Hybrid events draw both a live audience and an online audience. Those online viewers are far away, alone behind their screen, with all sorts of distractions within hand's reach. So you definitely need to work some magic to keep the attention of these virtual participants.
If you take these 7 essential elements into account, you will succeed without a doubt.
1. Well begun, half done
A thorough preparation is crucial to hybrid events. There may always be some technical errors. That's why it is important to test everything beforehand: slides, videos, live streaming, connections. Clear deadlines for the delivering of material and respect for these deadlines are therefore a must. Last minute changes are always a risk. And nothing is as detrimental to the concentration of an online viewer than a technical malfunction.
2. Prepare your speaker
It is also important for your speaker to be properly briefed. Inform him about the technical aspects of live streaming. What does he have to keep in mind? What can he expect? How does he react to technical malfunctions? How do you communicate with him? Where are the cameras? How does he deal with those? You discuss all these factors thoroughly with him. And also give your speaker time to get used to it all. If necessary, arrange for some rehearsals.
3. Moderating is the key
A good moderator makes sure that there is interaction between the speaker, the live audience and the online participants. In the best scenario, you have two: an online facilitator and a live host. Each has his own role and responsibility and his specific briefing. And they also ought to cooperate well so that the 'online host' can bring questions and reactions of the virtual audience into the 'live' session.
4. Involve the online audience
Ask the speaker and moderator to address the online audience directly to welcome them. Have them look into the camera. The host also tells how many online viewers there are, and from what countries or regions they're watching.
5. Fill up the breaks
Nothing is as dull as looking at an empty conference room. Therefore, you have to provide extra content for the online viewers during coffee- and lunch breaks. Reports, short interviews, discussions between people or a behind-the-screens of the event, ...
6. Respect the timing
Online viewers sometimes only log in for a specific item or a speaker in particular. So make sure the timing is respected 100%.
7. Interaction is different
When you pose questions to your audience, you have to bear in mind that the response will take some time, if you compare it to the direct answers of the live audience. Most of the time online viewers are alone in front of their screen. Discussions like those you can have with a live audience, are therefore impossible. However, you can ask the viewers to respond using social media. A poll, an election or posing questions is of course possible, if you possess the right tools, like a specific web page or an event app.