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| Written by Veronica Mickley

The Secret to Hybrid Event Success: Attendee Interaction

Hybrid events are here to stay, and by now, we all know the importance of providing an engaging experience for both remote and in-person attendees. Remote attendees want more than to silently stare at a screen all day, and in-person attendees want the benefits of face-to-face interaction. One way to take your hybrid events to the next level is to create opportunities for interaction between remote and in-person attendees.

BENEFITS OF ATTENDEE INTERACTION

Allowing your attendees to interact with each other regardless of their location increases the value of your event and helps you stand out from the crowd. The networking opportunities effectively double, and since virtual and hybrid events already lead to bigger audience sizes, that’s saying something. It’s also a surefire way to get everyone talking not only at the event but also about it. People love new and exciting event elements, and the value of word of mouth can’t be underestimated, especially for annual events.

Practicality aside, it’s just plain fun to mix things up! Whether for a full session or a quick break to shake up the agenda, your attendees at home and in-person will appreciate the opportunity.

HOW TO PULL IT OFF

Promoting engagement between attendee types is easier than you think—simply incorporate it into your existing event elements, including…

Gamification

There are many ways to encourage interaction through gamification. For team games, including a mix of remote and in-person attendees on each team. Activity challenges facilitated through the event’s mobile app are one example, and even for games not on the app, it allows for easy communication between teammates. Trivia contests are another example easily accomplished with both attendee types, and for activities where the contestants must be in-person, remote attendees can still provide support from home. Check out this game of Tech Tac Toe from the 2021 M&IW Summit to see interactive gamification in action.

Gamification Hybrid Events

Networking

While it may be easier to arrange for separate networking opportunities between remote and in-person attendees, allowing for networking between the two creates immense value for your attendees and your event. Enable video chats in the event app or set up tech stations with tablets or computers to give in-person attendees a dedicated space to chat with their remote colleagues.

Discussions and Breakouts

Remote attendees often get shut out of hybrid breakouts and discussions, which is why it’s important to have a moderator in place to call on the next speaker, alternating between remote and in-person attendees. Remote attendees can use the “raise hand” feature on the virtual platform, and in-person attendees can, well, literally raise their hand!

Awards Ceremony

Awards ceremonies may not allow for engagement between audience members, but there’s plenty of opportunity between winners, presenters, and emcees, who can be any combination of remote or in-person thanks to technology. And even if direct interaction is limited, remote audience members can still be involved when you show them applauding onscreen when winners are announced. These ideas and more were used for the Moxie Awards at the 2021 M&IW Forum. For more inspiration, check out How to Design an Amazing Awards Ceremony.

PLANNING HYBRID EVENTS IN 2022

We can’t predict the future, but this past year certainly proved that hybrid events have staying power and will continue to evolve in 2022 and beyond. We have also raised the bar on attendee expectations whether they are participating in person or remotely. Event experience managers will be tasked with continuing to find creative, innovative, and inexpensive ways to keep attendees engaged.  

Additional Resources

What’s Next?

Learn more about our hybrid experiences and virtual event planning and management services. Our talented team of M&IW experts in partnership with our strategic industry and technology partners continues to elevate attendee experiences through innovative solutions whether they are in-person, virtual, or hybrid formats. Interested in working with M&IW? CONTACT US.

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