Does Your Hybrid Event Have The It Factor?

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Your heart races as your fingers type at lightning speed. You’re running behind schedule and want to make sure that you catch the opening general session online.

Due to budget and schedule conflicts, you couldn’t attend that annual meeting. You didn’t want to miss some of the content so you registered as a virtual attendee.

You login successfully. The live stream starts.

Your give your full attention to the stream. You wait for it. And wait for it.

Two minutes later, you are still waiting for it.

Five minutes later, you yawn. Your mind is elsewhere. You start looking for coffee.

15-minutes later you decide to look at the live stream again. You are still waiting for it.

30-minutes later and you are still waiting for it. You wonder if it will ever happen.

What is it?

It is what you as a virtual, remote attendee want from the conference live stream. It is what you expect. It is what you need to engage, more than just the video and audio of the event.

Five Remote Attendee Needs

1. Recognition and acknowledgement

As a remote attendee, you want someone at the face to face event to acknowledge that you are there. You want to feel like part of the experience. You want to be seen. You want to belong.

2. Connections to both face-to-face and remote attendees

You want to connect with a virtual moderator or host. You want to connect with others who are watching online. You want to text with both the face-to-face and the remote audience. You want the ability to connect.

3. A dedicated Twitter hashtag, Twitter stream and at least one Twitter moderator.

You want to communicate with others and share what you are learning in Twitter. Without a hashtag that filters all the noise, you as the remote attendee feel isolated and alone. You also want someone onsite that will take your questions and comments to the speaker and organizer.

4. A hybrid concierge as an EventCamp attendee called it.

You want someone that is dedicated to be your virtual host. You want someone that is considered a touch point and face of the virtual experience. And you want that virtual host to give you insider information, like a back stage reporter on Oscar night. You want the hybrid concierge to carry your voice, questions and comments back to the face-to-face audience.

5. A schedule of live streaming sessions

As a remote attendee, you want to know the agenda. You want to know a clear start and end time. You want to pick and choose from live streamed sessions. Some you might watch live. Others you might watch on-demand.

This remote attendee wish list was crowd sourced by Virtual Host/Moderator Glenn Thayer. Thanks to Midori Connolly, Christina Coster, Joan Eisenstodt, Tahira Endean, Vanessa LaClair, Mike McAllen, Lara McCulloch, Mike McCurry, Deb Roth, Greg Ruby, Adrian Segar, Christina Stallings and Heidi Thorne for contributing to Glenn’s list.

As a remote/virtual attendee what do you want in your live streaming experience? What are some things that organizations do when they live stream that turns you off and frustrates you?

Comments

  1. says

    Good list Jeff, First a comment then an observation (this is like talk radio!)

    We have to be careful with the concept of virtual MCs or whatever you want to call them. There are right ways to do this and wrong ways. If your MC is guiding me through the event as you said, this works. But if they are simply an additional body and camera taking at me, you have gained nothing. I have gained yet another coffee break.

    I have been a participant in several virtual/hybrid events over the past several months. I’ve tried to figure out what makes some work better than others and why some knock it out of the park. Yes, all the above factors play in making a difference. But I think the one that nails it out of the park is the participation level of the virtual audience.

    One event, as you put it, fingers were flying. There was not only comments on the event but banter flying back and forth between the live audience and the virtual. They did all the other components right but they also had that. The audience was not just engaged, they were invested.

    Where another event was doing well engaging, the audience just didn’t have their hearts in it. You quickly found that there was essentially no one to talk to. No one to share your ideas with. At that point, no matter how much you try to engage, you’re still going to be just a camera pointed at someone talking with a room full of people having fun. A lot more fun than you are having.

  2. says

    Great comments Traci. Like Traci, I have attended a number of events in the past few months, some live and some virtual. It is important to start planning at the beginning how the virtual audience will be engaged, and then make sure there is follow through. I loved Event Camp Twin Cities virtual experience so much, I went to Chicago – a total blast live. Great engagement for virtual attendees at ECTC.

    I also attended PCMA as a virtual attendee – so engaged that Midori thought I was in Las Vegas – so obviously a ton of virtual engagement that worked.

    Great tips above – if those are adhered to you are well on your way to a great experience for those who can’t make it. I look forward to GMIC virtual (although I really would like to be there live….) have fun everyone!

    • Jeff Hurt says

      @Traci
      Great points about engagement with hybrid and virtual events. I really like what you said about the difference between an audience being engaged and invested. That’s good stuff.

      Thank you sooooo much for reading and commenting. It is truly appreciated.

      @Tahira
      Thanks for the great take away tip: Plan how the remote audience will be engaged from the beginning. It’s so important to recognize that there are two different audiences: those at the face-to-face event and those that are remote.

      Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing. It was great to meet you at EventCamp Chicago and your enthusiasm is contagious!

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