event lighting rentals

Set the Stage with Unforgettable Event Lighting

Are you in the dark about how to configure the lighting for your corporate event, wedding, or special party without going postal? You are not alone. Lighting design is easy to overlook, but it can make a significant difference in the success of your event. Just like choosing the right theme, venue, or food, knowing which lights and equipment fit a particular occasion is not as simple as it seems.

Well, we’re here to help! In this article, we will discuss what you need to know before renting any type of lighting equipment and how to pick the right lighting options for your next event. But before that, we need to square away some basic concepts and principles behind light design.

Lighting Design Basics

A well-lit event stage with many stage lights pointing at several directions

Like any art form, lighting design involves artistry and technical know-how. Your lighting design can be the difference between a dazzling show that engages your guests and a dreary affair that has them yawning within minutes. Ultimately, that difference is decided almost entirely by how well you stick to the goals of good lighting design, whether it’s for a dynamic church event, a worry-free panel discussion, or a safe and entertaining party.

Some of the goals of good lighting design are: 

  • Setting the mood and atmosphere. To quote Kevin Lee Allen, an Emmy Award-winning lighting designer, “Lighting is more than just illumination; it is communication.”  Whether you want your event to be cozy and intimate, or lively and energetic, lighting can help you create the desired ambiance. By using a combination of ambient, accent, and task lighting, you can adjust the brightness, color, and direction of the light to suit your event’s tone and purpose. For example, you can use a door lamp to create a warm and welcoming glow in a small space.
  • Enhancing the theme and highlighting the elements. Lighting can also help you emphasize the theme of your event and draw attention to the key elements, such as the stage, the speakers, or the decorations. By using different colors, shapes, and patterns of light, you can create contrast and visual interest that will captivate your guests and make your event more memorable.
  • Supporting the functionality and safety. Lighting is not only about aesthetics, but also about practicality. You need to make sure that your guests can see clearly and move around safely in your event space. You also need to consider the needs of your speakers, performers, or presenters who may require specific lighting conditions to deliver their message effectively. By using appropriate lighting levels, angles, and controls, you can ensure that your event runs smoothly and without any disruptions or issues.
  • 3 Rules of Good Lighting Design

    When it comes to lighting, what makes “good” lighting? Basic rules apply in virtually any situation–and thankfully, you don’t need a degree to understand or execute them properly:

    1. Lighting should be in harmony with your venue and theme. Fixtures must work well with the rest of your event design. For example, suppose you’re hosting a garden party. It might be best to use string lights instead of giant, bulky chandeliers.
    2. Lighting should enhance the mood or ambiance. It does not have to be overwhelming, but it should create a positive engaging atmosphere.
    3. Lighting should complement the tone of your event and draw the eye towards essential elements like speakers or displays — but not distract.

    3 Types of Lighting

    You can choose from three main types of lighting: ambient, accent, and task. 

    1. Ambient light is the overall light in the room – usually provided by ceiling fixtures or wall sconces.
    2. Accent lights like track lights, spotlights, or pin spots highlight specific objects or features in a space.
    3. Use a task light, like a floor lamp, for practical purposes like reading.

    Decide which of the three types you want to emphasize. For example, if you are going for a dramatic effect, focus on accent and ambient lights. 

    To create a more intimate atmosphere, use task lights to draw attention to specific areas and create pools of light. 

    Color Temperature

    Another thing to consider is color temperature. This refers to the warmth or coolness of a light source and is measured in degrees Kelvin (K). 

    A low color temperature (2700K-3000K) will produce a warm yellowish glow, while a high color temperature (4000K-6500K) will have a cool white light. 

    Most event light equipment comes in cool or warm whites, so specify which one you need when making your rental inquiry. 

    How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Event

    Now that you have a basic understanding of some critical concepts behind lighting design, it’s time to choose which lighting equipment you need for your event. Which lights you need is determined by certain factors: 

    a small group of people holding a small backyard event with good lighting for the intimate space

    Intimate vs. Large Area

    To get the best rates, try to secure all of your vendors (i.e., catering, house bar services, security, and rental equipment) from the same venue. 

    This not only minimizes complications and reduces stress, but it can also save you money in the long run. 

    a barn converted to a venue for a wedding decorated by beautiful ambient lighting

    Theme vs. Functionality

    Next, think about whether you want to use the lights primarily for their aesthetic qualities or if you want them to serve a practical purpose. 

    For example, if your event is themed around nature, you may want to use soft, diffused lighting to make the environment seem more relaxing. 

    On the other hand, if you are hosting a party at a bar, you might want to use bright, focused lights to attract guests’ attention. 

    a father and daughter touching one of the decorative lights during a family event

    Ambiance vs. Attention

    You also need to consider what mood you want to create. Do you want the lighting to be subtle and romantic or bold and energetic? Will you use the lights to illuminate people or provide general illumination? 

    Once you’ve answered all these questions, consider the available lighting equipment. The following section outlines some popular options offered in your average event rentals store and which events typically require them: 

    a floodlight illuminating a large outdoor area during an event

    Par Lights or Floodlights

    These lights are ideal when covering large spaces, such as auditoriums or outdoor venues. They usually come in white light and can be used for accent and ambient lights. 

    Par lights are also often used by DJs during private parties because they produce intense beams that create a dramatic effect while keeping the space well-lit. Another word for these lights is cans, because they resemble metal cans with bulbs inside. 

    a pin spotlight ready for use

    Pin Spotlights

    Pin spotlights are the way to go if you want to highlight objects or architectural features in your event space. They deliver a narrow beam of light and can be focused on specific areas of interest. 

    Pin spots are sometimes used when dressing up a cake for a wedding or birthday party. They are one of the most commonly requested professional options for event planners. 

    Up Lights or Track Lighting

    This is a versatile type of light that event planners can use for both ambient and accent lighting. It usually comes in white and warm and cool colors, giving you plenty of design options. You can also buy them with wheels to make transportation easier. 

    Uplights highlight columns, stage sets, or outdoor areas. Use them for table lights with various colored gels for a gorgeous ambiance. 

    Stage Lighting

    An experienced lighting designer sets up the lights if your event is set in a venue with a large stage. Stage lighting includes wash lights, spotlights, and follow spots, which project images onto a stage or set. 

    They are commonly used for corporate functions where a wide selection of activities occurs during the evening. Depending on your event, you might need a fog machine for dramatic effect during your performance or presentation. 

    GOBO Lighting

    Another type of light often used for special events is GOBO lighting. This refers to the design or pattern projected onto a surface, typically using a gobo projector or light fixture. Customize GOBO lights to suit your event’s theme or decor. Discuss your design ideas with your rental supplier to determine available options. 

    Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

    Quick Notes for Virtual & Hybrid Event Lighting

    Virtual events are an entirely different beast than their physical counterparts, so there are a few different things to consider. 

    When you’re hosting a webinar or online conference with a large audience, create as much excitement around your presentation as possible. Try using lasers, for example, which can be bought separately or rented in conjunction with your traditional options. 

    hybrid event attendees sitting and listening during the Q&A portion

    Think about how lighting affects the audience. Lights can be important for webinars or other online presentations because it helps create engagement and a sense of connection with the presenter. This is especially true if you have attendees watching your event from home on their computer screens since they may not have access to a proper stage or venue setup. 

    For hybrid events especially, having a high-quality visual presentation is vital. Don’t forget to incorporate lights into your video, as they can make or break the overall immersion effect. This is usually done through low-level effects and soft backlights highlighting the presenter’s face during their speech. 

