Hybrid events let meeting planners extend the content and conversations to “the audience unable to attend.” But in today’s interactive world, these audience members want to do much more than watch what is happening, they want to be part of it.
Therefore, putting a camera in the back of the room, connecting it to encoding software or hardware, and pressing the “stream now” button is no longer acceptable. Neither is throwing a company member in front of a camera and asking them to talk to speakers so that the virtual audience can have a show during session breaks. You now have to provide all the components needed to immerse the virtual audience in the event and make sure that they feel like they are in the room even when they are not.
Here are 12 things the virtual audience needs from you:
- A combination of shared and custom content, so they not only share in the experience, they have an experience all their own.
- Crisp audio, visually stimulating video and a user-intuitive virtual venue so they don’t get frustrated and walk away.
- Speakers who present content, ideas and discussions to them, not around them, so they can make “eye-contact” with the educator and be engaged in the conversation.
- An advocate who acts as their eyes, ears and voice in the room.
- Their questions answered and their comments heard so they feel like an appreciated audience member and not an unwelcome guest.
- A 360-degree view of the action, so they know what they’re missing but do not feel like they’re missing out.
- To know what is happening now and what is coming up next so they can plan their schedules accordingly.
- To be provided with tools that they trust so they feel comfortable using them and use them often.
- To constantly be told how they can participate through visual and audio reminders so they’re not at a loss for “words.”
- To be able to network with their peers no matter where they’re located, so they don’t miss out on valuable “hallway handshakes.”
- An immediate and well-organized archive so they can go back to see what they missed and continue any conversations they started.
- This might be the most popular. Do you know the other thing your virtual audience needs? Bathroom breaks! But be sure they know exactly when to return and what they’ll miss if they don’t.