Expert Advice for Hosting a Successful Hybrid Zoom Event

The demand for in-person events may be on the rise, but at the same time, virtual and hybrid experiences are still in high demand. The key benefit of these events is not only that they are cost-effective compared to traditional conference venues, but they also allow event marketers to reach a much wider audience than they are able to within the four walls of a traditional conference place.

The first thing you’ll probably think is, “I’m in!” However, if you are a newbie to hybrid events and don’t know where to begin, keep reading for some expert advice on how you can begin to develop your own hybrid event strategy. The virtual events manager at Cooley LLP, one of the largest law firms in the world, Savannah Fairbank, was kind enough to give us some insights into her own experience hosting hybrid events over the years and some tips to keep your audience engaged during your events.

How did the pandemic change your approach toward events? 

A Cooley representative sponsors, speaks at, or attends more than 900 events per year, including educational meetings, conferences, and educational meetings, which are all part of Cooley’s involvement. Before COVID-19, we had experience with online events and had used Zoom Webinars and Zoom Meetings to deliver educational content to clients via the Internet. It was only in 2020 that we pivoted our entire event offering from physical to virtual by going headfirst into solely offering virtual programming.

How did you come to host your first hybrid event? 

I was looking for a way in which we might be able to provide a virtual component to our event experience, in at least some ways, in a way that could be comparable to the on-the-ground component that we provide for our on-the-ground events. In order to host this two-day hybrid conference, the Berkeley Forum on Corporate Governance, we used Zoom Events as well as partnered with The Berkeley Center for Law and Business to host the event. In addition to planning and executing the virtual portion of the event, we also planned and executed a live portion of the event on the ground, which was our first foray into hybrid events.

In your opinion, what are the benefits of hosting a hybrid event? 

In order to reach out to as many people as possible, we are choosing the virtual option. During the Berkeley event, we had a majority of attendees who were local to the area. We were also able to send out invitations to a much bigger list of invitees because both Cooley and Berkeley were able to offer a virtual component in addition to an in-person event. Adding that virtual component to the event is by no means comparable to adding the conventional component since it will ultimately result in a tripling of the number of people who will attend the event in the end.

How do you approach the virtual audience differently than the in-person attendees? 

The need arises for me to have the ability to communicate the energy or the feel of a physical event in some manner by transforming it into a virtual format in some way. It is possible for a virtual audience to interact with a panel speaker as if they were present in a room full of 100 people, but if they were not present in a room full of 100 people, it would need to be arranged so that the virtual audience could interact with a speaker who was on the ground in a way that felt natural and seamless. As you may already know, the last thing we want is our members to roll their eyes when a screen does not work while we’re trying to ask them a question.

See also  can i see who was attending after the zoom web conferencing

What happens if some participants are more tech-savvy than others? 

My greatest concern is making sure that the people who are not very adept at technology know how to get logged into the system, or how to use the information they are viewing; in general, making sure that they are able to make sense of what they are seeing. Whenever I plan an event, I always consider how I can make it as convenient as possible for someone who has a high level of concern for the use of technology to take part in the event. The fact that we regularly receive positive feedback regarding Zoom’s ease of use from both speakers and attendees is due to the fact that Zoom is used in all Cooley offices, and we are currently using Zoom technology throughout the company. As a result of our hybrid event, we received quite a bit of positive feedback from a number of people about how easy Zoom Events was to use and how seamlessly integrated it is, even for those who are not technically inclined.

What role does technology play in engaging these audiences?

If the AV component doesn’t work, no matter how much time and effort we put into planning, it won’t matter how much we put into it at the end of the day. There must be the exact same video feed used in the virtual event that the audience on the ground is viewing, not some kind of weird amalgamation of what is happening in the real event and what is being shown in the virtual event.

In order to ensure that the hybrid event was a success, the Cooley events team was very active on the ground, making sure that everything was in order. The virtual piece was handled by Zoom’s Events Services team since it was impossible for us to be online and offline at the same time. Their team defined the start and stop of the sessions and helped us build out the back end for the virtual piece.

What role does branding play in virtual or hybrid events? 

