A hybrid show floor stand-out in two dimensions!

@ Tweeter Linder 2023 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock. 

The transition from in-person and virtual to hybrid events changes the experience for both presenters and audiences. On a hybrid show floor, you shift from a single type of presentation reality (in-person OR virtual) and a single type of audience into a mixed scenario. 

Why it matters: Cutbacks on travel, and two years of virtual only, change the audiences we will serve from hybrid show floors. 

A classic show floor for in-person audiences

An environment we know very well, characterized by: 

  • demo stations in larger booths 
  • experts with a story and visual support 
  • face-time with a small group of visitors at a time
  • 5-10 minutes visits per station 
  • Stories that are gradually evolving and sharpest in the afternoon on the show’s last day. 

This setup will remain for single audience-type events where all attendees attend in person. These events move towards exclusive and tailored experiences for senior audiences. 

Two audiences of different nature 

The first challenge when designing a hybrid show floor is to describe the two audiences:

👥 intimate in-person visits, senior attendees, researched and planned. 

🌎 global, regional, or company-specific diverse group groups attending virtually. 

The target experience varies by industry, type of event, and geographical location, but the two persona descriptions are central to the experience design. 

Your experience design results in two specific experiences your team needs to be able to deliver. The dual nature of hybrid experiences costs more to prepare and is harder to execute. 

Prepare your show floor talent for hybrid success!

Make sure your talent on the hybrid show floor understands their more extensive scope. A scope where you have a variation in how individual talent will respond.

Some are great at delivering an in-person experience but feel less uncomfortable in front of a camera. You can help prepare your talent with simple exercises like:

📝 Script stories for delivery without visual support

🎥 Train on delivery in front of the camera ahead of the event

👥 Pair them up with a moderator, who takes off a part of the delivery burden. 

Great in-person speakers grow with the proper training for the expanded hybrid scope. 

Moderation on the hybrid show floor 

A host or moderator plays multiple roles at a hybrid event where they:

  • serve as a proxy for the audience
  • share the delivery burden with speakers 
  • provide a bridge between sessions with interstitials and audience questions 

Seasoned hybrid speakers work best with light moderation. The host or moderator provides guardrails for the conversation and secures the speaker covers all planned bases within a given time frame. 

The host/moderator plays a more vital role for less experienced speakers. First, build up the speakers’ confidence and ability to deliver on a larger scope. Second, supporting in crisping up their stories, as the virtual part requires quick and concise delivery. 

A good moderator can support both types of talent and tailor their approach to each speaker’s personality. In this role, hosts and moderators must put their egos at home and focus on letting all talent in the show shine. 

Cinematography on the hybrid show floor 

The virtual side of the delivery relies on advanced technology to reach the required quality levels. You can explore vlogging-like setups for smaller events, but larger productions require a professional approach. 

I start by considering three base arrangements for the camera and associated light and audio 

  • single stationary camera setup covering both speakers and any demo or planned visual support 
  • a steady cam, moving between demo stations for larger productions  
  • dual camera, one each for the host/moderator and speakers

You can use wired handheld, wireless lapel, or head-mounted microphones 🎤 across all three scenarios. Light is easier to get, perfect for stationary single-camera solutions, and harder for steady-cam realizations. 

A few questions for you and your team

  1. How mature are we in delivering hybrid experiences? 
  2. Which gap can we close with near-term efforts? 
  3. Which delivery options fit in your budget frame 🔲 ? 
  4. What will it take to train talent to master the dual delivery expectations? 
  5. Which technology ambitions works with your fit risk and cost?
  6. What defines your risk and cost profile? 

Additional reading suggestions 

📖 Hybrid trade-shows: best practices, ideas, and tools [BLOGPOST] – by Karoline Miles 

📖 Hybrid: The guide to in-person events with a virtual audience [BLOGPOST] – by Chaviva Gordon-Bennet 

📖 Event Strategy: Balancing virtual components from your in-person events for success [BLOGPOST] – by Kortney Philips

📖 How event speakers can rock hybrid presentations [BLOGPOST] – by Evenium 

BOTTOM LINE: Hybrid event deliveries cost more and are more demanding for talent, moderators, and technology. But they are a great way to extend reach when your audience does not travel to events as they did in the past. 

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