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Future of Work

The New Normal of Hybrid Events Offer AV Tricks

Hybrid events have grown up quickly. Corporations, trade associations, and non-profits in various industries have noticed.


Mark Miller

President, Rental & Staging Network; President, Markey’s Indianapolis

Presenting an event with live and remote audiences creates new opportunities that were unimaginable two years ago. Hybrid events can give any brand dramatically more reach, revenue, and market share.

Here are some strategies that do all the above:

Provide Unique Value

Bradley Ehrlich, general manager at Markey’s in Indianapolis, says developing small breakout rooms are his trade secret for generating more engagement. He says the true value happens when remote audience viewers can chat directly with the keynote speakers, as well as score “face time” with other influencers in the industry. 

To take it to the next level, event organizers can create an event where the live and remote audiences watch the same general assembly speeches, but then go to different tracks of breakout sessions — one for the live audience, and another completely different programming for the online audience.

Be Seamless

Pre-recorded content is the star of the new era of hybrid events. It can prevent gaffes and present a seamless, polished experience, while dramatically reducing unexpected consequences from moving parts. Pre-recorded content with multiple camera angles has become a must-have tool to compete with the market’s raised expectations. 

“It’s less like a college lecture and more like a television show,” said Caleb Bull, a production manager at AV firm Colortone Staging & Rentals (CSR) in Cleveland.

Make it Memorable

Imagine you are attending a hybrid event as an online guest. The headliner is a famous rock band, which is about to take the stage and start jamming. And moments before, the lead singer joins the online audience along with you. 

“Surprise elements keep both audiences informed and entertained,” said Allin Foulkrod, CEO at Creative Visions in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hybrid events continue to create new opportunities and new experiences. 

Part of the magic comes from real-time surprises. Foulkrod’s AV team has solicited and used user-generated content from attendees’ cell phones on the big screen for the live audience, which connects both groups. His team has also turned “transitional” content shown during brief intermissions into fun, light-hearted content that puts unexpected smiles on the faces of attendees.

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