Partner Corner: Planning Successful Hybrid Events

By: Christopher Urena, CAE

The initial steps involved in putting together a hybrid event.

Challenge: My association is pursuing hybrid events. What are the initial steps involved in planning a successful program?

Solution: Hybrid events are changing, and event hosts are investing more time and resources into understanding the needs of the remote attendee. Emilie Barta, CommPartners hybrid-event expert and virtual emcee consultant, recommends the following considerations during the early planning process:

  • Treat this as one event with two different audiences, as opposed to planning it as two separate events or as a physical event with a virtual component afterthought. Doing so will help form a cohesive community.
  • Understand your audiences and give them what they want. Start with figuring out the "who" and the "why." After that, you can start thinking about what to give them.
  • Work with a trusted hybrid-event consultant to oversee and facilitate the entire project. This person is responsible for designing an experience for virtual participants that makes them feel like they are in the room.
  • Include an online learning community to foster synergy between peers, stimulate engagement, and share information. Like in-person attendees, virtual participants attend conferences to learn, connect, and have fun. Tip: Open the virtual doors several weeks before the event to get everyone excited about your upcoming conference and let them know what to expect.

Christopher Urena is vice president of business development with CommPartners. Email: [email protected]

Christopher Urena, CAE

Christopher Urena, MBA, CAE, is director of professional development for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, Maryland.