Last year many brands from various industries hosted a massively successful Hybrid event. And that too in the time of the pandemic. When many live events were either canceled or postponed for months. So how did these brands host these events successfully? Let’s have a deeper insight into this.
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What are Hybrid events?
Hybrid events are cross between live and virtual events. In these events, there is live as well as virtual audiences. But how do these events work? These events use similar technology that is used for organizing virtual events. Here, in this case, they use virtual/hybrid event platforms. These platforms offer 3-D and an immersive experience since the aim is to provide an experience close to live events.
Why you should consider hybrid events
Hybrid events are getting more popular day by day. And the reasons behind their growing popularity are multiple. So let’s see why you should host a virtual event.
- Affordability – With Hybrid events, you can cut down the cost of hosting virtual hybrid events. You can cut your expenses like booking venues, traveling, and accommodation.
- Time friendly – People who don’t have time to travel to the event location or have a busy schedule can also attend the event.
- More choices for the audience – The audience gets more options to choose from. They can either attend events in-person, virtually, or both.
- Global Reach – Hybrid events are known for higher accessibility. Anyone from any part of the world can attend your event. All you have to do is provide the international timing of your event.
- Eco-friendly event – By selecting a Hybrid event, you can reduce your carbon footprint. And can save resources like paper, wood, and many more. This is extremely valuable since, in physical events, these resources are widely used.
These are a few of the benefits of hosting a Hybrid event. And that is why Hybrid Events are considered the successor of live and virtual events. As a result, many people want to host a Hybrid event. And networking is recognized as the crucial factor in Digital Events. So how can you improve networking opportunities in your event? Let’s look at that.
10 ways to create networking opportunities at a Hybrid event
Connect the two audiences
Since a Hybrid event hosts two types of audiences, namely live and virtual. The first and foremost step towards networking should be connecting these two audiences with each other. For this, you can use relevant technology. In this case, virtual event platforms or software. These platforms/software offer tons of features for attendees to interact with each other. It is essential to connect audiences for a higher level of interaction, more networking opportunities, and better engagement.
Let audiences have visuals of each other
Face-to-face communication is the strength of live and Hybrid events. So use this strength for effective networking. If the audience cannot see each other, it will feel left out. And the attendees won’t be engaged. While making new connections with those who you cannot see is very difficult. So it will act as a significant hurdle in communication and networking. Face-to-face communication plays an essential role in digital settings. Prepare a schedule that includes timed one-on-one interactions, group discussions in breakout rooms. And using virtual platforms to integrate into in-person environments. The video chat applications work best for these communication practices.
AI Matchmaking Tool
You can use various types of technologies to facilitate networking. One of the most effective technologies is Artificial Intelligence. There are lots of applications of AI in networking. Some of these applications include AI tools for networking. And AI Matchmaking is one such tool. This tool uses Artificial Intelligence to provide a list of the most relevant people to attendees. This list is based on similar interests to that of the attendee. And the attendee can connect with any of the attendee, exhibitor or guest from the list. Thus making networking much more effective.
Many virtual/hybrid event platforms offer various kinds of features and tools for engagement and networking. But one of the most distinct and impactful features is live chats. This feature lets the attendees chat in real-time. And this can be 1:1 or group chats. Not only this, you can chat via text, audio and video, giving more choice to the attendees. The attendees can chat with exhibitors, guests and experts, apart from other attendees. This feature is among the most popular and desired among the event organisers and attendees. And works effectively in digital settings. Hence increasing the chances of networking significantly.
Provide virtual breakout sessions
It is advised to include breakout sessions for both live and virtual audiences. This gives the audience time to relax. And enables them to make a smooth transition from one activity to another. Or from one online session to another. For this, you need to have the required hardware and software at the venue of your event. This simple solution works wonders and massively improves the audience experience at your event.
B2B Meeting Scheduler
A B2B Meeting scheduler is a tool dedicated to networking. So how does this tool work? The attendee can see the list of exhibitors, guests and speakers at the event. And they can fix a meeting with their favourite exhibitor or speakers, even before the event has begun. This saves a lot of time. And provide a lot of convenience to the attendees.
A social wall displays everything that is being posted on social media about the event. This includes photos, videos, text and posts. A social wall is usually used for engagement. But you can use it to provide a more inclusive environment to both the audiences at your hybrid event. Also, it will increase the interaction between the two audiences. Thus creating more networking opportunities.
Team Building competitions
Many virtual/hybrid events organize competition which requires a team for participation rather than individuals. You can also host a similar competition to promote interaction between the attendees. Also, you can make rules like every team must contain both virtual and live audiences. This will encourage the audiences to communicate with the audience from opposite mediums.
Support for 3rd party applications
To facilitate networking, you should provide more options for communication. For this, you can also provide support for third-party applications like WhatsApp and Zoom. This eases the process of contact and reaching out to different people at the event.
Another great way to attract the attention of the attendees at your event is a leaderboard. It displays the score earned by the attendees. This will make the attendees curious. And promote more extensive interaction among the audiences. This interaction can also be in the form of competition. So you should have a leaderboard in the hybrid event.
These are some of the innovative ways to promote networking at hybrid events. What are your thoughts on networking in Hybrid events? Share them with us.