Let’s talk about hybrid conferences! I know there are still a lot of events and conferences happening virtually right now, but what if half those people were able to gather in person. Wouldn’t that be a treat?
With the world opening back up, hybrid conferences are definitely something that you need to take advantage of. In case you’re not sure what they are exactly, they are conferences that incorporates both in-person and virtual components. This could include having speakers live streaming their speech, while the audience watches from home. Another way to do this is hosting the event in person and having the recording available for a virtual audience.
Regardless of how you host your hybrid conferences, you need to make it fun and exciting. So we’ve below we’ve listed 5 fun & creative ideas for hybrid conferences.
PROMOTE HEALTH AND WELLNESS WITH CLASSES
Health is wealth, we hear that saying all the time. And it’s no surprise that this pandemic has taken a toll on our mental and physical health. If audiences are attending your hybrid conferences, it’s important to show that you care and prioritize health above all. Add extra value to your conference by incorporating a health and wellness component.
There are several ways to do this. You can offer a workout, meditation, or inspiration talk between sessions. You can have a constant stream of classes happening so audiences can go in and out as they please. Another option can be to offer vouchers or coupons that can be used towards mental and physical health.
MAKE IT UNIQUE WITH AN ADDED EVENT
Conferences can, at times, feel a little boring and stale. Jazz it up by trying something unique to really grab your audience’s attention! How about including a hybrid mixology or flavor tripping event? It’s the perfect blend to ensure that every person, near or far, feels included and thought of. Each experience is led by an Avital Emcee Host, accompanied by an award-winning bartender – dependant on the event of your choosing. Not to mention, ingredient delivery is included so both your audiences will get to have that shared experience.
INCLUDE A LITTLE FRIENDLY COMPETITION WITH A POLL
Who doesn’t like that? Whether you’re participating or not, everyone loves the suspense and excitement of a good game. Here’s how you can do it. Let’s say you have a booth or a demo; you can include a live poll to get instant feedback from your audience. Which booth did they like the most? Is there a demo that really stood out to them? What are they most excited about at this conference? It can be used in so many ways and it’s a great way to get your audiences involved in the fun! You can announce the results right then or there or have your audience coming back by announcing them the next day. Added bonus, it’ll boost your social media presence and engagement. Truly a win all around.
DELIGHT THE AUDIENCES WITH LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
People are in serious need of music and art to make them happy – especially these days! Hire a musician, comedian, or even a fortune teller to entertain your audiences, near and far. This is a great added element to keep people engaged and entertained in between speeches, presentations, demos, or even when they just need a break. With the pandemic shutting down a lot of the live entertainment industry, this is your chance to bring the entertainment to your audience. You’ll be seen as a hero (probably).
AMP UP THE EXCITEMENT WITH CONFERENCE BUZZ
Before your audiences even join you for the conference, you want to get them buzzing. The more excited they are, the more they will engage with each other during the event. Take this as an opportunity to help spread brand awareness and create content for your social media. You can reuse, repurpose, or recycle this content for months down the line. If you’re not sure where to start, allow me to give you some examples. Create an event hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and have your audiences use it before, during, and after the event. Create a countdown clock on your website, email campaigns, and socials to get your audiences excited. And finally, create a hype video or trailer for your event. It will give your audience a glimpse into what they can expect!
INCLUDE EVERYONE IN THE SWAG BAG
One of the most exciting aspects of attending a conference is finding out what is in your goodie bag! With a portion of your attendees joining virtually, they won’t get to experience that excitement…but what if they could? Sending a swag bag, whether virtually or delivered to the home, is a great way to make sure your virtual audience feels welcome and included.
HIRE AN MC FOR THE VIRTUAL CROWD
Your virtual audience is going to be the trickiest one to pin down – you don’t want them to feel like an afterthought. Having a dedicated MC strictly for the virtual crowd will help engage the virtual audience with the live audience and speakers. They can do regular check-ins, announcements, venue tours, and give updates on the happenings.
MIX UP YOUR SESSION FORMATS
We all know that monotonous feeling of watching video after video or listening to presentation after presentation. After a while, they all start to blend. My advice to keep things interesting? Change it up! Switch up the formats, vary the lengths. It’ll keep your audience on their toes and interested to see what comes next. Some ideas could be a panel discussion, breakout rooms, workshops, roundtables, or a mix of any of the above.
BRING OUT THE PLAY WITH A PHOTOBOOTH
Have some fun with a photobooth! Now you may be wondering, how do I get my virtual audience in on a photobooth? Well, you can create a virtual breakout room with fun backgrounds where attendees can take pictures with their pets or swag. Bonus: they can post it to their socials with the event hashtag and you have yourself some free marketing!
PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS… BUT WITH NETWORKING
We all played this game as a child, but did you know it works well for networking too? Have your in-person attendees play “musical chairs” with their virtual counterparts. They land on a chair in front of a tablet screen with a different virtual attendee each time and they’re given 5 minutes to chat before moving on to the next person. You can also give the option to extend the time if both participants choose to do so. However, if only one person chooses to extend the time, the meeting will end at the 5-minute mark.
HAVE A DESIGNATED CHARGING STATION
Yes, I know these big conference rooms will have plugs along the wall but what if you made it a point to add a whole charging station/room for your attendees? You could offer coffee, tea, snacks, and turn it into a networking opportunity instead of attendees awkwardly standing against the wall waiting for their laptop or cellphone to fully load. If you want to get your virtual attendees in on the fun, you can add this as a “break room” in the virtual space and make it another way for your two audiences to interact and network.
BRING IN A BIG WIG
This might sound like an obvious one but there is nothing quite like a big name in your industry to attract the audience you want. They could be a keynote speaker, facilitate a workshop, or lead a panel discussion on a topic relevant to the conference. It’ll show your audience that you are have invested lots of resources into making this event one for the books!
Regardless of the way you go about planning your hybrid conferences, it’s important to remember that each person feels included, appreciated and excited for having attended your event. You’ll be glad you went that extra mile to make sure your conference stands out among the rest.