There’s a lot that goes into planning a successful hybrid team building event. Is a remote or in person event host required? Will you be creating your teams with online and in person participants, or running the same activity for them at the same time but separately? What are the tools you need to make this event run smoothly and effectively? These are the questions that will help you plan a productive and seamless hybrid event for your company.
By now hybrid events are not a new idea. The pandemic has pushed the need for hybrid events to the forefront of conferencing, offering both an in-person and virtual event experience. While event restrictions may be lifting in many areas (phew, we made it!), there will always be situations where hybrid events, or events that combine both virtual and in person attendees, will be necessary. Hybrid events are here to stay, so it’s time to look like a pro at the balancing act that is a hybrid event.
Budget & Meeting the Objectives
When planning a blended event, the first thing to consider is your budget. As with entirely in-person events, your budget will determine how big or small your event will be and the type of experience you will be giving to your guests. Hybrid events with a larger budget might consider including a virtual event manager as well as an in person event manager. A smaller budget might just use the one virtual event manager facilitating the event online. A larger budget might choose to increase the virtual attendee’s experience with a full on site production team & pre-organized individualized event kits sent to the virtual location, whereas a smaller budget might choose entirely electronic event materials.
Hybrid events are a great way to reconnect and network within your team and with the greater company. When it comes to re-socializing our staff and including team builder activities, there are three main ways we can organize our virtual and in-person groups to facilitate and promote team building. We have separated these into low, middle & high budget options:
- Low Budget - Virtual together, in person together. In this lower budget scenario, an activity or game is played and those who are playing virtually at an offsite location, play as part of a group (or multiple groups) and those who are playing in person play as a group (or multiple groups). This is a lower budget option as a facilitator is online only, and kits are sent by mail or virtually to the secondary virtual location. The game is played at the same time, in two different settings.
- Medium Budget - Virtual & In person mixed teams (part online- part in person). In this scenario, the same game is played at the same time, however the teams are mixed, integrating some virtual attendees into the same teams as the in-person attendees. This scenario may include a main location event manager as well as a virtual event manager.
- High Budget - Multiple locations integrated together. In this higher budget scenario there is are multiple event locations as well as a virtual space - possibly even international and running in different time zones. In the high budget option, managers may be sent out to every location bringing the event kits to run the activity - blending the group with attendees from multiple locations. For example, the main conference may be held in Vancouver, while 4 other offices are tuning in virtually from Toronto, Calgary, Seattle and New York. An event manager would be sent to all 4 virtual locations to run and facilitate the event. Groups would be blended to include a group with attendees from Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Seattle & New York all playing together as a team.
Content & Timing
You don’t need me to tell you that engaging content is maybe even more important during a hybrid event than a fully onsite event. You need to be able to grab the attention of attendees from a computer - and keep it. No easy feat.
- Keep your sessions short and sweet. Skip the small talk and get right down to business, while the 50 in person attendees may seem riveted by a 3 hour team building game, the same might not be said for the group watching virtually. As a rule of thumb, keep team builder activities to a maximum of 2 hours.
- Incorporate activities or live polls that can keep the online group entertained and the whole guest list communicating.
- Include Q & A’s or a live twitter feed to show all attendees the scope of the event. Celebrate the vastness of the event and the virtual world instead of downplaying it.
The Virtual Experience
Hybrid team building events are a balancing act. How can you deliver the same quality experience for both those in person and attending virtually? It’s important to view your event from through the eyes of your virtual attendees. Ensure that all information is relevant for them too and find ways to keep them engaged. Attendees are far more likely to get distracted when tuning in from a computer than when attending in person. One great way to do this is to ensure your virtual team is not forgotten. There are so many exciting ways to plan an activity that both sets of attendees can take part in and give your team something new that they haven’t seen before. Bringing our teams together again, networking, reconnecting and socializing promotes a greater unity within your event and a stronger team. Eventology is here to make your next hybrid event seamless, fun and successful.
Book your hybrid event with Eventology today!