In the race to plan the perfect hybrid event, you’re only competing against yourself. Gone are the days when every event prof was scrambling to perfect the art of virtual events and become the beacon of digital experiences. If anything, after all the trials and tribulations, we learned to stay united. And as we find ourselves still navigating uncertain waters, new challenges arise.
In-person, virtual, hybrid – planners now must sit and wonder which type of event is the right one to choose. While this decision is rather subjective, it’s only natural that the latter option brings about more pressing questions. So far we’ve discussed more overarching themes like the importance of setting expectations for the future, but some more in-depth topics were somewhat lacking. So today, we’d like to tackle something inherent to the very DNA of hybrid events.
The importance of surrounding yourself with the right people when planning an event cannot be overstated. But what does a hybrid event team look like? Who are the key players that you definitely want on your team? Is it enough to just smash together the virtual and in-person staff? Well, it’s a little deeper than that. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
Helping Hands & High Spirits
If the end goal of any event is to keep attendees happy, then they need all the support they can get. Hybrid is very much a new experience for everyone involved, including audiences! The keyword here is support. Both those who are attending live and the people watching virtually will have questions that need answering and needs that need to be met. And while some of these questions and needs might be different, many will end up being quite similar.
So make sure you have dedicated support teams for both portions of your audience; and most importantly, make it easy for them to be in direct contact throughout the entire experience. Bridging the gap between remote and live attendees is a considerable challenge, but removing as many barriers as possible is a great help. These support teams can come in the form of technical producers: one for each portion of the audience, ensuring that they both have a specific person who’s thinking and designing the experience from their point of view and seamlessly blending it together.
And since we’re on the topic of engagement, we’ll throw another piece of advice into the mix. An emcee or animator isn’t a crucial part of your hybrid event team. However, someone whose sole job is to get everybody hyped up and in very high spirits can be the thing that sets your event apart. Plus, after months of adapting to virtual, there’s no shortage of qualified people out there who know exactly how to get the happy juices flowing in all kinds of audiences!
Hybrid Event Team: Let’s Talk Tech
While the first tendency when putting together a hybrid event team is to jumble all the staff together, you might want to take a step back. Planning hybrid experiences is about strategically merging virtual and in-person together; not creating a mixed bag of potatoes dipped in chocolate sauce. We want it to taste like harmony instead of complete dissonance; otherwise, Gordon Ramsay might come out of the woods and chase you. But off to what matters!
Sound & Video
At this point, most planners have learned the importance of quality video. When hosting a live experience, this isn’t exactly top-of-mind; however, now that at least half of your audience will be depending on a live stream, it becomes a priority. The scope of the event itself and the budget will inevitably dictate how many camera operators will be on-site, but one thing’s for certain – having a single person in charge of the video that will reach the virtual audience isn’t enough.
At this point, we’re well beyond that in terms of production, and audience expectations will be going through the roof. A doubling of camera operators should be expected and in the same vein, having two distinct graphics operators (one of each set of attendees) is also a good idea. When it comes to the camera setup, make sure you tap into your creative bone. During the heyday of virtual events, we talked a lot about giving digital experiences the feel of a TV broadcast, and the same still holds for hybrid events. Attendees at home want to feel like they’re part of what’s happening and being force-fed the same exact angle and same exact shot for hours on end isn’t exactly appealing.
Just as important as the video is his good friend sound. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by choppy audio during a virtual/hybrid event! Did you raise it? Most likely – and most likely have several of your attendees. Sound operators will be a key element of your hybrid event team. You’ll want to perfectly capture not just what the speaker is saying but also the noises the live audience is making and the questions they are asking. Both audiences deserve to feel immersed in the experience taking place in that moment, regardless of where they are.
The Producer Just Entered The Chat
Hybrid events need producers like humans need pizza – we can survive without it, but life sure is ten thousand times better if it’s there! So no, you don’t necessarily need a producer as a member of your hybrid event team. If the budget doesn’t allow it, there are ways you can circumvent the need for one, like having on-site tools help guide the presenters and let the other members of the staff communicate with each other rather seamlessly.
However, it’s still something we highly recommend. A producer works almost like the glue that holds everything together – this is the person who knows the show flow by heart, gets the show running, and has a direct line of communication with the operators, the speakers, and the technical producers. If anything goes awry during your version of a television broadcast, you’re not gonna call the Ghostbusters – you’ll get the producer on the line.
So You Want To Build A Hybrid Event Team…
Well, good news – it doesn’t have to be tough! The foundation of this dream team is built on seamless audience integration and technical proficiency. As long as you have designated people whose sole job is to keep both audiences engaged along with those who can handle the technology, you’re on the path to success.
Of course, the best option is always to hire a production team. Here at Endless, for instance, we have a pretty neat resumé consisting of hybrid, virtual, and live experiences. Our team is the cream of the crop when it comes to sound, audio, and project management, as well as establishing partnerships with the right venues. Working with the right partners completely removes the need to worry about building your own hybrid event team from scratch! If you’re curious or have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to ask. As always, the Einsteins of Events are here to help.