There’s more technological innovation in the event space than ever before – and that’s made hosting events more accessible and innovative than ever.

Calling the events of 2020 unprecedented feels like an incredibly large understatement at this point. I won’t re-hash what we’ve all been through over the course of the past 11 months, but let’s just all agree that nothing could have prepared us for what we’ve been through, both as event managers and simply as people.

There’s been a significant model shift to adapt to this new, physically-distanced way of doing business and running events, and it’s required a whole lot of ingenuity, and creative thinking.

As our lives and businesses start returning to normal, now is a great time to take stock of what we’ve learned, and consider if these new event models are perhaps better suited to our particular business situations than the more cookie-cutter events of pre-2020.

So, what event model best suits your needs? Perhaps a fully live event is best? Or could you benefit more from a pre-recorded event? Or maybe even combining the best features of both would best suit your customers? Before you make your decision, let’s take a look at what each event style is.

Live Event Experience

A more traditional style of event. This is the kind of event that is either hosted in person, or virtually – but is hosted live, and in real-time. Your audience are expected to turn up at specific times, and participate in real-time. When you’re putting together a live event, you have to consider the accessibility of your event – both in physically attending, and how long it runs for. Your attendees are limited with their access, and can only participate if they are present – however as all attendees are sharing an experience at the same time, you can build a community at your event. It’s pretty standard stuff, and this format is probably what you’d think about first if you were considering hosting an event.

Fully Pre-Recorded

Largely done virtually, this kind of event is pre-recorded, and more accessible to a wider group of attendees. With pre-recorded aspects of your event, you can release videos across a longer schedule (for attendees to consume in their own time), making your event more accessible to more people, as long as they have internet connectivity. There are so many benefits to this model, including giving your participants the opportunity to pace their learning and intake of information.

A fully pre-recorded event can still have a structure like a live event – you can release videos to a pre-determined schedule and treat it as you would a live event. But there’s a whole lot of benefits to running your event virtually, instead of in-person. I’ve written at length about the benefits of virtual events in an earlier blog post and can assure you that the concept of virtual events is very much here to stay.

Hybrid Event

The best of both worlds! There’s a whole lot of fluidity with this model, and you can truly take the best aspects of the live and pre-recorded formats to best suit your own needs. If we consider event formats on a spectrum, with live events on one end, and fully pre-recorded at the other, there’s a whole lot of grey area to play around with for your event.

This can take so many forms – for example:

  1. Pre-recording international speakers, and sharing their speeches within a live event context because borders are currently closed.
  2. You could offer virtual delegates to tune into your live event, or even record a live keynote for virtual delegates to consume after the fact.
  3. You could pre-record your entire event, but have a live MC or host interacting with your audience between speeches and engagements.
  4. You could entirely pre-record all speakers at your event, but have an internet chatroom discussion or Q&A happening concurrently or after the fact with the speaker.

There’s no one way to create your hybrid event – and frankly, almost every event can benefit from utilising aspects of both live and pre-recorded formats. If you consider a hybrid event as an opportunity to take your event global and reach more people than ever before, you’re already on the right track.

Gone are the days where events were limited to people physically attending at a specific time and place! If there’s one thing that widespread lockdowns and border closures have taught us this year, it’s that people deeply want to connect and be a part of something – and as event planners and business owners, we now have more tools than ever at our disposal to reach those people.

It would be easy to think that a hybrid event is as simple as hosting an in-person, live event with a handful of streamed aspects – but there’s so much more that can be done within the framework of a hybrid event!

In fact, a live event with streamed aspects can be the least cost-effective option at your disposal and could limit you and your event. There are so many ways to engage an audience with pre-recorded aspects of an event, which will turn your audience into hyper-engaged, valuable customers of your business – you just need to cherry-pick the best parts to make the hybrid event that best suits their needs.

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