The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated transformation within the event space. While disruptive, this change isn’t necessarily negative. In fact, the transition from in-person to virtual and hybrid events has increased the reach, impact, and measurability of your events. This increase, however, requires a larger support team. By adding a few key roles and leveling up your expertise, your event teams will be better prepared to compete in a rapidly changing industry.
Today’s event teams need skills beyond the traditional assets required to host a successful in-person event. Virtual event professionals have the expertise and resources to help teams bridge the gap between the two spaces. Incorporating tech-focused team members into event teams facilitates the seamless execution of virtual events.
Your events team’s structure may look different depending on the industry and scale of your organization. In our book, Event Success: Maximizing The Business Impact of In-Person, Virtual, and Hybrid Experiences, co-written with my Bizzabo co-founders Eran Ben-Shushan and Boaz Katz, we discuss several key roles leadership teams should fill to create successful event experiences, based on whether the formats are virtual, in-person or hybrid.
The Virtual Team
As the newest aspect of event production, virtual content requires positions unique to its format. With its parallels to traditional live broadcasts, virtual production roles could include people with skills and expertise similar to those working in film and television. We believe the following roles are essential positions within the virtual events team.
The event technologist ensures your team has the right tech for your event. They help anticipate and solve the “technical difficulties” that can occur during a virtual event. Like in-person teams, virtual teams have contingency plans developed in collaboration with an event technologist to address issues that might arise during production.
Your executive producer will need to have deep knowledge and experience orchestrating live productions. Delivering the most engaging, immersive content will require collaboration and coordination with a variety of team members.
Camera & Sound Operators
A webcam and built-in computer microphone won’t suffice if you want an engaged audience. Enter your camera and sound operators, bringing strong audio and visual (AV) tools to create a more immersive attendee experience for your virtual audiences. Their inclusion improves the overall audience experience and creates a higher-quality database of content for post-event use.
The In-Person Team
Most event teams include professionals who have spent most of their careers producing live events. While their expertise remains invaluable, it’s essential for in-person teams to be able to pivot when needed. As the events space evolves to include virtual and in-person participants, you’ll need a team that can elevate your in-person event from a standalone experience to one that successfully caters to both the individuals behind the screen and in the venue.
In the past, moderators introduced speakers, interacted with audiences, and controlled the flow of the on-stage programming. Now, however, in an evolving events space, moderators are not only moving the conversation along but also maintaining the virtual audience’s attention. This role manifests in many ways. Moderators pose questions to virtual attendees, inviting them to respond in the chat. They encourage virtual attendees to come on camera to interact with speakers.
Onsite technicians serve a similar role as event technologists but for onsite venue issues. They assist with the venue’s Wi-Fi, microphones, slide decks, and other technical elements required to deliver an immersive, in-person experience.
The Hybrid Events Team
While hybrid events benefit from having separate in-person and virtual teams, a hybrid events team helps bridge the gap between the two. In addition to communicating with both the in-person and virtual teams, these individuals collaborate with internal stakeholders to ensure events meet expectations and overall business needs.
Audience Development/Event Marketer
Since the industry’s inception, marketers have consulted in the events space, publicizing events and driving registrations. In this newly evolved events space, leadership may want to hire marketers who specialize in events. For example, companies like Forbes, Bloomberg, HubSpot, and Salesforce have created designated marketing directors, audience development managers, and other roles focused solely on event marketing and promotion.
Event Experience Manager
And now, the most critical role for a hybrid event space: the Event Experience Manager. These specialists manage, audit, and own responsibility for implementing robust attendee and stakeholder experiences. The Event Experience Managers ensure both in-person attendees and virtual participants have distinct but cohesive experiences.
Adding these key roles and areas of expertise to your event teams will equip your organization to meet challenges and seize opportunities within a more competitive and ever-evolving event landscape.
Written by Alon Alroy.
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