    Finally, don’t forget to create visual centerpieces with good light design. With many events, creating a focal point keeps the audience’s attention and ensures visuals are seen clearly. Use lights to highlight event decor through accent lighting effectively. But always avoid creating a distraction that would take attention away from your event’s purpose. 

    Need some ideas for your next virtual event? Here are the top virtual event types of hosting in 2022! 

    Sit back and Enjoy

    a tented reception area with glass tables, chandeliers, and couches

    Event lighting rentals can make a significant impact on your event’s atmosphere and overall success. By understanding the basics of lighting design and choosing the right equipment for your event, you can create a dazzling show that engages your guests and leaves a lasting impression. In short, lighting design can help you set the mood, enhance the theme, highlight the elements, and ensure safety for your event. Remember to plan ahead, coordinate with your rental company and venue, and ensure that everything runs smoothly on the big day. With the right lighting, your event will shine bright and stand out. 

    Need more professional advice from event experts?

    We & Goliath is a network of experienced technical producers, designers, and video editors who can help you deal with the tech stress for your special event so you don’t have to. Whether you’re planning a corporate conference or trade show, we have the expertise, tools, and resources you need to make your event a success. Contact us today to learn more! 


    8 Inspired Corporate Event Ideas: Wow Attendees!

    Corporate events have become more than just a way to celebrate milestones or reward employees. Today, they’re also a great opportunity to build relationships with clients and partners. 

    Whether it’s a company picnic or a team-building retreat, there are plenty of ways to get creative corporate event planning. We’ve got some unique and fun ideas for you to try out this year.

    Corporate Event Ideas for Team Building

    Teamwork is the backbone of any business, but sometimes it’s hard to see how much work goes into making a successful team. Team-building events are a great way to help people bond and even learn new skills together. There are many ways to incorporate team-building activities into a corporate event.

    Here are some ideas that can be done in any setting:

    Scavenger Hunts

    Scavenger hunts are a classic game that everyone loves. They’re easy to set up and require little preparation time. You can use them as a part of a larger event or create a separate scavenger hunt for each group in attendance. 

    A team retreat is often the perfect setting for a scavenger hunt. It gives everyone a chance to explore the area while learning something new at the same time. 

    Basic items for this event:

  • A map of the area where the event takes place
  • A list of items to find (e.g., a picture of a certain landmark)
  • A prize for each item found 
  • Mix it up by adding clues to the items. For example, if you want to give away prizes related to nature, add a clue about the location of a nearby lake. Or, if you want to encourage creativity, include a word scramble puzzle at some point. Tailor the game around specific event themes. Here are a couple that you could try: 

    1. Around the World: This hunt takes participants to different parts of the world, either in person or through pictures and items.
    2. Movie Scenes: Participants have to find objects or scenes from popular movies.
    3. Geography: Teams could be given a list of questions about geography and asked to complete tasks related to the answers.
    4. Zodiac Signs: Participants must find items related to the twelve zodiac signs.

    Pro Tip: You don’t need to spend a lot of money to make a scavenger hunt fun. Use inexpensive prizes that match the theme of your event if you have one (e.g. candy bars for Halloween-themed company events).

    This event idea is a great fit for outdoor venues but can also be done indoors with the right planning. If you want to stir up some healthy competition among teams, you can also assign points based on who finds the most items.

    Four people laughing during a game of departmental family feud.

    Departmental Family Feud

    Another corporate party idea worth considering is departmental family feuds. It’s especially perfect if you’re catering to a small number of people since it doesn’t take too long to prepare. 

    The basic premise of this event is simple: teams compete against each other in various categories. Each category has its own rules, which makes it easier to keep track of who wins what.

    Everyone gets to know each other better by playing a game that requires them to share personal information. The goal is to win points by answering questions correctly. 

    This type of event works well for smaller groups because it doesn’t take long to play. It’s also a good icebreaker for large groups since it allows people to get to know each other without feeling like they’re being interrogated.

    What you need for this event:

  • A table with chairs and a microphone
  • Questions and Answers for the game
  • One way to come up with questions for a family feud game is to think about things that are common interests for coworkers. 

    Ask people to share their favorite movies, books, or TV shows. It’s a good idea to come up with a range of questions so that everyone has a chance to answer. 

    If there are people who are shy or don’t want to answer, have them pick a number and then read the corresponding question.

    Pro Tip: Provide enough space for everyone to sit comfortably. Also, make sure you have plenty of batteries for the microphones.

    DIY Escape Rooms

    Escape rooms are a popular option for corporate event activities. They’re a unique experience that combines puzzles, clues, and challenges to solve in order to escape a locked room. 

    A woman inside a DIY escape room reading one of the clues to solve the puzzle.

    These special events are usually designed around a specific theme, which makes them ideal for themed parties. They’re also a great way to teach employees about safety procedures and preventative measures.

    Basic items for this event:

  • An escape room kit
  • A big-enough room for a participating group
  • A key
  • When planning an escape room event, it’s important to create a challenging and fun experience for participants. Here are some tips to help make your event a success:

    1. Choose the right escape room kit. There are many different kits available, so be sure to select one that fits the theme and difficulty level you’re aiming for.
    2. Set the stage. Decorate the room to match the theme, and make sure it’s big enough for the number of participants.
    3. Create interesting clues and challenges. The puzzles and challenges should be engaging and challenging, but not so difficult that participants get stuck.
    4. Keep things moving. Participants should be constantly engaged in the activity, so make sure there’s plenty of action happening throughout the event.
    5. Provide instructions and hints if needed. If participants get stuck on a puzzle, be prepared to offer them some help without giving away too many clues.

    Pro Tip: If you don’t have a particular theme in mind yet, try going for something that’s easy to set up and customize. For example, transform any regular old conference room into a Detective Agency-themed room with the usual office items lying about if you put your mind to it.

    Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

    Corporate Event Ideas for Outdoor Gatherings

    The great outdoors is a wonderful place to throw an event together. Coupled with good execution, these outdoor events are guaranteed to bring out the best in attendees. If you’re looking to throw together something more than just a casual picnic, here are some suggestions you could try:

    Brunch or Dinner Cruise

    Nothing tops a nice meal by the water — maybe except a meal on the water. And that’s the experience you can give your attendees when you combine a brunch cruise or dinner cruise with your corporate party. 

    This type of social event is especially suitable for groups of 10 or fewer. Your guests will enjoy delicious food while enjoying views of the lake or ocean. 

    Basic items for this event:

    To throw an event cruise, you’ll need a boat, preferably one that has enough space to accommodate your guests. You’ll also need catering for the event, as well as drinks and utensils unless you’re planning to see to all of that personally. If you’re hosting a more formal dinner cruise, you may want to provide music and entertainment as well.

    Although this is surely one of the more expensive options on this list, you’ll be surprised how inexpensive boat rentals can get. And so long as you keep the event within the charter schedule, you’ll be fine. Yachts are of a relatively good size for 10 or so people.

    Always plan for more attendees. Just be careful about blowing up your budget. Find a happy medium between expectations and the reality that fewer people may show up if you overestimate.

    As for the other arrangements, here are a couple of ideas to try: 

    1. Catering: Hire a caterer to prepare all the food for you. Or you can do it yourself. Either way, find a location where you can serve the food. It’s best to choose somewhere close to the boat since you won’t want to carry heavy dishes around.
    2. Drinks: You’ll need to stock up on beverages for your guests. Make sure they include beer, wine, soft drinks, and juices. You might even want to add a few cocktails to the mix.
    3. Entertainment: Depending on what event type you’re planning, you might want to provide live music or entertainment.

    Pro Tip: If you’d rather go the traditional route, rent a houseboat. Houseboats are generally larger than other types of vessels, making them better suited for large groups.

