7 Tips to Prepare Hybrid Event Speakers to Shine
8 minute read | 1,244 words
PreparING speakers to shine on the hybrid event stage
As we navigate the new normal working to live with COVID, hybrid events are becoming more and more prevalent within the event industry. The combination of virtual and in-person audiences serve to be a powerful model that provides the flexibility of attending virtually while packing the energetic punch of an in-person event. The hybrid event experience requires event organizers to adapt their approach and be agile with the adoption of new technologies and event tech. But how can speakers proactively adapt their approach for this new reality?
Speakers participating in a hybrid event are faced with a new challenge: engaging the in-person audience, as well as the virtual. Both audiences require different levels and methods of interaction and all are taking place simultaneously. Whether you’re an event organizer, attendee, or speaker, hybrid events are an entirely different experience from a typical virtual or in-person-only event.
When speaking on the hybrid event stage, here are a few tips that will help you or your speakers shine:
1. Practice makes perfect
It sounds simple, but practicing the art of engaging and interacting with both unique audience segments simultaneously is critical. Build the time and budget into your planning to rehearse your event fully, with both virtual and in-person speakers. As we all adjust to this new way of experiencing events, practice is crucial! To avoid any confusion during your event and to help put you and your speakers at ease, run through the program in full and be sure to record it. This gives presenters the opportunity to review their presentations or method of delivery and adjust as needed.
2. Acknowledge, Embrace & Engage the Virtual Attendees
To craft an amazing event experience for your audiences, you must guide your speakers on how to successfully engage both virtual and in-person attendees. As an example, remembering to make consistent eye contact with the cameras will help make virtual attendees feel truly immersed within the event. Break the ice within the introduction of your event by asking attendees to interact using the chat by sharing where they’re tuning in from or by asking a fun and light get-to-know-you trivia question. Virtual attendees can ask questions of speakers using the chat and Q&A functions of your virtual platforms. It’s a balancing act that when mastered, will make all the difference for your attendees.
3. Present live, in-person
The energy that is generated from a live event is unmatched; the speakers playing off one another, the engagement from a live audience, the creative backdrops and production effects, all elevate the experience of an event. Although virtual platforms have evolved to mimic these qualities, a live presentation is still ideal. We encourage organizers to arrange to have all speakers present live and in-person, however there can be extenuating circumstances that require speakers to pre-record their presentations or present virtually. Integrating pre-recorded sponsor or promotional content within your agenda can help to provide a buffer for speakers in the event of technical difficulties.
4. Adjust Your Content to the Hybrid FormaT
We’ve determined that speakers must adjust the delivery of their presentations when presenting to a dual, hybrid audience, but it is necessary to also revise the content. Areas of the presentation that engage the audience must be adapted to both audiences. As an example, when asking the audience whether they’ve experienced a particular challenge, remember to include the method of interaction that the virtual audience will use, such as the online poll functionality. Referencing the virtual audience within dialogue also goes a long way to ensuring the virtual side feels the love. If providing examples or references, keep in mind that not all attendees may be local
5. Slow down & Pay attention to body lanGuage
Presenting and speaking virtually requires certain adaptations. We recommend that speakers remember to pause occasionally and slow their speech slightly to ensure the dialogue is transmitted clearly and completely. We call this practice the “pacing of voice reception”. The goal is to avoid sounding incomplete or choppy to those potentially tuning in with unstable internet connections. Maintain virtual eye contact and avoid watching yourself speaking within your camera. Drag your video thumbnail to the top-center of the screen or turn it off completely. Resist the urge to suppress hand gestures or natural, animated body language. Although you’re speaking to a screen, you’re far more interesting to watch when you’re speaking naturally and with enthusiasm.
6. Set the stage
When presenting or speaking on the virtual stage, you must consider the lighting, camera placement, background, and other elements within your space in a similar way that a production crew would. We recommend placing your camera at eye level using a laptop raiser or books so that the audience feels they are speaking to you directly. Adjust your background to be interesting, but not distracting. A plant, painting, or bookshelf can help to add visual interest. Invest in proper lighting. A well-lit area will help you hold your audience’s attention longer. Make sure to brighten your face; we recommend investing in the newly popular ring lights. Think about your attire and ask yourself “does my shirt or jacket match the colour of the wall behind me? Is the pattern too loud and distracting?”.
7. optimize the functionality of your hybrid event platform
Your hybrid event platform will have a range of features and functions to enhance the experience of your virtual audience. Guiding your speakers to embrace these features and work them into their content is a total game-changer. Instruct your speakers to ask questions that engage both the virtual and in-person audiences and ask that everyone respond within the chat. Ensure that both audiences feel heard by acknowledging responses made by both parties. Weave the opportunity to conduct live polls and display the results in real-time on the screens within the venue. Consider building video rooms into the design of your hybrid event. This will give attendees the chance to have 1:1 connections with your speakers following the presentation.
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HYBRID EVENTS?
Here are a few more resources, brought to you by Bayview Yards:
8 Tips for Hosting a Successful Hybrid Event
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The Beginners Guide to Hosting Hybrid Events
The hybrid event trend that combines both virtual and in-person components is here to stay. Hosting your first hybrid event? We’ll guide you through the process of organizing hybrid events that can cut costs, increase reach, and stronger engagement.
5 Tips for Hosting Post-Pandemic Events
The last few years were challenging for the world of events. Now that cities and events are re-opening, many people are excited to participate in public gatherings again. Here are five ways organizers can promote public health and safety for their staff, speakers, and guests.
What No One Tells You About Hosting a Hybrid Event of Over 600 Guests
Our event organizers here at Bayview have collaborated on our largest hybrid event to date (during a global pandemic) and have unpacked their most valuable insights to share with organizers hosting their own hybrid events.
Interested in hosting your first hybrid event?
Consider collaborating with the team at Bayview Yards. We’re here to support you in executing live in-person and virtual events that will wow your audience. Let’s discuss your event today. Request a consultation today
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About the author
Greetings, I am Lisa Hewston, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Services here at Bayview Yards.
I’ve had an extensive career within the hospitality industry having executed hundreds of social and corporate events. I’m passionate about creating exciting events that guests will remember. I am committed to ensuring the best possible experience for you and your guests. I hope you will join us soon to host your next event.
Connect with Lisa via LinkedIn.