While hybrid events may be the best way to reach audiences in 2022, they also introduce a new set of challenges for event organizers. Satisfying the demands of a single audience (on-site) has always had its challenges. Now, engaging and satisfying two parallel audiences at the same time can be even harder.
To be successful in this journey, there are a couple of things experience has taught us to avoid. Here, take a look at 10 mistakes you want to avoid while planning and executing your 2022 hybrid events:
1. Promoting event too late
A common mistake while planning hybrid events is underestimating the timeline. As a result, the promotion of the event gets delayed. To have a successful event, promotion of the event should start at least two weeks before the event, if not more. Be sure to take advantage of all available channels including social media platforms and newsletters. Email marketing has proven to be one of the most successful communication channels for advertising. By starting promotion early, there is a higher probability to increase the number of attendees.
2. Assuming an invitation is all you need for attendees to show up
Many event organizers believe that by promoting their events early, participants will turn up. With an overload of content and events happening at the same time, it is easy to dismiss an event reminder pop-up (Panel®, 2021). One way to continue to encourage people to attend your event is through reminders and gifting. For instance, sending a “thank you” coupon or gifts to your target audience is effective in keeping them more accountable and invested.
3. Presuming all attendees are tech-savvy
Presuming your entire audience is tech-savvy was a common mistake event organizer made in 2021. Every event will include a group of people that have a different level of technical skill. Thus, it is essential to be prepared to support attendees at all levels (Calhoun, 2020). Before the start of your event, it is important to provide each participant with a guide or a quick briefing on how to use the platform. This is to ensure your event will run smoothly and you'll avoid having participants frustrated with technology.
4. Misalignment between Event Management Platform and goal of the event
Seems very easy no? easier said than done. One of the first steps to a successful hybrid event is choosing the right platform for Hybrid events. Hosting a hybrid event can be significantly more challenging than hosting an in-person event or purely virtual due to the increased complications arising from several technology integrations and features. Thus, the platform you choose must have adequate features to power your event and adequately connect both audiences (online and offline). To find out more about how to choose the best platform for your event, you can read one of our previous blogs - How to Choose the Best Event Platform?
5. Misunderstanding the importance of a physical connection
Some event organizers have experienced the downsides of believing that attendees will have a memorable experience as long as the event content is relevant and valuable. Thus, to leverage physical memorabilia you can send your participants something to wear or use during the day of the event (Calhoun, 2020). For example, shirts, coffee cups or a lanyard, etc. These small gifts can make your attendees feel connected.
6. Extending time
Another common mistake that you want to avoid in 2022 is going over the promised end time. It is indeed a challenge to keep activities within established time frames, especially with the increased technical complexities that may arise in hybrid events. However, your attendees may have other commitments and responsibilities, and thus, it is important to deliver what you promised. Some ways to ensure this includes preparing your speakers and doing multiple practice runs. The former will help avoid rushing through Q&A, quizzes, and polls which are key tools that keep your attendees engaged.
7. Monotonous content
Hybrid events are a great tool to reach audiences from all over the world regardless of geographical locations. One way to keep your audience engaged is to encourage interaction among and with them. Polls, breakout sessions, and live Q&As are great features to use and generate unique content in the event. Your audience is encouraged to express their thoughts and ideas rather than just gazing at a blank screen.
8. Lengthy programmed sessions
Considering the "#VirtualFatigue" trends we can acknowledge that virtual attendees are likely to have a shorter attention span than in-person attendees (Lenhart, 2021). Thus, programs that include long sessions may result in screen fatigue. Hence, plan the agenda with enough breaks, shorter sessions, and spaces for networking. Consider that the former components need to fit within the time frame promised to the audience.
9. Disregarding networking opportunities for virtual participants
One of the biggest mistakes that event organizers made in 2021 is overlooking networking for virtual participants. While networking among in-person participants is natural, opportunities for virtual attendees must be facilitated (Lenhart, 2021). Virtual chat rooms and breakout sessions are required during breaks for remote attendees to interact and communicate. Event organizers can also assign hosts to assist in these interactions. Even though it may be difficult, it is also critical to encourage both in-person and virtual participants to connect and build relationships with each other.
10. Making event content available post-event
Events require attention to detail to ensure successful execution. Due to the number of details required for this execution, it may slip the Event Organizer's mind to record the content of the event. Offering on-demand content allows multiple benefits such as attendees re-watching valuable content, utilizing data to advertise future events (Lenhart, 2021), etc. It can also help increase loyalty and create an online community. Furthermore, it can also be useful to generate leads, increase website traffic and extend the life of your event.
As the year comes to an end, it is a good opportunity for us to look back and learn from the missed opportunities we had in 2021 and not carry these in 2022.
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Calhoun, M. (2020, August 19). Council post: Seven ways to host a knockout digital event and avoid yawn-inducing mistakes. Forbes. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/08/20/seven-ways-to-host-a-knockout-digital-event-and-avoid-yawn-inducing-mistakes/?sh=6e9856823dbe.
Panel®, E. (2021, January 11). Council post: Setting up a virtual event? 15 common mistakes to avoid. Forbes. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/01/11/setting-up-a-virtual-event-15-common-mistakes-to-avoid/?sh=58176bc8239e.
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