2 min read
Meghan R. Welborn

The Power of Interactivity: 10 Creative Ways To Engage Your Hybrid Audience

The Power of Interactivity: 10 Creative Ways To Engage Your Hybrid Audience

Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, hybrid events, with their ability to strike a balance between accessibility and interpersonal connection, are becoming the norm. But with two distinct audiences to engage, event planners are wondering: how can I bridge the gap between virtual and in-person attendees?

The answer revolves around a key event component that applies to both audiences: interactivity. Interactive events allow in-person and remote participants to connect with each other and take an active role in your programming. In this blog, we’ll share 10 of our favorite ways to make your hybrid event more interactive—whether your attendees are tuning in from home or traveling to a venue.

1. Choose an experienced moderator or MC
Are you worried about awkward silences during your event? Concerned about the transitions between scheduled workshops? Ensure that your event is being guided by a skilled moderator or MC who knows how to keep the conversation flowing between in-person and virtual attendees.

2. Plan creative icebreakers
Start your sessions with creative icebreakers that open up the dialogue between your virtual and in-person participants. Note: make sure your virtual attendees can be seen and heard in the physical event space, so they aren’t forgotten. Surveys and other polling tools are fun and can be utilized by both audiences.

3. Make your event memorable with visual effects
Visual effects make the hybrid experience more interactive and playful. Consider investing in a green screen studio to transport speakers to far-flung locales, or encourage attendees to capture memorable moments with a virtual photobooth.

4. Make learning fun with gamification
Gamification isn’t just a fun engagement tool—it can also boost retention at educational events. Try breaking participants into teams and using polling, trivia, interactive maps, or a virtual scoreboard to get groups fired up.

5. Provide an accessible agenda
An agenda provides a comprehensive list of what is happening during your event, and when. Make sure your agenda is accessible for all participants, so they don’t miss a session!

6. Create remote-specific content
Remote attendees can sometimes feel like an afterthought—but not if you create fun, remote-specific content for them like a virtual-only chat room. It’s also helpful to have one team member who is solely dedicated to the virtual attendees—ensuring that their questions are answered and that technology is running smoothly.

7. Leverage social media during your event
Encourage your participants to live-tweet during your event or share their experiences on Instagram with a predetermined event hashtag. This is a great marketing tool and can also help attendees connect online.

8. Send real swag
Swag shouldn’t just be for your in-person attendees. Mailing your remote audience physical items (like hats, shirts, or water bottles) that commemorate the event will help them feel connected.

9. Make space for networking
Offer attendees the opportunity to network during your event, no matter how they tune in. Host a virtual mixer, breakout rooms, or simply provide contact information with brief bios for your guests so people can get in touch.

10. Invest in upscale production
Particularly for video and audio content, it’s worth investing in upscale production that will really wow your audiences. If 2021 taught us anything, it’s that live video has become an indispensable marketing tool. After we emerged from our 2020 lockdowns live streaming proved its staying power, becoming more popular and profitable than ever. Streaming increased by 21% globally between Q3 2020 and Q3 2021! Hint: A trusted production partner can help you make your content shine without breaking the bank.   

Remember: planning the perfect hybrid event isn’t about stitching together a hodgepodge of interactive apps and breakout rooms. It’s about knowing your audience and the engagement strategies that will work best for them. Ultimately, the best way to engage any audience—hybrid or otherwise—is to invest in thoughtful, compelling content with a high production value. Start by mapping out thought-provoking content that your audience will remember—and then add in a few of these creative tips to amp up the fun.

To learn more about how Stagedge can help you boost audience engagement at your next hybrid event, contact us and let's start talking!


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