Best Practices for Physical, Virtual and Hybrid Events
FEBRUARY, 9 / 2021
Maximise customer engagement across all event formats with these best practices designed for Marketing, Sales, and Success professionals. Improve your event results with tips for technology, environment, design and delivery.
Every event is an opportunity to engage with your customers, provide them with what they want, and drive them (and you) towards success. With ways of doing business around the world evolving and adapting to COVID restrictions and changing customer preferences, our need to be flexible and effective across all event formats is key. Today, virtual is king, but that doesn't mean we should assume what works best for one event, will lead to repeatable, guaranteed, results.

The importance of engaging customers in all circumstances, be it in a marketing, sales, or success context, is paramount. Superslide makes it easy to quantify your engagement success, but to reach this goal you must first provide an exceptional event experience.

With our wealth of experience across physical, hybrid, and virtual events, our best practises can be broken down into four key domains: Technology, Environment, Design, and Delivery. We're here to help you get the most from each and every customer event and provide you with tangible feedback for future success. Here's how.
Physical Event Best Practices
Although physical events are more of a rarity these days, you shouldn't assume that what's worked in the past is what your customers will be expecting in the future. As we see the progression of event hosting possibilities, even the foundations of physical events should now shift and evolve to the new normal.

Make sure your tech foundations are seamless — there's no excuse for low-quality imagery, slow loading speeds and buffering, or fiddly links and logins. Harness technology to elevate the experience and your content not detract from it, and fuel deeper engagement and insights capture. Dual screening far from being controlled should be encouraged and harnessed to its full effect.

Plan your event to be sensitive to, and fully cooperate with, any individual participant's health concerns or preferences your audience may have. Align this with local government and company guidelines as these continue to evolve. Focus on creating an immersive environment with the optimal layout to deliver your agenda and moments of high engagement.

Create a memorable event for your audience by keeping it highly participatory and personalised — embracing the benefits of being together in person. Conduct Q&As the "old-fashioned" way with hand raising or get everyone up out of their seats and moving to different sides of the room to indicate their answers in a real-life polling session. Using props boxes, videos, or surprise guest-speakers to enhance specific topics will keep your audience engaged too.

Here's where your super-power lies. The thought of hours on end of sitting, passively watching, can be a massive turn-off. Focus on your event persona — use eye-contact, an engaging tone of voice, and a confident posture to draw your audience in. Offer energisers, stretching and rapid networking breaks throughout the event with an uplifting soundtrack, to show your audience you care about them (which in turn might help them focus on what you're saying). In-person events mean you can read the room, adapt as you go, and have full control over captivating your audience.
Key Takeaway
Gone are the days of fiddly feedback forms, the generic pat on the back, or the "thanks, that was really interesting" endorsement as your audience make for the exits. They're just not enough anymore. No matter how well your in-person event was received, you need data to close the loop. By enhancing your physical event with Superslide, you can gain the quantitative data and actionable insights you need to make the most effective next steps.
Hybrid Event Best Practices
Hybrid events will continue to play an important role in situations where an event can be partially held in-person, with some audience and team members joining remotely. A transitional model of event delivery that particular circumstances can benefit from, Hybrid events present a unique set of considerations and challenges to ensure event success.

There is a need for high-end production to mirror the physical and virtual experience for the whole audience. Ensure the entire event team is well versed in the physical and virtual technology set-up, operation, and limitations to avoid any glitches. Continuously harness technology in a thoughtful way to bring your online and offline participant groups together as one for maximum collaboration and participation.

Hybrid events require a unique environment that combines the best of both physical and virtual. As with physical events, include thoughtful compliance to specific health concerns that your physical audience may have. Budget time for your virtual and in-person audience to connect; consider whether your virtual audience will get access to the event space in advance to "be there" as your physical audience arrives. Alternatively, if your virtual participants will join once the physical session has begun, ensure you have crafted their experience as they wait to be admitted. Equal consideration should be given to the end of the event, to allow time for everyone to draw their own experience to a smooth and satisfying conclusion.

Design your event for the lowest common denominator, to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual participants. Highlight reasons why it is beneficial to be in-person but connect with all participants, regardless of their location, by sharing reasons and ways to engage. Design a thoughtful interplay between physical and virtual elements, by considering factors like how a physical presenter or participant activity will be broadcast to those joining virtually, and vice versa.

