Hybrid event presentations: how to balance engagement between external and personal audiences

Online business opportunities have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic, as marketers turned to webinars and digital presentations. And while live features are slowly returning, many offices are maintaining remote or hybrid workstyles, meaning virtual participation is built to last.

But marketers must resist the temptation to simply add a live stream to in-person opportunities without changing their approach.

So if marketers want to provide live leads and make the most of conversational opportunities, it’s important to understand how to reach external audiences. By understanding why people’s attention is distracted and how best to fight it, marketers can make their intervention sessions more useful on hybrid occasions.

Keep people energized with presentations

Distraction often occurs when people try to escape unpleasant feelings such as boredom, fatigue, or stress. Minimizing these emotions is one of the most important factors in keeping people engaged, especially domestic workers, whose boredom is likely to run high.

Let the distant audience feel involved

People who find themselves at home miss the social interactions that happen at live events, and this feeling of being on the periphery can increase stress levels. Three-quarters (78%) of Canva respondents agree that promoting the inclusion and participation of remote and local workers is a challenge.

Happy relationships between people increase the levels of our pleasure hormone, which immediately reduces anxiety and improves concentration. This insight can be applied to presentations at hybrid events, praising the audience and directly approaching remote participants to get them involved.

Another way to build a relationship with the audience is to ensure that presenters have a human story and give them space to show their personalities.

The technology can also be used to engage people in remote and face-to-face environments. For example, the public can be encouraged to take a questionnaire, ask questions on their phones, or respond to a survey.

Be short and shareable 

Most presentations and conversations last an hour or more, but very long presentations are a common frustration for audiences, according to Canva research. If your online event consists of a long presentation with little variety, you can be sure that most people will play in the end.

Rather than trying to fill a predetermined time, think of ways to get the basics and set your schedule. If a presentation can’t be shortened, take frequent breaks to ask questions or add a mix of media formats to separate things.

It’s also important to think about what happens after the presentation. Most virtual events are recorded so they can be shared online so the audience can enjoy their time. If a presentation is particularly interesting or engaging, it can lead to a much wider audience than the ability to share.

Giving people the ability to watch whenever they want also allows them to focus on the parts of the presentation that are most relevant to them.

Get used to the hybrid event experience

Marketers reacted quickly to adapting their opportunities to remote workers, with 59% saying they expected to continue working from home to some extent, according to a Canva survey. This means that marketers face the new challenge of serving a live and remote audience at the same time, and refinement of strategy is needed.

As circumstances change, we can already see leading technology companies introducing new visual and shareable aspects to their presentations to engage audiences in different working environments. Ultimately, those who lead and produce the most engaging hybrid events for customers and prospects are more likely to get the brand recognition and sales lead they want.