Planner Tips: Event Strategy and Design for Hybrid Meetings

April 14, 2021
Concise Team

Whether you’ve never planned a hybrid event or feel pretty confident in your abilities to deliver a seamless experience, there are strategy and design techniques for hybrid meetings that you can use now to elevate your next event.

Just as you measured your in-person events’ success by stakeholder experience and event metrics, the same can be said for virtual and hybrid. The delivery may look different, but the opportunities to reach a larger audience, provide new engagement levels, and gauge effectiveness are greater with hybrid.

Let’s uncover the opportunities found with each challenge and go over strategy and design tips that appeal to your audience and other stakeholders.

Designing for Two Modes of Delivery

One of the challenges and opportunities in designing hybrid experiences is activating in multiple modes of delivery. Event planners are well versed in creating live event experiences, and most will be very excited to get back to familiar territory. Many have experimented in the digital world over the past year and are gaining confidence in crafting virtual experiences.

With our help, planners are drawing on their successes in both modes to create outstanding hybrid experiences. Developing and executing high impact content, networking, and community-building strategies inform their newfound understanding and the benefits of both methods.

Our hybrid offer supports single or multi-hub events, wherever your presenters and participants are, delivered through our Chime LiveSM platform. It’s a seamless connection and produces a simultaneous, integrated event that can look and feels the same for everyone.

Virtual Data Crosses Over Into Live, In-Person Events

We have all learned the benefits of tracking how participants navigate virtual event tech. Data and analytics help planners refine their delivery and articulate measurable value and insights to event owners, exhibitors, and sponsors.

When we move back into delivering more in-person experiences again and hybrid is the norm, savvy planners will continue to use this strategy and activate data collection through Chime Live for their in-person participants too.

For hybrid events, Chime Live provides the full event experience for participants, wherever they are. If participants are in-person, we can activate features that enable their devices to act as second screens for real-time feedback, Q&A and networking.

Tracking technology can also be added on, to understand how participants navigate the show floor, breakout and meeting spaces. This data, combined with virtual participant data, will allow planners to apply agile development strategies to improve the outcomes from both live in-person and virtual experiences.

Rethinking How We Manage Content and Time

We have all recognized and experienced ‘Zoom fatigue.’ One positive from the forced digital transformation we have gone through is understanding and managing event participants’ psychological capacity and engagement.

As a result, many planners and event designers are re-thinking their content programming and scheduling. We now understand that most participants cannot effectively absorb 10 hours of content, day after day, without leaving a large amount of information on the meeting room (or living room) floor.

We encourage event planners to schedule ‘white space’ time, allowing attendees to reflect on the content and relax, providing space and time for them to slow down and leave ‘mental room’ for the next round of knowledge.

By allocating this time, planners allow remote participants to manage their fatigue and open up networking opportunities between remote and in-person attendees, through Chime Live.

Attendee-Curated Experiences in a Live Setting

Planners were not well-versed in engaging participants in the early days of virtual, allowing them to pick and choose what they took part in and when, with little influence on engagement. Aside from the risk of not meeting the objectives of the event or having little discernible impact, this approach caused stress for planners who are used to controlling the behaviour of their in-person event participants.

Thankfully, our insights, virtual and hybrid production expertise, combined with our Chime Live platform, mean we craft the participant’s journey, wherever they are, promoting engagement tactics, pushing notifications and encouraging interaction throughout the event. This ensures virtual audiences are as stimulated by critical content, with messages adopted, as those in-person.

And once the show is over, we provide you with insights on audience, questions asked and feedback, to realize your success.

Let’s Do the (Virtual) Time Warp Again

Many planners already make their content accessible on-demand, for those who couldn’t attend a live show, but the value it brings to your event attendees deserves repeating. Allowing event participants to access content after the show is over, has enormous advantages.

Benefits include revisiting topics to reinforce their learning or access sessions they could not attend during the live experience because of time conflicts. By extending the life of your event content, planners can provide additional value to their participants, presenters, sponsors, and other important stakeholders.

Branding Across Event Delivery

For a long time, we have known that your event branding and colour scheme are essential for setting tone and mood at the live event. This is just as important for hybrid shows. Our creative team will invest time and energy to align the themes, visuals and colour schemes across your in-person and virtual, in-platform settings. This consistency helps all attendees feel the same connection and mood, whichever way they are taking part.

Presentation Stages™ and the TV Aesthetic

Our Presentation Stages™ kicked off the merging of broadcast TV and events. For hybrid events, this option continues to grow in popularity, allowing us to set the stage for both the in-person and virtual participants in safe, professional environments.

Taking inspiration from broadcast television and award show aesthetics, our stages are set-designed, branded and rigged with lighting plots tailored for multiple camera angles. Immersing the in-person presenters, panellists and participants in vivid colour and movement ensures the view looks just as good for remote and on demand, post-event viewers.

Sending Out the Goodies

Many have experimented with mailing event collateral and goodie bags to virtual participants. Some have used home delivery to provide tools like workbooks and additional reading material in advance of a show. Simultaneously, other planners and event organizers have allowed exhibitors and sponsors to send their samples and swag to help them connect with people in their homes.

Starting every event experience with some sort of mail-out may continue, but we predict event designers, planners, and exhibitors will refine their strategy, focusing more on the message behind the deliveries. The key is seeking and providing meaningful connections and opportunities to educate and inspire, rather than posting out yet another traveling coffee cup that fails to deliver a compelling reason to connect with a brand.

Neuroscience as a Strategy and Design Tool for Hybrid Meeting ROI

The past year has given many event planners and designers a chance to re-educate themselves about experience design, psychology and neuroscience. Learning how others process information empowers them to create more meaningful experiences that ensure content is not only delivered but absorbed and turned into repeatable retrievable capabilities.

By deploying storytelling techniques, planners can build on their understanding of the power of peer-group learning. This will create more confidence in managing community structures, creating mental alignment, and making positive collaborative cultures. Neuroscience as a tool translates into the ability to articulate better the long-term benefits of event owners and what organizations can expect from their event investments.

What’s Next

With multiple effective COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in many parts of the world, we anticipate the number of hybrid events organised will continue to rise, as the industry responds in its level of comfort to meet in venues as well as remotely.

We’re excited about helping you with your in-person, hybrid or virtual event. Count on us to deliver an exceptional experience that engages all your participants and meets your event objectives.