Creative Ideas for Networking at Hybrid Events

John Show
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Networking at Hybrid Events

Hybrid events are the perfect blend of virtual and offline. Individuals who like to attend in person can do so. While others who cannot come in person can engage digitally via virtual event booths and video conferencing. Perhaps the most essential benefit of using a hybrid strategy is the degree of flexibility. 

Networking and engagement seems to be a common issue for all events, online, offline or hybrid. The single, most vital element of any event is networking. The entire point of attending an event is to have conversations with people hailing from different backgrounds and forming connections. Attendees must have easy access to networking no matter what the event is. Companies that provide event platform services have devised new techniques to facilitate networking and connection development at virtual and hybrid events. There are still a number of tested strategies for getting physical attendees to hang out and talk to one other more during hybrid events.

352 event planners were questioned about the major hurdles in executing a hybrid event in a recent study performed by Swapcard, an AI-powered event and matching platform for global virtual and hybrid events. Out of the people surveyed, the majority of respondents said that engaging an audience was one of the biggest challenges, while networking followed second.

Hybrid events are nothing to be anxious about. They're also a lot less difficult to put together than you would believe. They don't require a lot of high-end technology, contrary to popular belief. You can create a high-quality hybrid event. Use readily available technologies without requiring years of training or skill. 

Here, we help you master the skills required to make networking at your hybrid event the talk of the town!

  1. Develop a Strategy

First and foremost, in order to make the most of the hybrid event experience and to provide participants with the networking possibilities that are most appealing to them, event organisers must be aware of what guests truly desire. Try to look at things from the audience's perspective and answer the following questions:

  • How interested will participants be to connect with virtual attendees if some have chosen to participate in-person? 

  • Will virtual attendees be content with merely interacting with other virtual attendees?

  • Will in-person attendees be happy by merely connecting with other in-person attendees?

A pre-event survey might assist you figure out how to make networking at your hybrid event go as smoothly as possible.

Find out if the majority of both in-person and virtual attendees are interested in connecting across groups. Plan to provide a mechanism for in-person and virtual attendees to communicate and cooperate. You should not feel compelled to use the approach you choose. 

  1. Use Technology to your Advantage

The necessity for specific virtual platforms does not go away just because people are starting to congregate in person. Instead, offer your live guests access to your platform too. Set up an area on-site where in-person guests may log into your virtual event platform and engage in face-to-face video conversations with virtual participants. Attendees in-person can use their phones or computers to connect to the virtual platform. 

Virtual matching technologies may also be used by event organisers to link in-person and virtual participants. Attendees can be paired based on their profiles and converse face-to-face or online using these options. 

  1. Engage in Virtual Group Chats with In-Person Attendees

We've all grown familiar with group conversations during virtual events. Why not bring the experience to hybrid? Try hosting a continuous chat or discussion group that in-person participants can join. Just keep in mind it's smartphone-friendly so that guests aren't confined to their laptops.

Virtual event attendees frequently leave comments or ask questions in the virtual event environment. Try allowing in-person attendees at your hybrid event to do the same thing. They'll like it even more if you let them use their cellphones to enter the discussion group for convenience and mobility. Additionally, ensure that both online and offline attendees have access to the same chatroom. 

You could also use a projection screen. Display to in-person attendees what is being said in the online discussion group by virtual guests. Encourage your audience to participate by asking questions and sharing their thoughts. This is the finest way to start a productive conversation.

  1. Breakout Rooms with Virtual Attendees

Take advantage of technology to allow both in-person and virtual participants to engage if your hybrid event includes breakout rooms or activities. Check to see if your chosen site can meet your equipment and technological requirements. 

  1. Don't Forget the Freebies

Another approach to make virtual participants feel like they're a part of the event? Send virtual guests the same swag as in-person attendees. Ensure that they feel as much a part of your hybrid event as in-person visitors. Send them the same freebies such as lanyards, IDs, welcome packets or bags, and so on. Send any supplies needed to engage in activities as well.

  1. Introduce Gamification

Incorporating games into the hybrid event is another approach to increase engagement between in-person and virtual event participants. Healthy competition is an excellent way to bring people together. When teams are formed, their common aim of winning the game will provide great networking possibilities. Friendly competition is a great way to bring a group together, and there are many possibilities that work both in person and online.

Games may also be a fun way to bring things back to an event's aim with a little imagination. Start with a trivia where both the offline and online audience can participate. 

Ask questions like, “Which company has a fruit as their logo?” And let the answers flood in. 

  1. Leverage Social Media

Not only are you enhancing your event marketing by promoting it on social media using event-specific hashtags. But, attendees and anybody searching these hashtags will learn who is attending or has attended the event. Attendees can identify others who are talking about the event and encourage engagement and conversation. 

Attendees may interact even more easily by using social networking services like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This gives people even another reason to connect.

  1. Element of Surprise

Recognize, like with any excellent event, the value of surprises and delights. Remember to provide virtual audiences the same engaging alternatives as in-person audiences, so they may interact one-on-one, seek out friends, participate in a face-to-face group discussion, or even 'go over to the bar' and start a conversation. 

There is much to be said about planning a well-structured event. Provide unexpected moments for guests to enhance excitement. Attendees may rapidly lose interest if an event is overly regimented. Allow time in the schedule for participants to meet with friends or start a spontaneous face-to-face conversation. 

Preparing an event in any format may be difficult, but planning a hybrid event has its own set of difficulties. Event planners are responsible for ensuring that both in-person and virtual participants have a good time. Managers may give all hybrid event participants the opportunity to create significant connections with proper preparation, ingenuity, and the use of existing technologies.

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