Here are some Virtual Host Tips for Engaging Virtual & Hybrid Events.
Though virtual and hybrid events are a fantastic option to connect global audiences, it’s no secret that attendees require a bit more than just a strong internet connection to stay tuned in for the entirety of the event. Every event deserves a hype man (or woman!) to turn up the dial on energy and engagement — especially if the event will be experienced through a screen.
This is where a virtual host or professional emcee comes into play. A virtual host supercharges a virtual or hybrid event to captivate audiences and keep them connected, no matter the distance. Whether your audience will be dispersed across the globe or split between an in-person venue, check out how a virtual emcee can host an unforgettable digital event.
Maintain Momentum with a Virtual Emcee
Just like at a physical event, a digital event needs someone to keep the show running smoothly for those in the audience. From introducing and interviewing speakers to energizing and entertaining the crowd, an emcee can pivot their talents to meet the medium of the event. Whether an event is in-person or on-screen does not phase an emcee — they can maintain momentum either way!
A virtual host has the ability to draw viewers into the action, so they feel like part of the event and not a spectator on the sidelines. A major factor in engaging the audience is leveraging every aspect of the virtual event software, such as the live chat feature. A virtual host can keep a watchful eye on viewer dialogue to weave audience sentiment throughout the pre-planned content.
Tips for working with a Virtual Host Emcee
1. Share Your Run-of-Show in Advance
A run-of-show is the tentative scheduling of each part of your event, from the time slot for each keynote speaker to the technical cues for all stagehands. To plan the most engaging virtual event possible, share your run-of-show with your virtual host as soon as possible.
This will give the emcee time to memorize relevant segments to appear more organic on-screen, and will also allow wiggle room for potential suggestions. For instance, a virtual host may recommend shifting a lengthy keynote until after the audience breakout session to ensure attendees have the mental capacity to retain the information and remain focused on the content at hand.
2. Pre-Film and Pre-Plan Entertainment Segments
A major benefit of working with a professional emcee is that many have access to a virtual event studio. As such, your virtual host can plan for and pre-film pre-recorded entertainment segments to air during your virtual event, such as interviews with company executives who may be unable to attend the actual virtual meeting.
Aside from canned content, an emcee can also plan for engagement activities to sprinkle throughout the virtual event. For instance, virtual hosts can plan trivia games, solve virtual mysteries, and brainstorm other virtual team-building activities that delight and engage the entire audience.
3. Prepare for Audience Input
Speaking of the entire audience, a virtual host is integral in preparing for audience input. Whether your company opts for a virtual chat room or lets certain attendees hop on via webcam, it’s important to have the technical details ironed out before the event goes live. While a virtual emcee is not an IT wizard, they can help explain the requirements to receive necessary audience input.
Engage Each Audience with a Hybrid Emcee
When planned correctly, a hybrid event can be just as effective as an in-person event — but the key word here is correctly! A hybrid event should never consist of an in-person event that’s simply live-streamed to at-home viewers. Instead, a hybrid event should be truly hybrid and account for the needs and entertainment of both audiences, including those behind a screen.
Consider a virtual host as the glue that binds both audiences together. Your host can be positioned at the live event and engage your virtual audience from the stage, or be virtual themselves. Alternatively, you can have a live host and a virtual host. There’s really no “best option” here, so long as there are engagement and entertainment opportunities for both audiences.
Planning a hybrid event? Here are a few best practices.
1. Never Ice Out the Virtual Audience
Remember, while you can’t see the virtual attendees in your audience, they’re still there — and they deserve just as much attention as your physical attendees. Fortunately, a virtual host can step up to make sure that your digital counterparts are just as involved in your event.
From a virtual chatroom to the comments section on your hybrid event platform (which a virtual host can also help navigate!), a host can keep virtual attendees engaged for the duration of the event. Live polls and question and answer sessions are also fantastic ways to do this.
2. Plan Virtual-Specific Content
Virtual audiences don’t have the same face-to-face opportunities as those physically in the audience. These opportunities are what many in-person attendees pay good money for. So, be sure to plan specific content for your virtual audience to make their experience just as valuable.
A virtual host can help plan virtual-specific content, like behind-the-scenes footage of the event or digital meet-and-greets with the event speakers. To get a bit more personal, you could even send customized swag or themed worksheets straight to virtual attendees’ doors.
3. Treat Physical Attendees as a Studio Audience
You know when you watch your favorite sitcom, and there’s that contagious laughter coming from the studio audience? Replicate that experience during your hybrid event with a professional emcee! An emcee can announce the results of a digital poll to the physical audience or share responses from a virtual Q&A session to create parallels between both audiences.
Hire a Virtual Host for Your Next Event
Turn up the dial on your next virtual or hybrid event with a virtual host. If you’re unsure who to call, contact Funny Business Agency. With more than 30 years of experience in the events industry, we’ve built relationships with some of the best emcees available — like trusted virtual and hybrid host and entertainer, Jeff Civillico.