    Two males grilling during a company barbecue event on a park, parasols and people surround.

    Traditional Summer BBQ

    Summertime is synonymous with barbecues, picnics, and relaxing around the pool. There’s something about the classic barbecue theme that makes it feel like a special occasion.

    What better way to celebrate the season than with a corporate party idea that feels like a vacation?

    From the food to the décor to the drinks, plan ahead so everything goes smoothly. The best part? You can accommodate a good number of people and it’s a lot less expensive than renting a yacht!

    Basic items for this event:

  • A grill, charcoal, and grilling accessories (like tongs).
  • You’ll also need beverages and plates and cups.
  • This type of event is ideal for small groups of 5 or fewer.
  • Barbecues are a great setting for everybody in the company to shoot the breeze and get to know each other in a less-than-formal setting. Mood setting is important. Here are some ideas to try and match:

    1. Location: Local parks, lakesides, beaches, or community centers are great options for event spaces. They’re free, and you won’t have to worry about finding a location that’s big enough to fit all your guests. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room to spread out. Check for reserving locations ahead of time. Many communities will require reservations for pavilions and grill sites months ahead of time. Call the local city parks and recreation department to ensure that the space is available on your event day.
    2. Theme: Something lighthearted would work really well. Think “summer” or “beach.” Or maybe you want to do something creative like a “family day at the zoo.” Whatever you choose, just make sure it fits the vibe of your group.
    3. Food: Barbecue is a pretty casual affair, so don’t overthink the menu. Just stick to the basics: burgers, hot dogs, chicken, ribs, etc. For dessert, you might want to serve ice cream sandwiches or popsicles. You can also just do outreach to a couple of regional food trucks interested in catering to your event. This is also a great way to get the local community involved in your event.
    4. Decorations: Keep it simple. Use balloons, streamers, and flags to create a festive atmosphere.
    5. Music: Turn off the radio and crank up the tunes. This is a time when everyone should be able to enjoy themselves without worrying about what they’re listening to. Hire a good DJ to spice things up.
    6. Drinks: Make sure you stock up on beer, wine, water, and soda. Also, if you’re planning on serving alcohol, make sure you have enough glasses, bottles, and corkscrews.

    Pro Tip: Start by picking a date and time that works best for your guests, and remember to set aside plenty of space for parking and setup. Consider how many people you’re expecting to bring along since seating and dishes will take up some room. 

     It’s always an excellent idea to have plenty of vegan options on the table. To make it feel like an extra special event, arrange for some fireworks after dinner. 

    Office Sports Tournament

    Speaking of fun events, summer is the perfect season to hold an office sports tournament. 

    It’s a great way to get everyone out and moving about. but it’s also a great way to bring people together for some friendly competition, foster camaraderie, and give everyone some fun activities to do.

    four people competing in a sack race during their company sports tournament

    Basic items for this event:

  • A wide open area where everyone can play
  • Tables and chairs
  • Someplace to store equipment
  • Plenty of water and snacks
  • What makes this fantastic as an option is that it can easily be integrated into other events like Summer Barbecues as a prelude activity. 

    It also gives you a lot of room to accommodate any sport or activity that your attendees are interested in. All you need to do is provide them with a list of rules, and then let them go wild.

    Here are some examples of sports tournaments you could organize:

    1. Venue: Your local park or sports center is great for venues. Try to find one with enough seating available for everyone in attendance. If you can find a venue that’s suited for your chosen sport (i.e. a basketball court if you chose basketball), all the better.
    2. Themes: Pick a sport that everyone knows and loves. Maybe it’s football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, golf, tennis, or even volleyball. Then, pick a game that’s easy to learn and doesn’t require much equipment.
    3. Food: Serve pizza, nachos, popcorn, chips, cookies, and sodas. Anything goes as long as it’s healthy and filling.
    4. Decorations & Music: Set up tables and chairs in the middle of the field or court. Bring in some decorations such as banners, pennants, and flags. Have music playing in the background.
    5. Drinks: Stock up on water, juice boxes, energy drinks, and your drinks of choice. Don’t forget to keep plenty of cups around for refills.

    Pro Tip: The most important thing to keep in mind is safety. Showing team spirit is fine and is encouraged, but don’t push anyone too hard. Keep an eye on kids at all times if you have any in attendance, and make sure there are adults present who know how to handle situations. 

    For an easier time, have someone designated as the referee or a game expert who has some experience officiating sporting events. Also, make sure you have a first aid kit on hand.

    Corporate Virtual & Hybrid Events Ideas

    People in an office celebrating after meeting a goal during a virtual fundraising event

    The worst of the pandemic is finally behind us, and there are many lessons in its wake. One of them is that events need not be strictly in-person; you can hold virtual hybrid events that are just as impactful and as memorable as one attended physically. 

    What’s more, the technology to make this happen has been around for a while now and is readily available to everyone at little to no cost. The following are some event types to explore:

    Virtual Fundraiser Parties

    Fundraising parties are a great way to raise money for causes close to your heart. They’re also a great way to connect with others who share similar interests, which is why they’re often held during social gatherings. 

    But what happens when those social gatherings aren’t happening? Well, you can still throw a fundraiser party virtually, and it won’t be any less of a memorable experience than one held in person.

    Basic items for this event:

  • A laptop computer or tablet
  • A screen projector
  • Microphones, speakers, and a laptop/tablet computer.
  • The fundamentals of your online fundraiser are fairly easy to set up:

    1. The first order of business: decide on a charity or cause to sponsor. If you already have one in mind, great! Otherwise, choose something that’s relevant to your company and/or industry, or something that your attendees are likely to care about in particular.
    2. Next, reach out to the beneficiary of the cause or the nonprofit’s community of staff and volunteers to inform them of your plans. Do this well before the event date, but don’t wait too late because you may miss out on potential sponsors and participants. Once you’ve got their approval, start planning the details of the event. Create an interactive fundraising page on your website where people can donate, register for tickets, and sign up to volunteer.
    3. On your fundraising page you’ll want to include information about the cause, how much you hope to raise, and a link to your website’s event page. Note that not all fundraising platforms are the same; some cater better or have more features related to particular niches such as game development or medical crowdfunding, so make sure to pick one with a niche closely related to your cause.
    4. Finally, invite friends, colleagues, and other like-minded people to attend the virtual event and donate via email or text message.

    There are actually several ways to go about the virtual fundraiser event itself. You can do something as formal as a Virtual Fundraising Gala, or it can be as simple as a Virtual Quiz Night.

    If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our article about the different types of virtual fundraising events.

    Pro Tip: You may think that planning a virtual fundraising event would require a lot of work, but it really isn’t. In fact, most of the time spent planning and organizing the event is done beforehand.

    Once you get started it should only take a few hours. It’s worth noting that if you’re hosting a large number of people, you might want to hire someone to help you manage the logistics of the event.

    3 attendees dancing in front of a projector during a hybrid music festival

    Hybrid Music Festival

    If you want to take things up a notch, try hosting a live music festival — that also takes place online! If you’re wondering if this type of hybrid event is at all novel, no it isn’t. 

    It just used to happen on TV when there were live concert broadcasts. But today, you don’t need all the expensive tech to make it happen for your attendees.

    Basic items for this event:

  • A laptop computer or iPad
  • A microphone, speaker, and a laptop/iPad computer.
  • A livestreaming website like YouTube or Twitch
  • While the tech to make this happen is fairly accessible, you’ll find very quickly that quality radically changes from one event type to another. Production quality, sound, lighting, etc., vary widely depending on what kind of production you want to put together.

