Table of Contents
“Business meetings and events organizations will only be viable for another 7.5 months.”
We have got this shocking claim from a study released by The Meetings Industry Association (mia) in January 2021.
Thanks to the rapid advancements in technology. However, with COVID-19, the situation is not all doom and gloom.
Because hybrid events have become the buzzword among event organizers.
Another good news is that…
53% of event professionals consider themselves “comfortable or savvy” with virtual event technology.
So, it leverages event planners to organize events in a hybrid ecosystem to survive in this industry, especially in the post-COVID era.
With that in mind, if you are aspiring to be in this business for the long term, you must have the following skillset in your toolbox to do well.
Familiarity with Tech Stuff
When planning to step into the world of hybrid events, you need to upscale your skillset to give your event a great chance at success.
For this, familiarity with technical stuff is your biggest weapon to succeed.
Why did I make this claim?
Because you need to dive deep into the technical skills like:
- Understanding how the live stream works
- Learning which digital platform runs the broadcast smoothly
- Creating ads to target your potential prospects
- Formatting presentations, videos, and important documents in a way that it is viewable to your audience
Does it make sense now? I hope it does.
In short, knowing the digital platform inside out is of prime significance.
Besides, to handle any technical difficulties, understanding basic troubleshooting is also recommended.
“It’s important to start training on the latest technology available to us. We have been using AI-powered matchmaking platforms to connect with potential customers and have meetings throughout the year, which eventually results in a face-to-face business opportunity at a live exhibition.” – Nick Dugdale-Moore, European Regional Manager, UFI.
But one question remains unaddressed:
How to Find the Right Digital Platform for Your Hybrid Event?
The quickest way to know which digital platform is the best fit for your unique needs is by answering this:
“How do you want to engage with your attendees?”
- Live chat during a broadcast?
- Interactive Q&A sessions?
- Breakout rooms?
- Or all of the above? (It is recommended, though).
If the platform you are considering caters to your desired means of communication, then congratulations! You have got the right fit.
Acting as If You Own a Production House
“We are TV producers. We are suddenly creating television. The new rules need to be applied now to events.” – Mark Jeffries
You are given a chance to lead the top-notch team of the #1 trending live TV show.
Are you not enthralled by the idea of knowing what happens backstage or to witness the energy of artists performing live?
Or how they manage to pique the interest of remote attendees and the live audience throughout the show?
Imagine yourself there. As if you are leading the team with remarkably high energy and enjoying the whole experience.
Back to the hybrid events.
While organizing a hybrid event, you are the pivot point of everything.
It means that you will have to wear different hats. From tech-savvy to director of operations, you are the Velcro who’s holding things together.
You have to ensure that everything runs without a glitch.
This is what I meant by acting like a producer.
Pro Tip: Have value-driven content available at your virtual participants’ disposal.
You can do this by providing them with downloadable content.
If you are providing your in-person audience with brochures, demos, and information booths. Then there is absolutely no justified reason to deprive your online attendees of these valuable resources.
By doing so, you are showing concern for your online as well as in-person participants. For the former, you are giving them a near-identical involvement as that in real-time.
Crisis Management Skills
If COVID-19 was so unpredictable to have the entire world quarantined in their homes. Then you must stay abreast to deal with any unforeseen crisis emerging at the eleventh hour.
To combat it, we highly recommend developing a plan of action for such last-minute situations.
Address things beforehand with your team and participants in case some uncertain happening arises.
Recall how you planned an in-person event back in the pre-COVID-19 days.
- You arranged meetups with stakeholders for sponsorship.
- You invited keynote speakers and industry experts. Only to skyrocket the number of registrations on your event with merely their presence.
- You made sure participants receive all the information and resources to make the most out of your event.
Had you not been a social butterfly, it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve all that.
Likewise, organizing a hybrid event is no different.
You need your social skills here, too.
But you may find some sponsors reluctant and unsure about generating a decent revenue out of this type of event.
It now rests on your shoulders to stay ahead of the curve. And convince them of the upsides of hybrid events.
It is best to NOT tell. Rather, SHOW them the proven methods to gain broader reach by tapping into two different worlds – live and online.
If you truly understand the value of having stakeholders and industry experts on board, you will never pass this opportunity.
This takes me to the next point of possessing marketing skills. Keep reading.
In today’s era, marketing is a must-have skill for all businesses and individuals. You cannot ensure a blockbuster event if you have failed at marketing it.
As daunting as it may seem, if you know how to properly put digital media to your use to target the right audience. Then it is your cup of tea.
One of the best ways to pull it off is by using analytical tools.
Using these tools, you can study your prospects’ chain of interests.
You can determine their demographics: age, gender, location, interests, etc. Be very well acquainted with these tools to put them to your advantage.
Bear in mind that you already have many businesses giving you tough competition.
So, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using catchy graphics and curiosity-based headlines to hook people in the first glimpse.
Time Management Skills
“OK. I second you on the importance of all the skills you have mentioned. But what is the #1 skill to thrive in this industry?” I have had people come up to me and ask this question A LOT.
I kid you not, when you are armed with all of these skills, then you stand out as a successful event organizer. They all are of equal importance.
However, if only I could give you the ONE skill, which has a bit edge over others…
Ah! Justice won’t be served if I do not mention the significance of time management.
You may assume that a hybrid event shares the same timeline as that of a typical 4-hour physical session in a shared space. But the truth is…
When it comes to attending an online event, people have a shorter attention span.
Well, it has many reasons for that.
- Up first is the number of distractions. On average, people attend hybrid events at their homes. You tell me, how many distractions do you have at home? I won’t be surprised by the number.
- Secondly, sitting in a spot for a long duration and constantly starring at the mobile or desktop screen makes a human’s mind crave some rest.
But I am not suggesting that you shrink the timeline from 4 hours to 1 hour.
Rather, respect their attention span. Have the event’s timeline laid out in a spreadsheet, and distribute it among the team members.
Details to add in the spreadsheet:
- When is the event commencing?
- At what time is the first speaker hitting the stage?
- When is the second or third keynote speaker coming to deliver the presentation?
- When is a break coming up?
- How long is it going to be?
So on, and so forth.
The best way to go around this is by giving a 2-3 minutes margin to your speakers, followed by an interactive Q&A session. If they finish earlier than their time, they can take a couple more questions from the attendees.
Having it all stated, if you are armed with time management skills and the ones mentioned above. There is no way you cannot be a goal standard for newcomers in the hybrid events industry.
Ta-da! These are the top skills that can help you stay a step ahead of the curve.
Remember how everyone says the world is changing faster than ever!
Honestly, it’s true.
A lot of reasons that it has to do with technology.
Putting it in perspective…
Keeping an eye on the ever-changing tech trends in the industry will also help you stand out from the competition.
I’d end this guide with a question. What is the most valuable lesson you learnt from this guide? Tell us in the comments below.