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Insider Tips on Virtual and Hybrid Events

By: Krista Cameron | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter | Nov 16, 2020

When looking for a virtual event partner (VEP) realize there is a difference between a platform provider and a production company.  For that one-stop shop and all-inclusive experience finding the combination of a platform owner with professional production experience is the perfect sweet spot.

Essential Stage Photo 1 - OttawaBefore your start!

Before your initial call with a potential VEP, here is a sample checklist of information you need to gather first about your event. This information will assist your VEP provider in understanding your needs.

  • Event goals and objectives
  • Event agenda
  • Number of virtual presenters vs. in-person presenters
  • Number of attendees expected
  • Do viewers need to communicate with each other?
  • Will there be any form of audience engagement (ie. Q&A and polling)?
  • Are multiple languages required?
  • Will all streams be live or is pre-recording an option?
  • Any additional complexities ie. voting, scripting, by-law compliance,
  • Will you show video or do you require content to be created?

Regardless of what type of virtual event you are seeking to create, here are some key tips that will help you create a polished and professional webcast. 

  • Book Rehearsal time – Rehearsal time is critically important to success and should be held at the same time of day to ensure accuracy.
  • Schedule Speaker Onboarding – speaker onboardings is vital as a separate session from your rehearsal time.Having your speaker onboarding in advance of your rehearsal will ensure smooth rehearsal runs.Even the most versed speaker usually isn’t comfortable speaking virtually.Depending on the complexity of your program, the VEP may need multiple touch points with your speakers to discuss lighting, background, quality angles, internet connectivity, sound walk-throughs and protecting from distractions.
  • Consider distractions - When creating your virtual agenda consider that there are more distractions that will compete for your viewers’ attention.Shorten that agenda, keep it simple and limit each session to an hour (when possible), while extending the lengths of breaks since your viewers have extra roles while working from home.
  • Provide engagement opportunities - To increase engagement utilize a networking platform that includes chat and gamification features.You can also use polling and Q&A to help to engage your audience. Use an upvoter to elevate which questions your viewers want answered the most.
  • Don’t forget about your Sponsors - Put a sponsorship strategy in place just as you would for a live event.Your strategy should include benefits of sponsorship along with methods to achieve ROI in the virtual space.Some people don’t realize just how much exposure you can provide for sponsors or how much data is available from a virtual or hybrid environment.

Hybrid Component

If you are considering a hybrid component to your event, prioritizing the safety of your attendees, presenters and team members is critical.  Here are some additional tips to consider when it comes to event safety in a hybrid environment.

  • Ask your VEP about the safety measures they have available and communicate these safety protocols to all attendees and speakers in advance.
  • Consider meeting formats and equipment packages that will reduce risk, increase confidence, and promote health within the meeting space. For instance, this will include physical distancing measures, traffic flow and cleaning procedures.

To learn more about possible MeetSAFE standards, watch this video.

About the Author:
K.Cameron Headshot

Krista Cameron, Director of Business Development, Encore Canada: Some of Krista’s current industry involvement includes serving on PCMA Canada East Chapter’s Board of Directors as Vice President of Operations and on the CSAE Trillium Council, Membership Committee and Chair of Awards Committee.  Krista sits on the CanSPEP Partner Advisory Council and is a member of MPI’s Toronto Chapter.  In 2015, Krista was inducted into M&IT’s Hall of Fame as Industry Mentor.



K.Cameron Headshot
Krista Cameron | Published by MPI Toronto Chapter

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