29 September 2022
Practice Makes Perfect – The rules of Preparation
The final blog in this 3 part series. Is a deeper look into the final preparation and wrap up for your event. Lets take a look at rehearsals. Set up time and technical checks etc that shouldn’t be forgotten.
But before we get into that, welcome back, or hello for the first time! This blog series was made with the purpose to explore hybrid events. All our dos and do-nots to help you get the most out of this rapidly growing and popular event format.
Hybrid technology may be new(ish) to many of us in the world of commercial events. But many of the planning phases and considerations are not. If you are familiar with live event planning, hybrid events will come with ease after a little practice and delicate preparation.
“A Technician will never claim to pull a 4 speaker PA system out of a hat”
First things first, set up time! – In my last blog, I talked a lot about AV tech and your chosen AV team. They will supply and deliver the majority of your event. All you need to do is provide the presenters and the content. However AV equipment doesn’t just appear and work within a matter of minutes. We have all seen a magician pull a bunny out of a hat. I’m confident when I say 99% of AV technicians are magicians. However, they will never claim to be able to pull a 4 speaker PA system from a hat!
Our Head of Technical & Creative Solutions, Cameron likes to tell the story. He had a client who asked if he could set up a full event 2 hours before the event was meant to start. His response was quite simple. “Yes, we can do it. But it will cost you 5x more than if you just booked the room for the day before.” When booking a venue, you will often find the venue will want to book the space without any gaps. Otherwise they are losing out on potential revenue. So always consult with your AV company before signing on the dotted line. Because chances are you will need at least an extra day before your event to set up. Otherwise they will need to book significantly more resources to get everything set up and tested in a shorter space of time.
With your extra set up day, you would also factor in testing and rehearsals. Testing first. This is where the AV team will check audio, video, lighting and streaming. To check everything works and troubleshoot any glitches. In the hybrid world, the most important job is checking if people not in the space can see what’s going on in the space. We will often have a remote member of the team logging on from home. They test connections and video quality remotely, as streaming issues once you are live can be difficult to fix. Additionally, it is always wise to schedule testing without presenters. There’s nothing worse than finding a fault in the setup and the presenters having to wait for it to be fixed!
Then you have rehearsals, a point of paramount significance. As with any event or performance, rehearsals are essential. They allow everyone to become familiar with the agenda, technology and the logistics. It’s not always obvious to perceive how things will work in a hybrid environment until those presenters online and in the room are in situ with their environment and content. It’s advisable for presenters to be in the right location (the same as event day). This helps replicate the exact conditions so we can foresee any connectivity or hardware issues. Then step through cue to cue with all the prompts, transitions, timings etc to avoid any surprises on the day. Rehearsals are the most crucial part of the lead up to any event. They can really make the difference when it comes to a smooth experience for all involved.
Unless you have the budget and time for a full dress rehearsal. Standard rehearsals are not for each presenter to run through their whole presentation. Nor is it to discuss panel discussion talking points.
Some times too much preparation is bad.
One of the beautiful parts about a hybrid event with live presenters is reading the room. A great presenter will tailor their presentation live based on the energy audience questions. So our advice is not about scripting the content and making things rigid by over rehearsing the talking points.
It’s purely about making sure that hosts, presenters and technical team can work together to create hybrid harmony when the live magic happens.
It’s taken 3 blogs to get to the bit where I actually talk about the big event. I will keep it short because all you need to consider when it comes to the event is ensure both sets of audiences are being considered. You have done all your preparation its just time for your execution!
Invite both sets of audience to take part in Q&A, encourage them to speak and interact. Utilise the software you have invested in for polling, quizzes, whiteboards, word clouds – whatever you decided was right for you, just ensure it’s woven through the agenda and everyone has a voice.
Oh and make sure you press record. . .
What Happens next?
So you have had your event everything went well – great news is that you have so much more data and memories than you would have at an in person event.
Your event has been fully streamed and recorded, so review, share learn and adapt. Depending on your streaming platform, you will likely be able to analyse data showing who was present and how they engaged throughout the event, who they met, what sponsors did well. The power of this insight could really shape and mould your future events, so make sure to capitalise on it.
Congrats, thanks for reading and enjoy your hybrid experience – let us know how it goes 🙂