As the event unfolds, allow time and space for flexibility on the agenda. Managing in-person and remote audiences requires agile handling. Aim to provide equal opportunity for your audience to engage, regardless of location, especially in interactive sessions like Q&A.
Key Takeaway
To effectively bridge the gap of Hybrid events, use all available technologies to avoid creating "in" and "out" groups — "in" being those in-person actively being heard and participating, and "out" being those who are remote, left feeling like passive observers. Create an equal playing field for your entire audience, regardless of their location to maximise engagement and participation. Thoughtful event design and interactive delivery through both formats will result in a successful, collaborative event.
Virtual Event Best Practices
Virtual events, where all participants, presenters, and facilitators are connected remotely, have become the go-to form of event. Uptake in video conferencingplatforms is through the roof and everyone, to a certain extent, has been learning on the fly. As we come to realise that virtual will be the default modus operandi for the rest of 2021, at least, here's how to do better.

Secure the basics ahead of time. Ensure you, your presenters, and your audience members have strong internet connections and clear audio. Establish a "tech hotline" and dedicated tech support team who can troubleshoot participants' issues before and during the event. Minimise asset sizing such as video feeds to be sure your audience will be able to keep up in the event of a poor wifi connection.

Provide detailed joining instructions well ahead of time, including comprehensive hardware, software, and access requirements, so your audience can be set up for success. Use welcome activities to test participant access to the tools you will be using, and help participants get comfortable with the tooling before you get into the main agenda. Accommodate participants from different time zones carefully. Whilst a benefit of Virtual is its ability to scale indefinitely, a maximum of 8-12 people for break-out and discussion groups is ideal, so consider your facilitator-to-participant ratio to allow for this. You may need to limit overall event numbers to retain the agility and intimacy your event requires.

Remember, everything takes longer with virtual working, but providing pre-reads or having one-on-ones with key stakeholders ahead of your main event will mean your audience is ready to get started from the word "go". Allow time to check-in and create organic moments for people to connect and feel included. Virtual events must be realistic in terms of their duration and the volume of content to be covered. Ideally, virtual events should not exceed 3-4 hours in duration. When considering the audiences' attention span, the topic should be narrower in scope than a physical event. If necessary, complex matters can be split into several virtual events run on the same or consecutive days. Less is more, so concentrate on depth, over breadth.

Plan for tech issues as these will most likely eventuate. Always have back-up presenters ready, and ensure team alignment so anyone can step in to anyone's role, as and when needed. Be personable; remember that many people might still find video conferences daunting, or have a full schedule of back-to-back events. A friendly reminder to turn their video feed on and their microphone turned off, is a good place to start. And if all else fails, have a dedicated Tech Concierge to guide and support participants to quickly resolve issues and rejoin the event.
Key Takeaway
With careful preparation, thorough testing, and pre-event rehearsals, you can preempt, identify, and mitigate issues and event design flaws ahead of time. Virtual events are here to stay, so now is the time to forge ahead with good design and best practice tools like Superslide to make sure your virtual event stands out and drives your audience to success.
So, what's your Superslide?
The key to successful customer engagement across all event formats lies in acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of each situation. Expecting the same event to run seamlessly across physical, hybrid, and virtual events can be unrealistic. Instead, thoughtful preparation for each specific format will produce far greater results.

Harnessing the best parts of virtual events, like great technology, and just getting to the point will make your physical events snappy and productive. Taking best practises from physical events, into your virtual and hybrid events, like collaboration, interaction, and personality will ensure your remote audiences feel as energised and involved as if you were all in the same room.

And then you want to go one step further and add in a tool that allows you to improve your event, engage your audience, and capture actionable insights, with minimal effort for you, or them?

Presenting with Superslide means you'll have the power to update and improve your performance based on audience engagement data. Your Superslide report will help you see the next best actions to take to convert your individual audience members to success across the whole customer lifecycle.

Host your next event with the confidence of knowing you're capturing data like never before, with Superslide.

Related posts from the Superslide Blog
In 2021, Virtual is the New Normal for Customer Events
Virtual customer engagement is here to stay so it's time to level up and take your webinars and other online customer events to the next level in 2021 for big results. Learn more about the How , What and Why of online customer engagement.
Learn more
Analytics for your Google Slides Presentation
How to capture statistics on a Google Slides presentation and what you can expect. We step you through two approaches to filling the analytics gap in this highly popular presentation maker.
Learn more
Contact us
Have a question? Want a demo?
Email the team at

Our offices
Sydney, Australia
Cluj, Romania

Work with us
Managing events, venues and platforms? Want to bring Superslide to your clients? We'd love to work together. Email the team at