To give you some peace of mind, we've listed three common tech hurdles and how to overcome them.
Hurdle 1: Attendees struggling to log in or use the platform
No matter how clear you make it, there’s always going to be an online attendee or two who struggles to access your event platform, or who finds it hard to use. After all, every virtual attendee will be accessing your event from a different location and, of course, using their own technology.
Although you can't eliminate the possibility of technical failure on your audience's side completely, you can take some steps to make it less likely.
Solution: Walk them through it
- Consider who your audience is. Take some time to consider how confident your audience will be using the latest technology. Although it's hard to know for sure, factors such as your audience's average age and typical occupation could be good indicators. Then, bear this in mind throughout the planning of the virtual elements of your hybrid event. For example, a conference for IT specialists could utilise more advanced technology than a charity AGM. Our introduction to virtual event design has more.
- Provide clear joining instructions. Make sure that you provide regular communication ahead of time, letting your online audience know what they have to do in order to access the event. This could include setting up an account before the big day arrives.
- Use 'one click' sign in. Some event platforms, such as Arena, will provide your attendees with a 'one click' sign in link. This feature makes it really easy for attendees to access an event and minimises the chance for any tech issues to occur.
- Educate your attendees. Depending on your audience, you may wish to use pre-event comms to explain how to use the platform, either by sending clear instructions in a written format or a quick video tutorial on how to get the most out of the event.
- Be on hand to support. Make sure your audience knows what to do if they really can't access your event when the time comes. Ideally, this will mean providing a way for them to contact you outside of the platform, for example over the telephone or via live chat. As event managers are usually busy on event days, it might help to have some dedicated staff managing the support lines so they can respond quickly. Our hybrid event experts can support you on this, so just get in touch for more information.
Hurdle 2: You might not know how to work the tech
On the other side of the coin, you might not be so tech savvy yourself, particularly if you’re used to hosting live events rather than virtual ones! However, you don't have to be a technological wizard to plan a successful hybrid event. The key lies in making things as easy as possible for yourself, and bringing in people who know what they're doing when it's necessary.
Solution: Keep it simple
- Opt for an all-in-one platform. An all-in-one virtual or hybrid event platform will make things really easy for you by giving you everything you need to create the virtual elements of your hybrid event in one place. This is much easier than having to get your head around and integrate multiple technologies to create a seamless attendee experience - the more tech you have, the more complicated it becomes. Our blog on all-in-one event platforms versus stacked technology has the full lowdown, but in the meantime check out Arena for a fully brandable, affordable and easy-to-use option.
- Choose a platform that provides ample support. It's important to choose a platform that has a comprehensive knowledgebase or an efficient support team, especially if you're underconfident with technology. This way, you can be sure you'll get the help you need to get the most out of the platform. Alternatively, you can hire a virtual event manager to support on this.
- Familiarise yourself with the tech ahead of time. Make sure that you arrange demos of the platform you’re using and spend time on it ahead of your event so that you're really comfortable and familiar with it. You could even host an internal meeting on the platform and get feedback from your team on how they found the experience and what they struggled with. This will inform how you communicate with your delegates and use the hybrid event technology during the event.
- Hire a professional production team. We’d recommend having a professional production team film, produce and live stream your content. That way, they can deal with everything to do with your live stream and production without you having to worry about it. This will include sourcing the right equipment, such as microphones and cameras.
- Give yourself more time than you need. There's nothing worse than being pressed for time when you're trying to get your head around a new technology. Inevitably, things always take longer than you expect. So, give yourself extra time every step of the way, especially when it comes to getting everything set up in your event venue on the day. Better to be sat there twiddling your thumbs than having a panic attack when your event's about to start and you're nowhere near ready!
Hurdle 3: The tech stops working
Whether it’s to do with a dodgy internet connection or a broken piece of equipment, there’s always a chance that the technology simply doesn’t work as it should on the day. That said, there are things you can do both before and during your event to reduce the risk of things going wrong (and to minimise the impact if things don't quite go to plan).
Solution: plan for every eventuality
- Choose the right venue. Any venues you consider for your hybrid event should have fast internet speed and, ideally, a hard-wired ethernet connection, 10Mbp+ upload and download speed and open ports, to minimise the chance of technical failure.
- Read reviews. Make sure that you do your research and choose a hybrid event platform that has good reviews and an excellent track record. Some will struggle with bigger virtual audiences, so make sure your platform has experience catering for online audiences of your size. Ultimately, it's safest to use tech that has been tried and tested.
- Hire a technician. If you get a professional production team to film your hybrid event, they may also provide virtual tech support on the day. If not, hire a technician to troubleshoot any technical issues. That way, if there are problems, you can get them resolved quickly and professionally.
- Make a plan B. No matter how hard you try, sometimes things do go wrong. But that's okay - it's how you handle it that really matters. Why not put a plan B in place just in case all else fails and your live stream does cut out for a period of time? For instance, you could record all your content sessions so that virtual audience members who missed out can access everything on-demand after your event has come to an end (which has the added benefit of extending the life of your event).
As you can see, there are easy solutions to each of these common barriers. So, there's no real reason why you shouldn't go ahead and plan the hybrid event you've been dreaming of!
For help planning the virtual elements of your hybrid event, read our complete guide to virtual events and check out our new offering, Arena. Designed for event organisers, by event organisers, it's simple, scalable, customisable and affordable. What else could you want?
And of course, if you're ready to go ahead, just get in touch with our hybrid event experts who'll be happy to help.