When planning a hybrid event, one of the main goals is to create an interactive experience for all attendees, whether they are in the room or not. This closes the presenter-audience feedback loop in order to make sure that everyone feels connected.
Participants who are not present can still contribute and share their knowledge through the use of tools like two-way real-time video, various chat functions, Q&A, sending emoji or reactions, and of course, the tried and true Twitter, using hashtags that connect the conversation to both live events and resources shared by other participants online.
This article discusses what types of tools organizers could use for their hybrid events, what types of activities work well with online participants, and how to create an environment that encourages interaction from all attendees, both in-person and remote.
Here is what we’re going to cover in this article:
5 Types of tools to use for a hybrid event to increase engagement:
- Two-way real-time video
- Participant Chat
- Q&A Sessions
- Sending emoji or reactions
- Twitter and Social Media
We also go into a few key steps on creating an environment that encourages interaction from all attendees.
Types of tools to use for a hybrid event to increase engagement
There are a variety of tools organizers can use to create a hybrid event that is interactive and engaging for all participants. Two-way real-time video is a great way to include remote attendees in the conversation, as is using Q&A software to collect questions from both in-person and online attendees. Sending emoji or reactions allows participants who are not able to speak up in person to share their thoughts, and of course, using Twitter to connect the conversation to both live events and resources shared by other participants online also increases the interactivity of a hybrid event.
Creating activities that allow both live and remote attendees to participate is key to increasing engagement and connection across platforms during a hybrid event. Here are some example activities you can include in your agenda:
Two-way real-time video
Two-way real-time video is a great way to include remote attendees in the conversation, as is using Q&A software to collect questions from both in-person and online attendees. Sharing the presenter’s screen so that other participants can experience what is being presented live or after the fact. Having discussion groups with questions that participants can discuss amongst their colleagues both online and offline.
Participant chat allows hybrid attendees to continue their conversations after the event. This is an effective way to keep participants engaged with what’s happening during hybrid events, because having access to the chat means that online participants feel included in the experience.
Using Q&A software provides many benefits for hybrid event organizers and hybrid event attendees. For hybrid event organizers, Q&A software allows you to collect questions from both in-person and online participants, and can be used to engage hybrid attendees in real time during the live event or after the live presentations.
Sending emoji or reactions
Using polling software to ask participants for their opinions with the option to include reactions, emojis, or text-based responses. Have discussion groups where attendees can express thoughts on a topic by sending emoji either live during the session or afterward.
Twitter and Social Media
Using hashtags that connect the conversation to both live events and resources shared by other participants online, as well as questions that can be answered using Twitter. Using two-way video with Q&A software to collect responses to presenter questions for sharing after the event. Sharing presentations or project materials on social media during or after the event for participants who are unable to attend. Sending questions through Twitter that the presenter can answer during the session. Sharing sessions or resources with participants outside of your organization using hashtags, either online before the event or live during it.
Creating an environment that encourages interaction from all attendees
Organizing a hybrid event is no easy feat, but it’s important to create an environment that encourages interaction from all attendees. Making sure online participants know what is expected of them ahead of time will ensure that they are prepared to engage in the conversation, while also helping to manage expectations for live participants. Here are some tips on how organizers can facilitate this type of environment:
Provide guidelines for online participants ahead of the event to help them know what is expected of them. By providing guidance on how they can engage with live attendees, you are helping to set clear expectations for both in-person and online participants. If possible, provide some type of virtual experience using tools like two-way video or screen sharing prior to the event so that remote attendees are able to get a sense of the experience they can expect.
Make sure remote participants have access to materials in advance so that they are able to prepare for the event. Providing online attendees with agendas, presentation slides, or other material ahead of the event will help them not only engage more actively during the session but also provide input on the topics that are covered. Letting remote attendees know what is expected of them ahead of time will also help to streamline the session for live participants, ensuring they can engage without feeling like their attention is divided.
Provide methods for in-person participants to see the online attendees
Hybrid events are an opportunity for both in-person and online attendees to engage with each other, not just the presenter or speakers. Making sure in-person participants are aware of how they can interact with remote attendees will help to encourage them to do so during sessions. Here are some things you can do to make this possible:
Let all participants know ahead of time that there will be a dedicated space for online participants to share their thoughts and questions. Having a discussion area with dedicated users is helpful, as it allows both live attendees and remote ones to feel that they are part of the same experience. Letting in-person participants know that there is an online group where they can leave comments or questions for presentation teams will help them to also engage with remote participants.
Take advantage of chats by having the presenter jump into the conversation if they are able to or simply encouraging participants to interact with one another. Having a session chat for online participants is helpful, as it gives them an opportunity to share their own thoughts on what is being discussed during sessions. This also allows presenters to share messages publicly in order to reach out to live attendees, which can be helpful when they are trying to gather feedback on certain topics.
Using hashtags in presentations
A hashtag is simply a word or phrase prefaced with the hash symbol (#). These act as keywords that can help people find content related to specific events or topics across social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Using hashtags in presentations can be helpful when you want to encourage real-time feedback and comments from remote participants, as well as sharing your event hashtag across all social channels before or during the event. Here are some tips on how to effectively use hashtags during conferences to help reach out to attendees:
Choose a Twitter handle for your event ahead of time and make sure to include it alongside your event hashtag. This will help attendees engage with each other across social media platforms, where they can easily share their thoughts or questions on sessions.
Conclude presentations by encouraging study groups to create their own hashtags around the topics being discussed during events. Having a dedicated space for online participants to share their own thoughts on presentations can be a helpful way for them to feel engaged in the experience.
Hybrid events, while still being relatively new, offer a unique opportunity for in-person and online attendees to engage with each other. By following some simple best practices, you can help make sure that all participants feel like they are part of the same experience. This will encourage in-person attendees to interact with remote participants, making hybrid events an even more powerful tool for engagement.
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