Event Talk Live continues to grow and it’s no wonder! The July event, “The Future of Hybrid Events” was one of the most popular episodes of the series, where Melinda Burdette of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) shared her insights with Kate Patay (Patay Consulting) on the pressing topic of hybrid events and their effectiveness to scale event growth.
(Register for free for our latest Event Talk Live session, happening on August 19th, at 2 pm.)
The Future of Hybrid Events – Fireside Chat with Melinda Burdette
Event Talk Live opened up with a bang as event specialist and industry powerhouse Melinda Burdette of MPI (Meeting Professionals International) joined in to review and discuss the results of our survey, ‘The Future of Hybrid’, reflect on the future of hybrid events in the second half of the year, and render her expert opinion answering audience questions.
In June and July, we asked over 200 event professionals their thoughts on the future of hybrid events. Maddie Bird, Community & Events Manager at Accelevents, moderated the discussion and shared the results of that survey. Some highlights of the session were:
- When surveyed, over 50% stated they would be likely to attend an in-person event this year. Burdette shared that while those numbers are a great sign, event professionals need to remember that safety is paramount. Attendees need to trust that they will be safe, and if hosting an in-person event, professionals have a duty of care to ensure the safety of everyone attending. “Certainly it’s a moving target right now”, Burdette stated.
- Burdette shared that knowing which audience will be encompassing the bigger percentage of your attendance will go a long way toward figuring out how to allocate your budget.
- One of the key takeaways from this session is that even while you may be catering to your in-person audience, you are encouraged to remember that content capturing provides an opportunity to archive that footage for on-demand viewing long after your event is over, thus creating an alternate revenue stream for your business.
“The key is to know who you’re playing to. While we’ve come a long way with hybrid events, no one has truly cracked the code to ensure the exact same experience for both virtual and in-person events.”
MPI (Meeting Professionals International)
- Almost everyone agreed that simultaneous live streaming of in-person sessions to a virtual audience is expected for a hybrid experience, however, Maddie and Melinda discussed that merely live streaming an in-person session does not make a hybrid event. That is essentially just broadcasting. A true hybrid event seeks to create opportunities for interaction between the two audiences, whether it be Q&A sessions with the speakers or networking. Connecting the virtual and in-person audiences is what will make your event a truly hybrid event.
- A natural follow-up on event design for a hybrid experience, figuring out which tech features you’ll need to pull off a successful hybrid event resulted in some clearly strong winners. Burdette shared that strong planning from the event organizer is essential. Proper staffing, soliciting tech-savvy help, and identifying the goal of your event will assist in choosing the right platform for you. The cheapest option isn’t always the best; creating a list of must-haves vs. nice-to-haves is a great starting point.
The Fireside Chat with Melinda Burdette ended with a round of audience questions and positive feedback for such great information.
“Know the purpose of your event, know what you need to get out of your event, and above all, know your audience.”
MPI (Meeting Professionals International)
You can find the full survey results here.
Break-out sessions, Music, Live Caricatures, and More.
Educational sessions were broken up by the Entertainer Spotlight featuring Christina DeNee’ of Big Head Cartoon Caricatures. This high-energy session, like the previous Event Talk Live, had everyone dancing in their seats as the DJ spun timeless crowd favorites while Christina amazed everyone with her live-drawing skills.
Audience members clamored to be the next in line to have their caricatures drawn in real-time to the danceable beats. This was a great example of how to incorporate entertainment into your event to both engage the audience as well as inject some energy into a hybrid experience.
Future of Hybrid Events – Experts Panel Session with Melinda Burdette and Kate Patay
Maddie Bird again expertly moderated, this time during the Event Talk with the Experts Panel Session. Melinda Burdette (MPI) and industry expert Kate Patay of Patay Consulting shared what they’ve learned from organizing their very own hybrid events as professionals adapt to this ever-changing event environment.
The panel provided various answers when asked how to define a hybrid event. While it was clear that there is no set definition of hybrid events, Patay jumped in to say,
“Hybrid’s a way in which you can make sure that you’re engaging people in real life and through the virtual medium. I think we’re still figuring out what that looks like and I do think it’s going to be different for the coming year versus what the future of it’s going to be.”
The experts agreed there is no one definition. Hybrid is what you make of it. It is not just live streaming…it is engagement…it is interactive.
After organizing approximately half a dozen hybrid events, and attending around a dozen, Patay reflected, “It’s a study in people constantly. What are the pain points? What do we need to overcome?” Between prioritizing health & safety, Patay and Burdette agreed that making sure we don’t leave an audience behind is critical for hybrid success. Camera and mic placement, an experienced emcee, live Q&A, and VIP rooms are just some examples of how we can connect our virtual audience with our in-person event.
As thought leaders, Patay and Burdette are paving the way to set best practices for event professionals everywhere.
Event Talk Live rounded out this jam-packed event with networking opportunities and Q&A with the experts. While the format of hybrid events may evolve as world events change, they are certainly here to stay long into the future.
Looking to get the latest insights and pro tips for event professionals? Register for our upcoming Event Talk Live session and learn from the leading experts in the industry!