Why do people attend events in general- Physical, Virtual or Hybrid? Primarily to gain business, enrich their knowledge resource and form valuable networks that would benefit them in the long run. Isn’t it? Physical events are naturally engaging and networking may happen through conscious efforts, body language judgement or plainly by chance.

In the case of virtual events, one cannot rely on these natural causes and hence the networking has to be ignited or facilitated. With hybrid events, achieving a balanced connection between virtual & live audiences could be an even bigger challenge.

However, once established networking automatically boosts attendee engagement. And when combined with the numerous technological advantages of Virtual/ Hybrid platforms, the results can be highly fruitful. As an experienced company, we at ibentos can guarantee it’s worth the effort and that’s what we would be discussing in this article! So, are you ready to know how we facilitate networking in Virtual & Hybrid events? Here we go!

Virtual and Hybrid Events

Virtual Events

1. Select a good Virtual platform

No matter how many times we repeat this statement, it’s a fact that a virtual platform is the lifeline of any virtual event platform. And all customization or alterations suiting specific industry needs, start with the virtual platform design. So, select your virtual platform mindfully checking that it supports your industry requirement, expected attendee count, and network feasibility. It must have a simple, attractive design with performance analysis support and the latest technological features.

2. Have attendee filters

It’s a good move to ask your attendees about their networking interests at the start of the event or at the registration time itself. The organisers can incorporate an attendee filter option and use it to match the attendees with common interests. This will help people to find the right connections and improve event engagement at the same time.

3. Have separate rooms for networking

Virtual platforms have breakout rooms as an inbuilt feature, where attendees can engage themselves in between the sessions. It’s advised to have a dedicated space for networking, where can assemble with the sole purpose of forming networks.

4. Provide frequent breaks in between the sessions

Virtual events need to have frequent breaks in between the sessions, to avoid monotony, and screen fatigue or simply to allow the attendees to relax and rejuvenate. This break time is also a chance for them to interact with other participants and exchange contact information.

4. Have ice-breaking sessions

Shyness is a part of human nature and unwillingness to make the first move may sometimes delay things unnecessarily. The introduction of engagement activities and ice-breaking sessions can help the participant to know each other and boost networking. It can be in the form of a quiz or prompt questions with small token prizes.

5. Keep quick recaps at the session starts

Quick recaps at the start of the session are beneficial for the attendees to catch up with the missed parts. While for others it can provide extra time that can be used for networking purposes.

6. Encourage after-event networking

In case of a physical event the attendees have a chance to connect with each other as long as they are present at the event, even after the sessions are over. Whereas in virtual event attendees tend to loose connection as soon as the sessions are over. But if the organisers keep extended programs such as interaction time, entertainment hours or award shows after session, attendees will be encouraged to stay back and will also have extra time to exchange contact information and stay connected after the event.

Hybrid Event Platform in India

Hybrid Events

Most of the points discussed above hold effective for hybrid evets too like choice of a good virtual/ hybrid platform, attendee filters, breakout rooms, networking rooms, quick recap and ice breaking sessions. However, being a combination of virtual and physical platforms, hybrid events platform do require some special considerations.

1. Bring your Virtual & Live audience together in networking rooms

The main idea of hosting a hybrid event is connecting Virtual & live audiences on a common stage, so that they can have the combined benefits. The hybrid platform must therefore, have a common room wherein the audiences can know & feel the combined strength. Whom to select afterwards, could be their choice totally.

2. Have separate networking rooms for Live & virtual audiences

It is not essential that the entire live audience will be interested in forming networks with the virtual counterpart and vice versa. The organisers must therefore provide separate networking rooms for live & virtual audience, along with a common room where the entire lot can connect. The action with distribute the traffic and make management much simpler for the organisers and it will be easier for the audiences to locate their desired contacts.

3. Educate the audiences about networking.

The organisers must issue general guidelines to the virtual & live audiences in advance, on how to connect with each other effectively. So, that they are aware correct usage of the networking platform and can utilize their event time.

4. Have a good Wifi connection at the physical venue

Network strength is one of the main driving parameters for the hybrid events after the hybrid platform. The success of hybrid events is gauged by the connectivity of both audiences with each other. It is important for the orgaisers to ensure strong WIFI network thought out the venue.

5. Employ a trained coordination team

Hybrid events involve active participation of virtual & live audiences. They may have the same interest but their expectation with the event can be entirely different. They differ in the attention span, choice of content & session duration etc. One requires a trained staff to coordinate them and the organisers must ensure that it is done.

6. Have combined Activities for Live & Virtual audiences

They best way to connect live & virtual audiences is to have combined activities like gaming sessions, quizzes, surprise elements etc. The virtual audience can participate through their PCs & laptops while the live audience can use smart phones and tabs. It requires high level coordination & smooth transition but the results in excellent intermingling & networking.

The design team at ibentos lays special emphasis on networking prospects. We have come up with some excellent networking tools that can be integrated with AI software’s and amplify the networking possibilities for your attendees. Attendee filters, Networking Loges, breakout rooms, gamification & entertainment lobbies and post event award function are some of them.

Our virtual/hybrid platforms not only facilitate networking but come with a package of other engagement & performance enhancement features that ensure a memorable experience for your attendees. Want to have a try? Visit us at www.ibentos.com and book a demo now!