    The good news is that you can easily create a high-quality experience without spending a fortune. For example, you could use livestreaming sites to broadcast the event in real-time or create a custom site for your broadcast (if you need help with that, reach out!). 

    Then, you’d simply need a decent enough camera and microphones to capture audio and video during the event. This option is great for small events since you won’t need any fancy equipment. However, if you want to stream a larger event, you’ll likely need to rent a professional setup. 

    Unless you have in-house talent performing (which is perfectly okay if you’re doing this as a company talent show), you’ll probably have to do some outreach to artists performing at your festival to stream their sets. This could mean paying them directly or using a service like GigSalad to connect you with local performers.

    This is a great way to showcase your brand, build awareness, and give back to the community.

    Pro Tip: When it comes to producing a hybrid music festival, you’ll want to choose a location that has a decent amount of space, both for your attendees and for the camera equipment setup.

    Ensure the area where you set up your cameras is relatively quiet so the noise from the crowd won’t interfere with the audio!

    Corporate Events Don't Need to Feel Corporate

    There’s nothing wrong with having a corporate feel to your event. However, sometimes companies forget that not every event needs to be formal and stuffy. At the end of the day, corporate event activities should be an exercise in celebrating, having fun, and giving back, and it’s important to maintain that tone whether you’re planning a small gathering or a massive conference.

    With the right ideas and approach, you can turn any event into something memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved. And if you’ve got any questions about how to pull off a successful virtual event, let us know! We’d be happy to help you turn your corporate event ideas into reality.


    Hybrid Events: 15 Best Practices

    You’ve just sold tickets to your hybrid event. Congratulations, marketing works!

    Of course, the goal is never just to get people in the door or connect online. You don’t want them to be sitting there, yawning their way through the day.

    Executing an event using today’s hybrid event best practices makes a lasting impression on your audience. One that gets them thinking, talking, and coming back for more.

    What is the most successful hybrid event?

    The best hybrid events are a perfect blend of both worlds, providing each audience a different-yet-equal feeling of visceral inclusiveness, whether your attendees are in the second row from the stage or at home, snacking on Oreos in their pajamas.

    Engage participants in a meaningful way to make a long-lasting impact.

    1. Master Successful Event Planning

    Create a good plan for each audience, sharing experiences where it makes sense and providing separate ones when applicable. Do this and be off to a great start!

    Rely on your creative and technical partners to do a lot of the heavy lifting! It’s our job to make sure these things go right, and we know the tips and tricks to get there.

    A successful hybrid event requires that guests are fully engaged with the event from the very beginning.

    How is that achieved, exactly?

    Here are our secret ‘attention-grabbing’ suggestions for planning your next hybrid event.

    2. Powerful Event Content is the Key to Success

    As obvious as it may sound, the ‘meat’ of your event – the content itself – needs to be memorable. It’s got to be clear, incisive, interesting, funny, and perhaps above all else, actionable. The glut of distractions that exist today means you can deliver the most absorbing presentation possible, only for it to be forgotten by the weekend.

    By prompting your audience to take real-world action and implement what they’ve heard, be confident your content will have a long-term impact on both your in-person and virtual attendees.

    How can make your content actionable post-event? Here are 10 ways to increase overall engagement and interest in your event:

    1. Conduct audience surveys before and after the event to get a real understanding of their needs and expectations
    2. During the event, focus on more engagement like live polls, breakout sessions, networking sessions, AMA with the speaker, and more
    3. Include additional organic content that audiences can review during and after the event
    4. Besides your speaker, consider bringing in entertainment, local musicians, and other interesting surprise guests to spice up the content
    5. Offer attendees an exclusive product or discount code
    6. Mix live presentations with interesting pre-recorded content, interactive audience activities, social media discussions, and more
    7. Contests, social media competitions, photo and meme contests, and raffles are great ways to keep audiences engaged and invested
    8. Host a post-event networking session and continue to prompt attendees to nurture new contacts made during the event
    9. Ramp up your website blogs with updated info post-event, fun shareable posts and memes from the event, testimonials, event highlight montages, and more
    10. Host a moderated forum post-event where attendees can build a strong community

    We understand that the biggest challenge of hybrid events is keeping audience members from shutting off, especially online members. You don’t want attendees to forget about what they learned, or worse, go to a competitor.

    Want to know another way to keep your audiences interested and invested post-event?

    After your event, competition for attention can be fierce. How can you keep your event goals fresh in the mind of participants days, weeks, or even months after your hybrid event ends?

    How can you keep the spark alive?

    3. Experiential Marketing at Hybrid Events

    Many marketers today have incorporated experiential marketing techniques into their hybrid events toolbox. What is experiential marketing? An experiential event not only educates participants, but the event also entertains and actively engages them in an innovative and unique way.

    Believe it or not, virtual reality offers hybrid event organizers a truly immersive experience that involves both in-person and online participants. For example, maybe your organization collects donations to reduce deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. An immersive virtual environment where attendees “explore” affected rainforests themselves and see the damage in real-time provides a unique firsthand experience that engages audiences well after the event has ended.

    Experimenting with experiential marketing brings content to life!

    Unleash your creativity. For example, offer to 3D print original designs created by attendees at an engineering conference or start an engaging interactive social media hashtag campaign and photo contest around your primary event goals. Try to break a world record or conduct an unforgettable surprise viral PR stunt.

    Veer away from the standard talking head format and show how innovative your organization can be.

    Build positive experiences that create an authentic lifetime connection to your organization with original engaging marketing.

    Pro Tip: During the 24 hours after your event, take the opportunity to really push your conference goals. For example, if your non-profit organization was raising capital for a cause through donations, share out your donation goals and encourage attendees to continue to donate or match financial contributions immediately after the event. Coordinate a targeted email and interactive texting campaign to meet donation goals. Stay fresh and relevant in their minds.

    4. Big Picture Content Adds a Human Touch

    Don’t be afraid to share some of your ethical values when building out your content. Social justice, climate change, health, and safety – there is seldom a bad time to raise awareness of such big-picture issues. Not just because they are important – human topics of this kind will often resonate with your audience and help establish a sense of trust with your event.

    Your event has the opportunity of providing the personal connection of a like-minded community. Build a safe, open space that fosters deeper relationships and lifelong partnerships. Attendees will feel a sense of belonging that lasts well after the conference ends.

    Use a variety of methods to encourage fruitful conversation and action like AMA sessions with the keynote speaker, opportunities for ask/offer exercises, networking sessions, surveys, and honest moderated discussions about what participants hope to get out of the conference.

    Breakout Sessions to Enact Real-World Change

    Breakout sessions where an experienced virtual emcee moderates a discussion on pressing specific social issues like abolition, food security, or homelessness can help build meaningful connections that can orchestrate change in the real world. In fact, this real-life application of conference content ensures your attendees will stay connected to your organization and mission.

  • Connect those who have needs with those who have resources
  • Brainstorm ways to address important social issues
  • Pool together skills and ideas
  • Plan how to move forward with goals post-event
  • Create a safe space to discuss controversial, difficult issues
  • Envision ideas that can have real-world impact
  • Build a coalition of like-minded individuals who have common social goals
  • Your hybrid conference need not be limited to two days. Instead, your hybrid conference can have long-reaching effects that reach the far corners of the world.

    Connecting Across the Digital Divide

    One of the key promises of hybrid events is that barriers don’t exist. No matter where someone lives, their finances, or their abilities, they can actively participate in your event if you plan it with everyone in mind. This means that individuals attending online can build relationships with in-person guests with careful event planning.

