Event planners are navigating a new frontier of delivering successful hybrid events. But what mix of technical and creative expertise do event teams need to do this successfully? We share seven key players you need in your hybrid event team.
Unfamiliar formats, evolving technologies, new health and safety measures, content curation and ongoing attendee engagement — this is the new world of event planning. Now, more than ever, event teams are overwhelmed with the diverse and complex roles they have to play. After quickly reskilling to meet the challenge of delivering virtual events, event planners now face a new challenge of how to deliver successful hybrid events. With so much discord around what constitutes a hybrid event, it’s no surprise that event planners are confused about what kind of team they need to support the delivery of their hybrid events.
The foundation for any memorable event is built on the skills, expertise and execution of the team. We’ve compiled a checklist of all the key team members you need to deliver a successful hybrid event.
The Right Mix for Your Hybrid Event Team
To pull off a successful hybrid event it’s important to have the right mix of digital/technical and creative expertise in your team. It’s tempting to think that it’s as simple as combining your in-person event team with your virtual event team — and to some extent it is. What you need to be careful about is how these teams are brought together. Event planners organizing hybrid events need to strategically combine the expertise from both teams to create a harmonious collaboration.
Here is a checklist of key hybrid team members to get you started:
Digital and technical team members
1. Support team / technical producers
2. Camera and graphics operators
3. Sound operators
4. Live event producers
Creative team members who can reimagine engagement
1. Host / emcee
2. Event technologist
3. Speaking coach
The event technologist is a fairly new role that has been around for the last decade. Their role is to provide in-depth knowledge of event tools and technologies, monitor industry trends, understand data flow in a tech stack, set up back-end processes and systems correctly, and troubleshoot any technology hiccups before, during and after events. The main benefit of having an event technologist is they increase operational efficiency to make your hybrid event a success.
Camera and graphics operators
For hybrid events, the virtual experience is just as important as the in-person experience; therefore there is no room to shirk the production quality of your event. This means single-person operated cameras and graphics have to go. Virtual attendees have come to expect better production quality and will quickly switch off if it doesn’t meet their standards. The benefit of having at least two camera and graphics operators is that they can treat your remote audience to a virtual production worthy of a TV broadcast.
Audio quality is a key component of delivering a great hybrid experience. However, normally when we think about the sound quality we focus on the ability to hear the speakers. This is of course the highest priority, but we can also broaden our scope to include environmental sounds that can create a more immersive experience for virtual attendees. Having good sound engineers can benefit the virtual experience by capturing the ambience of the in-person event. This could be laughter from the crowd, clapping, questions asked out loud by the audience, etc.
This is optional but can be hugely beneficial to ensure quality content for each of your event sessions. Speaking coaches can help your speakers feel more confident, dampen any anxiety around presenting, and craft compelling stories that resonate with the audience. This allows you to produce a quality agenda that keeps your audience engaged. Though a speaking coach isn’t mandatory for the success of your hybrid event, it is good practice to provide your speakers with some form of guidance or support to help them nail their delivery.
Host / emcee
Hosts are a must for your hybrid event. They are responsible for guiding attendees through the event and ultimately keeping them engaged and energized. Depending on the set-up of your event you may find it useful to have two different emcees: one for your virtual audience and one for your in-person audience. If you have an emcee who is making jokes related to the in-person experience, this might leave your virtual attendees feeling left out and disengaged. However, if you have two different emcees, the virtual host knows they have to be even more energetic for their enthusiasm to transfer through the screen. They can also drop in useful reminders and information specific to the virtual audience, which makes for a more personalised and thoughtful experience.
Hybrid events are a new frontier for many attendees as well as organisers. As audiences navigate this new event format (particularly if you would like to create opportunities to connect your in-person and virtual attendees) it is important to have a technical support team in place. This support team will ideally come from your platform provider, and it’s particularly important to have the support team live at the event with you. Hublio, for example, is a hybrid event platform that offers live technical support staff that will remain onsite in your green room for the duration of your event. Having a live support team has the added benefit of helping partners and vendors integrate and deliver an overall exceptional experience.
Live event producers
Live event producers are responsible for taking your hybrid event from concept to delivery. Based on your objectives, they will even help you determine whether or not a hybrid event is really the best way to achieve your goals. Producers can design the format and run of show for your event. They aren’t a mandatory investment if your budget doesn’t allow it; however, producers’ overall duty on the day of the event is to ensure that all the logistics run smoothly. They are the glue holding the entire event team together. Having a producer on your team helps keep the event on time while also ensuring good sound and video quality is maintained. Without a designated producer in place, this responsibility typically falls to the event manager — and with the added stresses of hybrid events, no one needs this extra responsibility.
Core to any successful event is having the right set of skills, expertise and execution in the team. A successful hybrid event doesn’t come by throwing together your virtual and in-person event teams. By strategically considering the skills needed to develop and run your hybrid event, you can recruit a stellar lineup of team members to create the ultimate experience for your virtual and in-person audiences. Hybrid teams require more key players with technical expertise that will work together with creative team members to achieve operational efficiency, better audience engagement and high-value productions.