The way our brand is represented and expressed is something we always think about, and there is never a moment when we ignore it. If we are planning to have an in-person event, I know what the branding will be like and what our options will be. Having seen the stage before, I am familiar with the agenda, the lighting, and the look of the stage. In order to make sure that the branding on the ground of our hybrid event closely matched that of Zoom Events, we worked closely with Zoom Events. As one of the first steps in creating our virtual event, we had to think about how to make it feel like Cooley, but through Zoom. Since Cooley uses Zoom, and our offices are integrated with Zoom Rooms, this was an important concept to consider.

See also  How to Use Slack App In Zoom

What advice can you give to speakers or anyone presenting at a hybrid event? 

When speakers engage their audience in a natural and natural manner, they will be much more likely to engage their audience with their content if they interact with those in front of them in order to engage their audience. It is important to keep in mind that you must speak to two different audiences at the same time. On the internet there are 600 more people who are watching what you are doing. Whenever you welcome people or refer to attendees, make sure you address the audience a little bit more, and make sure you are always aware of where the camera is at all times when you are speaking.

As well, it is important to consider the event both from the point of view of the attendees and that of the speakers. An individual who isn’t well versed in the technology they’re using is going to be able to show this in their presentation if they aren’t confident in the technology they’re using. In order to make sure the speakers are comfortable with speaking online, it is a good idea to have dress rehearsals and walkthroughs prior to the event.

Moving forward, do you think you’ll always have some kind of virtual component to your events?

Regarding the possibility of introducing a virtual component, it is definitely something that is often discussed these days, whereas in the past it was not necessarily taken into account unless there were very strong reasons to do so, in which case it would not necessarily be taken into consideration. We are currently prepared to offer something virtually in 80% of the cases, and it is always on the table at the moment, so it will always remain on the table.

Disrupt new markets with Zoom innovation

Check out our full article on how Cooley’s reputation for being a technology disruptor is maintained through the Zoom platform, in order to find out more about how it works. Our virtual event platform, Zoom Events, can help you host a virtual or hybrid event with ease, so contact us today for a 1:1 demonstration of what the platform can do for you.



How do you host a good hybrid event?

Keeping this in mind, the following is a general outline (in step-by-step format) of how to host a hybrid event:

First, decide what you want to achieve through participation in the event.

Step 2: Select both a physical location for the event as well as a platform for holding virtual events.

See also  How to Configure Zoom credential settings for Salesforce

Step 3: Research your target demographic and develop buyer personas to use as planning tools.

Step 4: To conceptualize your event, which means to plan out the overall experience, including the theme, from beginning to end.

Step 5:  To determine how much money you will need to bring your concept to life.

Step 6: Confirm the participation of the speakers, entertainers, and hosts.

Step 7: Seek out appropriate sponsors

Step 8: Prior to the event, fine-tune your event agenda and timelines so that everything runs smoothly.

Step 9:  Start developing content for your hybrid event.

10. Get started with hybrid event marketing to build up the excitement and increase the number of registrations.

Step 11: Conduct a dress rehearsal of the event to practice for any potential problems with the technology.

Step 12: Host your event with resounding success! (since you adhered to the procedures, and you planned everything out so thoroughly)

Step 13: After a few months,  analyze the results of the event and determine its return on investment.


How do I make my Zoom meeting more professional?

6 tips to look more professional in virtual settings

#1: Pay attention to the lighting. When it comes to seeming more professional on Zoom, lighting is one of the most important factors to focus on.
#2: Carry out a history verification.
#3: Pay attention to the sound.
#4: One’s own physical presentation.
#5: Maintain a healthy sense of perspective.
#6: Personal presentation.


How do you make a successful Zoom happy hour?

When planning a Zoom happy hour, it is important to respect the time and schedules of your guests. To accomplish this, contact visitors in advance to determine whether or not they will be available. Note that although Zoom may show up to 49 participants on the screen at the same time, our recommendation is to keep the group size as small as possible, between three and ten guests.

What is the best greeting on Zoom?

I’m not leading the meeting, so do I still need to have a formal greeting? Before you get down to brass tacks, ease your way into the conversation. Starting off the call with a simple “Hello everyone” or “Good morning” sets a positive impression and tone for the rest of the video call