    Make the extra effort to foster relationship-building
    between online attendees and those physically present.

    You never know. Your event may launch the idea that will ultimately transform the climate crisis, find a way to get fresh water to struggling cities or enact meaningful prison reform. But you need to take the time to build safe communities across all platforms.

    Social media, virtual reality meeting places, interactive photo boards, and networking sessions are all ways to encourage collaboration between virtual and in-person audiences.

    Personalize Efforts

    Many times event organizers become bogged down by the great number of tasks before them. That is understandable. Depending on the scope of your event, you may be involving dozens or even hundreds of moving parts to make a successful conference.

    No matter how large your event, make the extra effort to personalize outreach efforts.

    What does this involve? You can personalize everything from emails to invites. Are there specific organizations or community groups you want to involve? Reach out to them with a personal invitation that highlights how their organization’s values and mission align with your event. Other ideas include:

  • Pre-registration invitations
  • Personalized thank-you cards
  • Personal calls
  • Custom swag
  • Follow-up calls and emails
  • Personalized reminders
  • If possible, take the time to find out the names of key actors in an organization, community, or movement. A personalized letter, meeting, or call builds a meaningful connection with your organization. They will remember that you took the time to personally reach out. In our impersonal digitized world, that human touch, connecting across communities, will make a world of difference.

    5. How Do I Choose the Best Keynote Speaker?

    Everyone has found themself in one of those tedious talks where the speaker is rambling on for what feels like weeks, and you’re doing everything in your power to keep your eyes open. Yawn! Without a seasoned speaker who can reach all audiences – virtual and in-person – you might find that all your planning falls flat.

    Besides choosing content that has real-world value,
    don’t forget the power of hiring an engaging keynote speaker.

    Needless to say, if you want your audience fully locked in, then you don’t want boring speakers. On the contrary, the stars of your show need to be compelling, on stage and in front of the camera.

    Admittedly finding speakers that are equally adept at both isn’t always straightforward (though they’re definitely out there), but you can always give your chosen speaker training in their areas of weakness. In fact, that’s something we highly recommend. Not all speakers understand exactly what a hybrid event is and how it is different than a live conference.

    The value of your speakers goes beyond just what they do on stage – as fountains of knowledge, you want to extract as much as you can out of them. That could mean recording separate interviews/talks prior to the main event, which could then be posted exclusively online. Or even involving them in virtual breakout sessions, where your online audience has the choice to watch different talks where and when they please.

    What Makes a Good Hybrid Event Keynote Speaker?

    Good keynote speakers at an on-site event know how to truly take hold of an audience and keep that hold while they ride the wave of their presentation through to its conclusion. The best can make a 45-minute discussion feel like only 15, and yet attendees still come away with the full book of knowledge just imparted to them.

    Good online speakers can do the same thing, but it’s only the rarest of individuals that can appeal equally to both audiences at the same time.

    Thankfully many of the best keynote speakers and corporate executives used the opportunity presented by the pandemic to pivot their stage skills to the webcam and now have experience with both.

    Taking moments to point out [consenting] members of the local audience –, followed by the same thing but from the gallery view of the virtual audience – is a great way to win points from both angles.

    Speaking to the cameras as often as one speaks to the local audience earns more rapport than most realize. Making certain primary speakers and panel moderators are comfortable relating to two audiences at once can go a long way to making everyone feel included. A good production provider can help train the less confident speakers.

    How to Coach a Speaker for a Hybrid Event

    Check that your speakers know how to work with a hybrid audience and understand the technical requirements needed for the session. The reality is that a lot of speakers have specifically mastered the art of talking to live audiences. They may also have given online presentations. But addressing two separate audiences at the same time? They may need extra coaching to help them successfully engage all of your conference attendees.

    If possible, take the time to meet with the speaker ahead of time to test audio, video, and the internet connection. Tweak any problems ahead of time. If the speaker is virtual, have them test their microphone, speaker set-up, and settings.

    Some great tips for your speaker:

  • Whether remote or in person, check for proper lighting, backgrounds, and sound
  • Learn to connect with live audiences and the camera (for virtual attendees) 
  • Address both types of attendees directly
  • Work with a moderator to answer questions and respond to comments during the session
  • Encourage hybrid interaction during the talk via emojis, responding in chat, polls, etc.
  • Don’t forget to engage emotionally with all attendees
  • Avoid reading from a script, instead, use bullet points and speak off the cuff
  • Time to Take a Break

    That feeling of inclusion shouldn’t be placed on the shoulders of presenters alone. Taking breaks is important, whether sitting in a cold hotel ballroom or at the kitchen table at home.

    Why do hybrid event attendees need a break in the first place?

    In-person participants, of course, would want time to go to the bathroom, socialize, and catch a bite to eat. For attendees at home, distractions can lead to much lower participation. Additionally, attending an event in person leads to greater engagement, more meaningful interactions, and perks like cool swag, interactive demonstrations, testing products, and even free samples.

    Make your virtual attendees feel as special and important as your in-person guests.

    Avoid hitting participants over the head too much with intellectual lectures and hours of non-stop content. Rest will leave people feeling more energetic and excited about your event. Always leave room for organic interaction, socializing, and free unstructured time. Overloading participants with too much data can lead to a painful brain overload.

    Be creative with your activities during break time. Offer a variety of interesting options like:

  • Bring in a corporate chair yoga specialist or enterprise health coordinator to get local attendees up and moving
  • Encourage your virtual emcee to play games and moderate a free-form discussion
  • Use breaks for giveaways, fun contests, and photo competitions
  • Hire a wellness coach to lead calming mindfulness exercises for all guests
  • Bring in well-known entertainment to provide levity
  • Hire regional musicians to play a short set during breaks
  • Encourage social media twitterstorms with the event hashtag during breaks
  • Keep your participants active and engaged when you give them an opportunity to take a break and breathe.

    6. How to Host an Exciting Hybrid Event Experience

    Your in-person audience is naturally going to have a more “intimate” experience than your virtual crowd. We’re talking about rubbing shoulders with old and new acquaintances, interacting face-to-face, and possibly having a round of drinks, versus sitting behind a laptop while a toddler cries in the background.

    It’s not comparable. And really, it shouldn’t be.

    Virtual participation is its own thing – attempting to recreate the on-the-ground experience via web stream is unrealistic. Instead, give your online attendees the best possible experience that they can have.

  • Employ a moderator or online host to help give them a voice
  • Replace the in-person social benefits they’ll miss out on with an online discussion hub/chat room
  • Maximize their involvement to ensure they truly feel part of the event
  • The goal should always be to put on a hybrid event that creates an equally lasting impression for your two audiences. It’s a tall task, but by putting yourself in the shoes of each, and paying extra attention to the little details, you increase the likelihood of your event being an incredible success.

    Get a hybrid event strategy session now – and save!

    Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

    7. How Do I Captivate My Audience?

    Community is a big part of what makes live events so rewarding, and with hybrid, it’s no different. The “buy-in” of your combined audiences is usually reflected in the communal atmosphere of your event, so it’s your duty to facilitate easy interaction between everyone at the party.

    Online discussion platforms and private chat communities are an ideal way to bring physical and virtual attendees together while the event is taking place. Other ideas include:

  • Combine different forms of media and content
  • Choose live streaming over pre-recordings (or combine both)
  • Include hybrid networking opportunities
  • Encourage post-event connections and community
  • Incorporate hybrid social events
  • Always make the event fun and relaxed
  • In many ways, it’s appropriate – and even necessary – to treat virtual and on-site audiences differently. But it’s just as important to make them feel included in the event as a whole. The bonding experience of presenting polls that can be answered regardless of location cannot be overstated.

