Being a speaker at a conference or event is an exciting responsibility. But whether you’re a professional motivational speaker or a subject matter expert sharing your expertise, your next speaking commitment may look a little different. You guessed it; we’re talking about hybrid events. When you start speaking to two audiences simultaneously as a hybrid event speaker, regardless of your experience level, things can feel a little more daunting.
Our top tip is to get out of your own head! There are so many similarities between speaking to a live audience, a virtual audience, and a hybrid audience. As a speaker, your main goals should be to share knowledge, engage, and entertain. That said, a lot of the principles are the same. Understand your audience, be a storyteller, don’t read off of your slides, use captivating visuals, know your worth, and exude that confidence, the list goes on.
But if you are nervous, we get it. The key to kicking those nerves to the curb and feeling confident in your hybrid event speaking abilities is thinking about how you can engage both audiences because that is the main difference! So today, we’re sharing a few tips to help.
Address All Audiences When You Speak
This is simple but impactful. Rather than opening your session by saying, “I’m so happy to see you here in front of me today,” change your language. Say, “I first want to greet all those lovely humans logging in from home today; thank you for joining us. Pop a comment into the chatbox with where you’re logging in from today. And to all the lovely smiling faces I see out in the crowd, I’m so happy to be here with you.”
These subtle tweaks in language will make a huge difference for those at home and how connected they feel to your presentation and the event as a whole.
Don’t Forget Eye Contact
In addition to addressing the virtual audience, you want to make sure they “see” that you care! Don’t solely focus your gaze on the in-person audience. While that is important, glance over and make eye contact with the live-stream cameras once in a while to make sure you’re not only addressing both with your words but with your actions as well.
Incorporate Engagement Tools in Your Presentation
Engagement tools are always important, but even more so during hybrid events. Add polls every so often that both in-person and virtual attendees can participate in. Offer a live Q&A portion of the event where you answer questions from both audiences. Do trivia for prizes. The list goes on! Here’s a post we did with a few more fun ideas.
Opt to Present Live, if Possible
Typically, with virtual presentations, you’re getting a waist-up view. While that’s helpful, it’s more engaging to see a speaker’s movements across the stage and their hand gestures that add to the story. You generally get more of that from a live, in-person presentation. Perhaps you’re able to do a little meet-and-greet with in-person attendees at the end to engage them even more.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with logging in virtually—you know we love a good virtual event. But in the case of hybrid, it is nice to be able to have speakers physically there for greater engagement.
Rehearse & Ask for Feedback
You’ve probably heard the ever-popular phrase, “Practice makes perfect.” Want to know why it’s popular? Because it’s true, guys! Never, ever go into an event blind. Please, whatever you do. Especially if you’ve never spoken at a hybrid event before!
Give your presentation to a colleague or friend over Zoom at least a couple of weeks prior to your dress rehearsal/ tech checks. This will give you more than enough time to tweak what needs to be tweaked. Then, come ready with your presentation and a list of questions for the A/V tech that you can ask to feel prepared and confident before your session.
Need Help Prepping as a Hybrid Event Speaker? Let’s Chat.
At Eventistry by Alecia, every event we produce includes some sort of speaker training. The speakers can make or break an event (no pressure), and we want them to feel just as prepared as the event manager themselves! That entails practice, understanding the technology, tips from pros, and more. We can help train the hybrid event speakers for your next event or help you as a speaker with some tips! Schedule some time here.