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What #eventprofs need to know about the hybrid event matrix

The Hybrid Event Matrix is a useful concept for event planners, says Jelmer van Ast, founder and CEO of Conference Compass.

Jelmer van Ast of Conference Compass

To plan for a hybrid event, or in fact for any event, it is vital to consider the different stakeholders in what makes your event a success. Typical event objectives are about sharing knowledge, facilitating networking, and doing business. Stakeholders then include speakers, attendees, and exhibitors.

For hybrid events, we need to consider the various types of interaction between people attending online and onsite. A helpful concept and tool to use is the Hybrid Event Matrix. It helps to visualize these interactions.

For interactions between attendees and speakers, the matrix has four quadrants. When we all met in person, pre-Covid, we were in the first quadrant: a traditional live event. Interactions included speakers delivering their presentations on a stage, with attendees in the room listening and asking their questions by standing up and speaking into a microphone. Technology, like event apps, helped to facilitate engagement with Q&A and voting functionality. Seems like ages ago, right?

Now, in the midst of Covid, all events are online, and we find ourselves in the fourth quadrant: a virtual event. Speakers deliver their presentation from their computer, talking into a webcam, and not seeing the audience.

Attendees, on their part, watch the live talk on their computers, and decent virtual event platforms allow for Q&A, voting, and chat to facilitate engagement.

A hybrid event means that some of your speakers are online, and some are onsite. And that part of your audience has been able to attend in person, while another part will be attending online. We find ourselves in the second and third quadrants. And for a truly inclusive experience, we will have to design for interactions between these four types of people. This is just one of the Hybrid Event Matrices to consider.

Aside from speakers vs. attendees (the knowledge-sharing component of your event), your other stakeholders will come in as attendees vs. attendees (the networking component) and exhibitors vs. attendees (the business component).

The degree to which people will attend an event online and onsite will depend on many factors, including local travel restrictions, budget and time considerations, personal health and safety concerns, and one’s attitude towards environmental impact. All of this makes it clear that the future of events is hybrid. And that in order to design successful events, you need to be as inclusive as possible.

This content is sponsored.

More VEI blogs you may be interested in: The Latest Thinking on Hybrid Events


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