    A successful hybrid event gives virtual participants the same benefits and opportunities as their in-person counterparts. Enabling your online audience to interact with the onsite event is a great way to show you have them in mind, and reduces any sense of FOMO that they might experience.

    8. Hybrid Events Best Practices for Connecting Audiences

    Admittedly finding ways to connect people attending in person with those sitting at home remains one of the biggest challenges for hybrid events. What should be your goal?

    Focus on connecting like-minded participants into a single space regardless of location.

    But how can you help online audiences meet and connect with your physical audience?

    Use existing platform technologies so all participants can exchange contact information through user profiles no matter how they choose to attend the event. Provide additional reference materials and downloads through the platform’s social hub or by way of QR codes. Post-event, encourage meet-ups and online community.

    And try these interesting interactive experiences to encourage long-term relationships.

    Foster Connection and Community with Conversation

    Many virtual tools will include ways to create small breakout sessions. Create a variety of breakout sessions of no more than a dozen participants each. Sessions should combine both in-person and online attendees. Organize sessions around anything from topics to specific goals to geographic regions.

    Use Virtual Reality Tools and Technology to Create Engaging Virtual Spaces

    Virtual reality continues to play an increasingly important role in hybrid events. In fact, even social media megaliths like Meta have shifted to create interactive virtual reality meeting spaces for the very purpose of connecting people across borders and communities. Creating an interesting digital space where in-person attendees and online audiences can connect and communicate in real time can provide extra value and engagement for all involved.

    Try Speed Networking Sessions to Connect Participants

    A popular concept – speed dating – can be applied to your hybrid event. In speed dating, randomized participants have a few minutes to interact with someone before switching to another person. While this concept for dating might yield uneven results, a quick “speed networking” session between online and in-person participants can create a fun and meaningful opportunity.

    Pro Tip: Inclusivity not only helps all the participants, but also helps to gather far more robust analytics, which can easily translate into better future attendance numbers, gross ROI, and increased sales and contributions.

    9. Different Audiences Have Different Needs, and That’s Okay

    Try as you may, you’ll never be able to provide a completely uniform experience for your two audiences. And that is okay. It’s almost expected. But instead of thinking of this as a challenge, see it as a welcome opportunity to truly create an unforgettable interactive experience. Think about catering to the specific needs of each audience.

    For example, one of the main selling points of virtual attendance is that it’s meant to be convenient and accessible.

    Having the virtual participants mirror every activity of the in-person audience (or vice versa) is not practical or engaging.

    Compromise by having them join the same session at alternative times, or giving them the chance to rewind and catch up on any action they may miss via video and social media.

    10. Hire an Experienced Virtual Host

    Compared to being on the ground with a name tag, virtual attendance can become a little boring. Don’t make your virtual audience log on and just sit there feeling lost – you need a charismatic, professionally trained host to make them feel part of the event.

    A virtual emcee gives the online audience true representation and helps bridge the gap between virtual and live events. They’re here to answer questions, connect with the venue host/speakers, and really just ensure that anyone participating in their slippers will be heard.

    The virtual emcee does more than speak into a mic and moderate events. In many ways, the virtual emcee is your events coach, encouraging participants and speakers to have meaningful interactions and stepping in when things get a little bumpy. Some things a virtual emcee might do include:

    1. Conduct a sound check with the speaker
    2. Encourage the speaker and ensure they are comfortable
    3. Warm up the audience for the speaker
    4. Check camera angles and work with the team to ensure the best experience for all
    5. Coach speakers, especially those new to hybrid events
    6. Capture the attention of online participants
    7. Instruct audiences on how to use the event platform, log in, create a profile, etc.
    8. Moderate and encourage good discussion in the sessions and breakout rooms
    9. Hype up the audience for the next event
    10. Create a personalized experience for attendees

    A virtual emcee has several challenges, not the least of which is keeping individuals engaged that might be ready to tune out after an hour or two of video conferencing. An experienced virtual emcee can help make your event unforgettable and exciting.

    While in-person participants often plan to attend each event and often have traveled a long distance specifically for the conference, many online participants are busily multitasking. They may have multiple commitments and distractions occurring offline. Additionally, they might be half-listening in their pajamas or have the event playing in the background while they work.

    A virtual emcee realizes engaging virtual audiences involves an entirely different dynamic. They have mastered flexibility and communication across all platforms.

    In fact, hosting a conference virtually may have more challenges than hosting a traditional event. Because of this, be sure that your host has significant experience with hybrid audiences and has the adaptability, skills, and likable personality ideal for your event.

    11. Maximize Replay Views & Post-Event Engagement

    Didn’t get ‘em the first time around? That’s why recording your event is so important. The longevity of your content depends not just on how good it is, but on its continued existence out there on the web.

    Allow your attendees to go back and rewatch as many times as they need. Encourage them to comment on videos, ask questions, and share on social media. Use hybrid events best practices for making the most of event recordings and maximize long-term engagement.

    A good event takes on a life of its own, even after everyone’s flown home or logged off. Replays are GOLD! Just because folks have been offered a choice to attend in person or via the web doesn’t necessarily mean those dates and times worked for them.

    Being able to go back and watch the programming later is a huge boon for those who missed it, those who want to clarify a topic, or even those who found out too late. This is all capturable data as well as being perfect hype material for the next event.

    Pro Tip: Make redundant recordings in case one gets interrupted. We usually make one recording online and one locally.

    12. Always Rehearse On-Site to Prevent Technical Challenges of Hybrid Events

    Technology is great, as long as it is working! The best bet is: assume nothing is working properly and don’t panic. Test everything before the show. Sound, lighting, audio equipment – it all needs to be tested with both audiences in mind.

    Technical difficulties are no fun for those in the venue and can be an even bigger source of frustration for the virtual crowd.

    A hybrid event depends on your networking platform functioning correctly, so check that it works and is a positive user experience for virtual participants.

    Ensuring your venue’s bandwidth is up to the task is also critical to your event’s success. If attendees can’t connect or keep getting kicked off the network, say goodbye to that glowing feedback.

    Pro Tip: One of the biggest problems with virtual events is clipping speaker audio. Clipping occurs when the sound in the mic is so loud that it distorts the audio. Clipping audio not only makes the speaker unintelligible, but the audio can also hurt listeners’ ears or even break computer speakers! When you test speaker audio, if the sound distorts, ask them to lower the mic volume and move the mic further away from their mouth. If they often yell or speak loudly, move the mic much farther away. An inexpensive pop filter can also help reduce clipping.

    13. How to Keep People Engaged After the Event is Over

    But what about when it’s all over?

    You need to make it easy for attendees to stay in touch. Use the technological tools available to you. Make it easy for your audience members to create an online profile in your event hub and share their social media/contact details with others. QR codes with said information are also money in this situation – giving attendees the ability to easily create and share them makes networking that much simpler.

    Segmenting content is another plan for keeping up the momentum. If you keep to the adage of “record everything!” the potential is there to create short training pieces, social media clips, and teasers for later content. Keep that ball rolling!

    14. Survey Your Audience & Speakers to Design the Best Hybrid Event

    Unless the audience is adequately tended to and nurtured, it won’t bear fruit. The impact you make on your audience comes down to the details. Leave no stone unturned! Your hybrid event doesn’t need to be perfect, but there is always an opportunity to learn and make improvements before the next one. With that in mind, don’t forget to collect feedback after the event – your attendees will usually tell you everything you need to know!

    Need help making your event truly hybrid?

    We & Goliath specializes in the art of event production, with two separate audiences. Get in touch for a free strategy session.


