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With Hybrid being the Future, it is important to understand how networking works at hybrid events to create a positive experience throughout the entire customer journey.
Networking has been and continues to be one of the most difficult aspects of hybrid events. Yet, it is essential to keep attendees engaged during every event. According to the State of Virtual Events 2021 Report, the primary reason (45.3%) that respondents host online experiences is to create engagement opportunities (AnyBook, 2021). Networking is one of the best ways to keep the audience engaged as it fosters interactions between attendees and creates value.
A hybrid event combines the elements of virtual and in-person events. Through streams, both audiences can interact and communicate with the content via Q&A, polls, and live discussions. When the stream finishes, however, the connection between the two audiences is lost. While the in-person attendees can rely on breaks and breakout sessions to network, the virtual attendees can not.
By facilitating effective networking, both audiences can break through boundaries and interact regardless of their location.
So now that you've understood the importance of networking, below are some tips to help guide you on how to guarantee a good networking experience in hybrid events.
1- Choosing the Right Event Platform
Selecting the right event platform is critical to ensure good networking in hybrid events (Palmer, 2021), allowing virtual and on-site attendees to network between themselves. By utilizing networking tools with comprehensive functionalities such as 1-1 meetings, live discussions, Q&A sessions, and a virtual lobby, an experience close to an in-person event may be delivered. At Deal Room, we offer our attendees an extraordinary networking experience by allowing them to build their agenda with selected sessions and private 1-1 meetings.
2- Creating a Central Meeting Location
To ensure connections are made between both audiences, onsite and offline, an integrated platform where all attendees have access is crucial. In-person participants can log into the platform to have face-to-face calls with the virtual participants: onsite-online networking!
3- Facilitating Chances for Networking
It may be more challenging for virtual attendees to network with other participants and hence it is important to design an event with opportunities for both audiences to interact. To do so:
Virtual Breakout Sessions - Created for group discussions
Post a Recap of the Event - Allows for further engagement and discussion with the speakers and participants
Structured Virtual Networking - For virtual participants to interact and connect
4- Scheduling Transition Timings
For effective and successful networking to occur in your hybrid event, breaks must be incorporated into the program. While engaging with other participants during an event can be easy for physical participants as they make time and room for it, virtual participants may require help from the event organizer such as: offering 5-10 minute breaks for participants to network and connect.
5- Keeping Networking Open After End of Event
The event may come to an end, but the possibility of connecting doesn’t have to.
With networking being kept available after the end of the event, attendees can network in their own time and place (Palmer, 2021). At Deal Room, we encourage attendees to network on the platform by keeping features open such as attendee filtering to schedule meetings even after the event.
6- Incorporating Games, Activities & Performances
Another way to encourage connection and interaction between both participants is to incorporate games, activities, and performances into the event. Games, activities, and performances ignite conversations, creating a distinctive experience (Panel®, 2020). Furthermore, a healthy rivalry is a perfect way to bring the attendees together and promote significant networking opportunities.
So, when it comes to planning an event that includes networking, challenges may arise; especially in hybrid events as these present new complexities. Event organizers are accountable for guaranteeing that both in-person and virtual participants have a great networking experience. Thus, choosing who will support you in delivering the experience is crucial.
At Deal Room, you can create custom-fit and engaging events. Our powerful attendee engagement tool connects both virtual and in-person attendees. It stimulates all our guests to connect before, during, and after the event.
We are always here to help. Contact us today and let us help you plan and execute your next event!
AnyBook. (2021). (rep.). State of Virtual Events 2021. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.mediapost.com/uploads/StateOfVirtualEvents2021.pdf.
Palmer, A. (2021, May 21). How to host an effective hybrid event. Successful Meetings. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www.successfulmeetings.com/Strategy/Meetings-Events/How-to-Enhance-the-Hybrid-Event-Experience.
Panel®, E. (2020, December 10). Council post: 15 ways to boost participation and engagement in remote events. Forbes. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2020/12/14/15-ways-to-boost-participation-and-engagement-in-remote-events/?sh=6ecef4c87eac.
July 21, 2022
After seven years of translation experience in the management-related field and a passion for digital marketing, I was given the opportunity to work with the Cloud Markethink Agency and CloudTalk Global, the largest cloud computing event in Eurasia, as a team member to manage business events.
Additionally, working with Deal Room Events has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on and expand my experience as a content event marketing professional.
Our friendly and experienced team is ready to help.