energy needs to be re-set the following morning in Tokyo.

The best hybrid events deliver their stated objectives because the organisers have treated the live and virtual audiences as an equal entity, considering what each needs to get the most from the event.

Our team of experts are ready to help with some inspiring choices for your next hybrid event keynote speaker or host, so why not call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk Newsletter Sign Up

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