    Hybrid Event Engagement Tips to Make Your Event a Success

    Excitement. Camaraderie. A palpable sense of togetherness.

    This is what we feel every time we walk into an in-person event. This is what drives us even more to gather together after two years of virtual solitude.

    And yet we’ve found so much value to be had from virtual that the hybrid event format is becoming the gold standard … but only when done well.

    Virtual attendees are every bit as important to the success of hybrid events as local attendees are, but all too often can be made to feel like they’re relegated to the cheap seats and their attendance matters little, if at all.

    Your online audience is We & Goliath’s primary focus.

    These tips and tricks can go a long way towards making a giant impact as you grow a national or even global audience!

    Easy Ways to Engage Virtual Attendees in a Hybrid Event

    Start Here: No-Cost Methods to Bring the Voice of Remote Attendees Into the Room

    The easiest way to go beyond a passive live stream is to forward chat messages and questions from online attendees to speakers, who read those messages from stage

    Don’t forget to verbally ask the online attendees for this feedback so they feel invited and included. It sounds obvious, but many speakers aren’t used to doing it, so it does take some reminders and examples to ensure it happens.

    So, how do you get online responses to the speakers?

    In a premium production setup, questions are often shown to speakers on confidence monitors (small displays facing the stage). 

    Or, here are two no-cost methods to forward those messages from remote attendees to in-person speakers:

    1. A support staff can filter and read these out to the speakers on a mic (representing your online audience)

    2. If you have a podium, the speakers can simply read messages directly off a mobile phone or laptop.

    Pro Tip: Don’t underestimate the power of chat. Asking questions throughout a presentation and reading off funny or insightful responses goes a long way to making people feel included.

    Offer Exclusive Online-Only Q&A Sessions with Speakers

    Make your online attendees feel special with some exclusive speaker access. This helps overcome the FOMO of not being in-person. 

    Here’s an easy way to do it:

    Consider asking speakers to join the chat after their sessions and reply to some questions and comments from the virtual attendees that didn’t have time to be answered in person. 

    Pro Tip: Take it a step further by hosting an exclusive Q&A on video! Right after the speaker comes off stage, they’re usually fired up. Capture that energy in a rapid fire Q&A just for remote attendees.

    Collect Comments & Takeaways As Social Post Replies for Tons of Free Views

    At the end of a session, ask everyone to share their takeaways as a reply to a post you make on your favorite Social channel. 

    What’s so special about that?

    This is a great way to hack the social media algorithms because, by getting a high number of replies and reactions to a single post, your post will be shown at the top of people’s feeds, piquing new interest in your events

    Pro Tip: For bonus points, request the social post replies from the stage, and flash a QR code that links right to the post on screen with a matching link in the chat; then watch the engagement roll in from both audiences!

    Give an Attendance Award to Keep People Watching

    One way to maximize viewing time is to announce that at a few random times throughout the event, you’ll be giving out secret keywords people can use to enter a prize drawing. Use survey software to capture and score the responses. Pick a random winner from the list of everyone who gets a 100% score and get ready to watch your average session view time skyrocket.

    Pro Tip: This same method works great if you need to verify attendance to give out CEUs (continuing education units).

    Customize Instructions for Both Audiences from Stage to Prevent Confusion

    If you don’t have a dedicated virtual host, you’ll need to give speakers  a script to announce any special instructions for virtual guests like what to do during breaks, and how to interact at key times – such as responding to questions or polls. 

    Pro Tip: If you have a producer running a custom livestream you can show instructions on slides for virtual attendees only so your host doesn’t have to read them off. And of course, those same instructions and any action links should be placed in the chat.

    Use Hand Raise Polls for Instant-Feedback

    Run a quick “pulse-of-the-room” poll asking your virtual attendees to raise their hand and then do the same for your in-person attendees, showing each audience on screen. Asking people to do simple physical actions keeps them awake and engaged too.

    Offer Virtual-only Content like On-Demand Videos, Breakouts, Workshops, and more.

    Give attendees opportunities for deeper levels of engagement with each other and your content with virtual-only workshops, breakouts or networking sessions. This can be offered while similar content is happening in person or during breaks and mealtimes. If your whole event is in Zoom or similar software, virtual production staff can push people to and from breakouts, sending messages, and countdown clocks. At larger conferences, you might have multiple simultaneous virtual workshops, which each offer small group breakouts. With a custom livestream, you can introduce this virtual-only content on screen along with chat messages to guide attendees.

    Get a hybrid event strategy session now – and save!

    Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

    Advanced Engagement Strategies for Hybrid Events

    Project Virtual Attendees & Their Reactions into the Room

    Instead of the no-cost approach of having speakers check virtual responses on their phone we can project content from the virtual attendees to confidence monitors or screens around the room. This could include featured questions and comments being shown on screen. A gallery view of attendees on the side wall for example is a great way for speakers and in-person attendees to see and interact with the virtual audience, and is a pre-requisite for our next strategy…

    Have Fun & Liven Things Up with Follow the Leader Dance Breaks

    Many long events have guided stretch breaks to wake people up. Let’s take that up a notch! Liven up an event and give the virtual attendees some love with “follow the leader” dance breaks between sessions where you spotlight some of the best virtual dancers making them full screen, and have everyone else (including the in person attendees) follow their dance moves. Each time the spotlight changes, the audiences follows the new leader. This is a super fun, empowering, and bonding activity that literally puts your virtual audience in the spotlight.

    Tip: Have a few initial dance leaders planned who will set the tone with fun, easy-to-follow moves.

    Merge Your Audience Input with Combined Chat, Q&A & Poll Data

    It sounds simple, but one of the best ways to get virtual attendees to feel included is by, well, including their opinions on equal footing with your local audience. By posting a QR code on screen and matching it with a clickable link in the virtual chat, you can gather heaps of aggregate data from both audience segments and discuss it in real-time. Make sure your local attendees can submit and upvote questions in the same Q&A space as your online attendees, and give your presenters an opportunity to answer those questions both on-stage and off. Encourage your local attendees to jump into the online chat with their phones so all your attendees have a chance to interact. You’ll be amazed by how many, “Hey! I see you’s” pop up when friends recognize friends.

    Tip: Be sure the app/link you give local attendees doesn’t easily let them unmute the livestream or you’ll have a lot of “ssshhh”ing going on.

    Hire a Virtual Emcee to Maximize Engagement & Interactivity

    Want to truly maximize interactivity for your online attendees? Provide a dedicated remote host or emcee to augment your on-site presenters. This person would occasionally take over the livestream to help give some extra, specific attention to your online audience, helping to add some additional value to the virtual content. By including a virtual emcee, you can turn time that’s otherwise wasteful to your online attendees – such as on-site announcements, quick coffee breaks, or even long pauses between on-stage speakers – to your advantage by flipping their experience from passive watching to active engagement.

    Tip: Ideally, the virtual host is counted in and out by a technical director to maintain a tight run-of-show. Otherwise, they may accidentally talk over main-stage content, or stop talking too early and leave everyone with an awkward gap.

    Multistream Teaser Content to Social Channels to Increase Reach & Registrations

    Even at a paid event, you might consider streaming out your opening plenary or keynote to social media for free. We can “multistream” to one or more Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin, and Twitter pages simultaneously! Livestream video gets the most organic reach of any content on social media, so you’ll reach followers who may not have seen any of your pre-event messages. Of course, you’ll want to include a shout out to the social audience and invite them to sign up to join the rest of the event. This can be a great way to capture last minute registrations


    Get permission to stream to the pages of your key speakers, sponsors and partners to increase your reach to the fullest.

