Building a Truly Hybrid Event Experience

Recently, Zoom hosted a two-day hybrid event for industry analysts  – Zoom Perspectives 2022. Hosted on Zoom Events, Zoom Perspectives was a truly hybrid experience with in-person and virtual attendees, speakers, hosts, and even a house band – all interacting together in unique ways. 

We know developing a hybrid event strategy can feel challenging, especially when you’re trying to capture the strengths of an in-person experience with the convenience and expanded reach of a virtual event. So we’re sharing some of our top takeaways from Zoom Perspectives with some advice to help you create a connected and equitable experience for everyone.

Focus on the virtual audience

Hybrid means more than just streaming out what’s happening in the room, it needs to be an interactive experience.”

Scot Richardson, Technical Project Manager, Zoom Event Services

Virtual events provide a bounty of benefits, from sustainability and cost-savings, to extensive brand reach and higher attendee capacity. But it can be challenging to bring the virtual audience into the live event.  Enabling your virtual audience to feel seen and heard should be a top priority. When this is achieved, it greatly enhances the experience for your in-person attendees as well. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Put the virtual audience on screen in the room – a simple gallery view of the virtual audience can be extremely helpful to remind in-person attendees of the online participants. Putting that view up at the beginning of the event and during any transitions (coming back from break) is a terrific way to continually engage with your virtual attendees.
  • Take questions from the virtual audience first – this is a simple and easy technique to ensure that virtual attendees are being recognized and heard. This can be done with full video or audio or by simply having a moderator in the room verbally asking typed questions. An added benefit is giving your in-person audience time to get their questions ready!
  • Encourage everyone to join the Zoom event –Zoom Events provides powerful networking features that allow everyone to connect and collaborate. Lobby chat is a great way to build connection and energy well before the in-person event takes place.
The view from a Zoom hybrid meeting

Create digital-centric elements

Developing digital-centric elements allows you to create more engaging and meaningful events overall. Hearing and seeing presenters from both the in-person stage and online adds variety and drives energy and engagement. Here are a few of the elements we leveraged for Perspectives 2022:

  • Virtual emcee. Having our primary host participate virtually gave representation to our virtual audience and was a constant reminder that our event was hybrid. 
    • Pro tip: be sure to have someone in the room available to communicate with the emcee throughout the event via chat. 
    • Advanced pro tip: provide the emcee an audience camera feed from the room to help them engage the in-person audience members throughout the event.
  • Live studio band (Over Zoom!). Music can absolutely make or break an event. By leveraging a live band we were able to provide a dynamic and exciting soundtrack. Live walk-ons and break music added interest and energy throughout the entirety of the event (all without having to fly the band to the venue!). Remember: For your protection, please don’t use any live music, audiovisual content, sound recordings, or other forms of media on the Zoom platform without first obtaining all necessary licenses from the copyright owners.
  • Virtual presenters and panelists. The convenience and ease of Zoom removes so many barriers for presenters and panelists alike. A key moment of our event was a panel discussion with three Zoom customers all participating virtually. We were able to secure a powerful and memorable session without asking them to travel and sacrifice additional time.

Create opportunities for your virtual and in-person audiences to interact together

Hybrid events are easier than you think

Hybrid events are exciting, dynamic, and engaging. It’s easy to see why the future of events is hybrid. If you’re looking to host a hybrid event, we can help. Zoom Events is a powerful, all-in-one event platform for virtual and hybrid events. And Zoom’s Event Services team is available for consultation, technical production, and event support. 

Pro Tip: (watch how our Event Services team approaches hybrid and virtual events from behind the scenes) 
Let us know how we can help you make your next event an engaging and memorable virtual experience.

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