By Warwick Merry

With hybrid and online events, there is a constant balance. How do we get a bit more edge and a bit more engagement without adding more risk? The significant increase in AV requirements means a significant increase in the chances that something could go wrong.

So how can you have more engagement and less risk?

One simple approach is to pre-record a lot of presentations. But let’s be honest, a pre-record means less engagement. The delegates could simply receive the video and press play themselves (and maybe even make it play double speed to get to the good bits).

We can take that to the next level by having the speaker join in the chat box during the recording. Some organisers don’t like that. They don’t want to shatter the illusion by showing that the session is recorded. Trust me, most delegates will know and the others won’t really care. From personal experience, I find it fabulous when the presenter can answer questions, chat about concepts to get better understanding or even just laugh at themselves as they present. The delegates seem to love it as well.

But if you want to truly crank up the engagement, you can make a pre-record stand out. Let everyone know it is a pre-record, use some of the features that video editing allows to make the video stand out, plan some of the delegate interaction you will have and truly make the session memorable.

Here are some examples:

A recent hybrid event had one of the speakers give a Glee Note. That is, interspersed between key points, the speaker did a bit of karaoke and changed the words to current songs with industry relevant lyrics – all shot like a film clip on their smartphone.

One speaker referred to themselves as “Past Presenter” as they were doing the recording and “Future Presenter” for when they joined the event live in the chat box as well as live on screen at the end. The delegates loved the fact that the presenter was able to interact with themselves in this way.

At an online event the presenter had pre-recorded their presentation but was able to add some interesting graphic elements. Moving logos of the presenter and the event, as well as positioning key recommendations in interesting text on screen. This was far more effective than PowerPoint and far more memorable.

Some speakers are using additional video cameras to capture diagrams and text written on a notepad during their session as well as including recent memes and pop culture references. This makes the content more relevant and of-the-moment for the delegates.

For your next event, how can you take full advantage of the technology your presenters are already using to increase your delegate engagement? You will find that increasing the energy and presentation style in your pre-recorded sessions will add so much engagement to your event without adding to the risk.