    Offer streams in multiple languages with a real time interpreter.

    Use a tool to aggregate and reply to comments from those social platforms in one place and even show them on screen with the person’s name and photo!

    Mail Your Remote Guests an Event Kit & Tell Them When & How to Use It

    Send a virtual swag box with branded and sponsor gifts,  snacks, etc.

    Consider including physical reaction cards with words or emojis allowing you to visually pull the audience from the stage. These are great when glued on popsicle sticks so attendees can easily hold up a visual response. If you’re projecting gallery view into the room, you could pan through 50 attendees at a time, showing your speakers and in-person attendees the virtual real time responses. And if budgets are tight, offer up a web page full of free, printable “reactions” that attendees’ children can color in advance of the event, adding an even bigger personal touch to the experience.

    In summary, the main way to engage your virtual attendees is simply to pay an equal amount of attention to them as you will your on-site audience! It’s about making all of your guests feel seen, heard, and included.

    With all the details of a hybrid event to manage, it’s often easy to overlook the less quantifiable metric of emotional value your audience is going to place on the event. In other words, most of your competitors aren’t doing it, and that gives you a chance to surprise and delight. We say, let next-level engagement become your competitive advantage!

    By making your events equally as memorable for each segment of your audience, you’re investing in their buy-in for the next event. That is the most important investment you can make in your events, and often the easiest way to make a GIANT impact.

    Need Support Implementing Next-Level Engagement in Your Hybrid Events?

    It probably goes without saying, but hybrid event production is our specialty, so if you need any support implementing these engagement strategies, we’d love to help! Don’t be shy to reach out for a free strategy session with one of our senior event strategists.


    Step Up Your Livestream with… Not Live?

    Pre-recorded video footage is not the first thing people think about when planning virtual events. They envision panelists, performers and plenary speakers in their raw, real-time broadcast.

    But pre-recorded content can be a game-changer for your virtual event strategy. It can be used to promote the event and mobilize registrants. It can be spliced into a livestream interview or presentation.

    If you’re reading this, you’re obviously smart enough to save your business or organization lots of money by taking events virtual. Invest part of that surplus in pre-recorded video, and you can do things like:

    ☑ Create a seamless brand or cause narrative before, throughout, and after your event.
    ☑ Get more bang on your production budget dollar. 
    ☑ Problem-solve the conflicting schedules of speakers, celebrities, and others of prominence.
    ☑ Engage your registrants/attendees with tips & teasers in a cause-conscious voice.
    ☑ Bridge the gap between time zones and geography to create shared experiences.

    The list could go on, and it will. 

    If done strategically, pre-recorded video production creates lasting, shareable marketing assets at scale, alongside your virtual events and brand story.

    Benefits of Pre-Recorded Video

    Picture this: You’ve done your research on the benefits of virtual events. You’ve surveyed peers in your professional network. You’ve assessed vendors, event platforms, producers and strategists.

    Most importantly: You have the green light from your decision makers to invest in virtual events. But how should you invest? Pre-recorded video production will be a key consideration. To help you understand why, we’ll cover some benefits.

    Minimize your Margin of Error

    Pre-recorded content requires more planning and pre-production but eases the stress levels on the day(s) of the event. After all, one reason you’re investing in pre-recorded content is to ensure that fewer things will go wrong. The more that you can “set it and forget it,” the more time you have for other concerns, like backstage prep for livespeakers.

    Resolve Conflicting Schedules

    Pre-recorded video helps organizations realize numerous creative and promotional opportunities. But oftentimes the primary reason for choosing this production medium is to resolve conflicting schedules. This is especially helpful in cases where presenters are in radically different time zones. It also helps when your event includes celebrities or other people of prominence, whose schedules and travel considerations can be challenging.

    Creative Opportunities Abound

    True, pre-recorded content makes many aspects of virtual event management easier. But it is more than a means to an end; it’s an opportunity to showcase your creativity. To leave your audience with a “wow” factor.

    The livestream elements of your event may be impressive, but they’re subject to the rough edges of any livestream production — the unexplainable feed glitch, the speaker who left himself on mute, etc. A pre-recorded segment allows you to polish the imperfections, and add elements like synchronized, split-screen displays (e.g., speaker on the left; presentation notes on the right), documentary footage, and B-roll.

    Micro Content Creation

    The investment that you put into creativity only increases the value of the video asset that you create. Anticipate the role this content can play after the event, not just during. With this lens, you can create content that tells a timeless story. This is also your chance to curate the “perfect scenario” of brand voice, messaging, and call to action.

    That said, be sure to future-proof your production plan on pre-recorded video. Avoid messaging that might date or limit the impact of your content. Identify snippets that can be packaged into “shorts.” Utilize these independent segments in future social media posts, advertisements, and website/blog content.

    Improve the Accessibility of Your Virtual Event

    Any savvy marketer knows the importance of accessibility — accurate closed captioning, thorough information describing & identifying the video, a picture-in-picture interpreter. A pre-recorded video production is an opportunity to check all the boxes in accessibility. It’s also an opportunity to set the tone for your other post-event video productions (i.e., recordings of the livestream footage). If you’re working with a production agency, this is a good time to negotiate accessibility standards on all the footage they produce for you.

    Data-Informed Sneak Preview

    Pre-recorded video that is aired before or during an event can provide a “sneak preview” of how your audience will react to your content. Metrics like drop off rates, shares and time-of-day activity can help inform the way you engage with your audience during the crucial weeks after the event.

    Build Confidence & Authority

    Businesses and organizations that have invested in pre-recorded video production usually enter into their livestream production with greater confidence. Why? Because they’ve been through a process that forced them to revise and refine their messaging points. They already know how their brand and call to action are supposed to look and function in the spotlight.

    Livestream vs. Pre-recorded Video

    The benefits of pre-recorded video make it clear when and why this format is preferred over livestream. A general rule of thumb is to leverage livestreaming to enhance the participatory, community-engaging and conversational elements of your event.

    Take the example from above about the conflicting schedules of celebrities and persons of prominence. What about those whose schedules are a perfect fit? These people suddenly become key assets to your livestream experience. Attendees can access and engage with them in real time. This raw exclusivity provides value to day-of attendees and even to post-event recordings and highlight videos.

    However your pre-recorded vs. livestream production efforts shake out, it is important to be transparent with your audience. Communicate what they are about to see and why. When prompted, people usually accept the media format for what it is.

    And pre-recorded content doesn’t preclude interaction! These same celebrities can interact with both in-person and virtual-only audiences (in the cases of hybrid events) through moderated chat and other interactivity.

    Use Cases for Pre-Recorded Videos at Virtual Events

    Pre-recorded video can play a key role before, during and after your virtual or hybrid event. The common thread running through each case is that the message, timing and delivery are under your control. This is why it is important to take inventory of all the scenarios in which pre-recorded video can be put to use.

    Besides, video production is an investment. You want to multiply those assets into as many usable formats as the budget allows.

    Promote Your Event with Pre-recorded Video

    Event promotion is one of the most common use cases of pre-recorded video. Pre-recorded video offers the perfect formula for everything a promo needs to be: A concise, catchy, controlled message that includes event details and calls to action.

    Popular components of promotional video content include teasers of what to expect (e.g., celebrity performance), quick-take interviews with speakers, testimonials and video and photographic footage of past events. The message itself can range from registration reminders to the announcement of a contest or some other unique feature of the event.

    An important guideline in producing promotional content is consistency of message and experience. The look, feel and orientation of your video content should “be at home” with the landing page, email campaigns and social posts that promote it.

    Pre-recorded Video During Your Event