5 Things People Love to Hate About Virtual and Hybrid Events
By: Lindsay Martin-Bilbrey, CMP
4 min read7/18/22 7:30 AM
No longer do you have to reminisce about the days of trade shows, job fairs, and other in-person events. We're back and seemingly better than ever, right? You're surrounded by the chitter-chatter of guests as they line up outside the exhibition venue. The sound of chairs squeaking in the expo hall. The gleaming smiles in the front row after a guest speaker knocks it out of the park.
And yet...there are still things it seems we didn't learn from our pandemic pause.
Hosting a hybrid event is incredible for engagement, sales, training, and relationship-building. And like all new and quickly evolving things, hybrid events are just different. And you should learn to love them. But there are some pet peeves about these events that people love to hate.
1. When Technology Sucks
Technology makes or breaks the success of a virtual event. And there's a lot that can go wrong:
- Adding a custom background without knowing it.
- When the in-person event is obviously more important than the virtual component. Please why can't we have a balance?
- Typing a message on the wrong chat thread.
- Talking when the mute button's on. Or worse, not being able to interact at all because you're at home.
- Accidentally screen-sharing your family vacation pics.
- Getting kicked out of your stream—always bad.
- Bad sound. No sound. Crappy picture.
- Can't get logged in.
Along with that, you need to battle with all the complicated tech stuff—enabling HD video, making sure your internet connection doesn't flake, and the always-terrifying, "Network error, please try again" message. Sometimes it feels like you need a Master's in Computer Science to host a virtual event.
Choosing an event partner and platform makes this easier. Your anxiety about the production or challenges getting in and using the platform should not even be part of the picture at this point in the game.
2. Kids, email, Dogs, Their Boss, and Other Distractions
We continue to have displaced attention spans whether we're joining at home or in person. Budgets across industries are tightening and though it seems like everyone is hiring, we're still expected to do more than less. Your boss knows you're onsite at this event and wants you to answer all those emails already. Or you chose to stay at the office and work, and now are faced with a deadline or attending that online session
Our participants need to grapple with many distractions when you host a hybrid event—iPhones ringing, kids in the next room, and dogs video-bombing the live stream. You've probably seen all the best Zoom fails on YouTube and Twitter by now. How can anyone forget the woman that accidentally turned herself into a potato? As an event manager, you've likely got some strange tales to tell of your own.
How are you helping them overcome these attention distractors?
3. When Your Eyes Hurt
We're hearing from participants across the board saying that it seems like events are so excited to be back in person, they've forgotten to account for those still holding it down and attending from afar.
Remember, staring at a screen disrupts blood flow in the shoulders, encourages forward bending of the head, and tires the eyes. You don't experience that at an in-person event. How are you creating an interactive, participatory hybrid event that invites and excites ALL of your participants?
4. No Catering
This one speaks for itself. Virtual events = no catering. This makes the temptation of taking a quick trip to the refrigerator while you wait for your guests to log in way more appealing.
Be experiential and don't forget all those great companies that popped up during the height of the pandemic. They're still out there delivering experiences at home and at offices so your in-person and virtual attendees are getting an equitable experience.
Click here for a list of options we love.
5. A Lack of Networking Opportunities
Sure, it's tricky to network from behind a screen. But people are still doing it, and there's no reason you can't either. No, you can't shake hands or give out promotional pens. Regardless, you can still connect with people on the other side of the screen.
Are you folding in networking experiences for those folks who aren't milling about the open bar? If not, try twine or a community platform like Mobilize.io to encourage everyone to connect before, during, and after an event.
5 Things People (Secretly) Love About HYBRID Events
But it's not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of things people love about hybrid events too:
- There's always free parking.
- You don't have to get dressed up—at least from the waist down.
- Guests can skip the lines because there aren’t any.
- Hybrid events are cheaper, which means folks who couldn't financially attend before can still come, see, and interact with your content.
- Your event will be much better for the environment.
Oh, and 30 percent of people are more likely to speak to sales in a virtual environment than at an in-person event. And this is brilliant news if you want to convert virtual event attendees into bona fide customers or software users.
Bringing it all Together
Virtual events aren't going anywhere for a while, so make yours unique. Hosting a virtual—or hybrid—event is a satisfying experience when you use an event production company. Nifty Method takes care of virtual event planning, marketing, registration, technology, and more.
Want to take your next hybrid event to the next level? Let's schedule a time to chat.