The importance of rehearsing for Hybrid Events: How, Why & Watch-Outs!

The secret to a seamless hybrid event is rehearsing! Encore shares top tips for event planners on how to have an effective rehearsal to get the best results.


If there’s something 2020 has taught us it’s that we can never be too prepared. Rehearsals are one of the most important elements for hybrid events to ensure a seamless, professional result that delivers your message.

Even the most experienced presenter needs to learn additional skills for a hybrid event which considers both the in-room and online audience. Here are our top tips for event planners to make the most out of rehearsals for a seamless result.

Rehearsing ensures remote studios are event ready

Many remote presenters are recording or live-streaming from their home offices. They will need essential technology such as a laptop with a camera and a strong internet connection. Effective rehearsals ensure your presenters are comfortable and have the required technical know-how prior to the event, and you both have a plan in case things go array. Prior planning ensures they know how to turn the camera and sound on, play videos, administer polls, and advance slides.

Other tips and instructions you can give presenters prior to the event to ensure a professional result include:

  • Not wearing striped or busy shirts as these ‘scramble’ the vision
  • Make the room is well lit
  • Ensure the audio or mic works well
  • And what to do if they need immediate technical support
  • Make sure the presenter’s background is acceptable – no messy desks

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

Rehearsals reduce anxiety for both the planner and remote presenters

Planning an event is stressful enough. A great way to increase those levels even more is to forego rehearsals.

Experienced presenters may say they don’t need to rehearse, or are better going on stage ‘fresh’. Don’t give in. 

Make sure you plan a rehearsal in your production schedule. Your hybrid event production team will insist on this so allow for it as it could be the most beneficial decision you make in your event planning.

Making sure they rehearse everything before the big day reduces the stress not only for them but for you and your production team as well. Practice makes perfect and will ease the minds of everyone involved.

Plan and practice how you're going to engage your attendees

Without being physically there in the room, virtual presenters and speakers need to consider how they plan on engaging their audience and importantly, keeping them engaged.  There are many ways to engage audiences such as live polling and Q&A’s asking them to respond in some way to a question or even posing for a group photo online. Doing research live enables you to show data from your audience in real time on the screen in the room or online.

The key to managing engagement successfully and confidently is by rehearsing it. It may feel embarrassing the first time round, but your speakers will feel so much more at ease than doing it live for the first time with hundreds or thousands of eyeballs watching you, potentially becoming witnesses to the internet’s next big fail. 

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Rehearsing these elements prior to the event are vital to ensure they’re delivered without a hitch.

Using online engagement platforms requires planning in advance for what and how you will measure, as well as how you will display the results. Rehearsals mean you can practice these things and ensure they run smoothly.

In smaller groups, the chat feature can be used to gather and respond to questions in real-time. If you choose to use the chat option, make sure you have someone on hand to monitor it so your presenter can focus on delivering the content. This again requires practice, so your presenter knows when and how to pose the question, how long to wait for results and how they will be delivered.

Practice presenting to the camera

Your presenter may be very used to presenting to a large or small audience, but presenting to a camera feels different.

Effective rehearsals enable them to practice talking to a camera with no feedback from a live audience. You may be using multiple cameras for a professional result and the presenter needs to learn how to work with this set up prior to the event.

Importance of rehearsals for the hybrid production team

It’s not just the presenters that benefit from rehearsals, they’re vital for your technical team too. This talented crew of experts run the show and essentially ensure that everything goes smoothly. The team ensure all technical aspects work seamlessly, switch between presenters, play video and enable engagement like live polling and show results live on screen. Imagine juggling all those elements without prior practice. Plus the presenters and production team need to know exactly what to do if things go array as well as what they need to factor in.

Take it from us – an event production company with years of expertise – even though we do this all the time, there are unique variables for every event. Rehearsing before the event gives the production team the chance to go over every single aspect and ensure that all elements and moving parts of the experience are executed flawlessly.

Virtual Event Production Rehearsal

Ensure a seamless hybrid event with an effective rehearsal by the experts

Just as you would plan sound checks and presentation reviews for your live, in-person events, you will need to do the same for hybrid – and probably more! With the right preparation and planning, even less-experienced event planners can deliver a first-class virtual event without any issues

The creative team at Encore in Adelaide developed a stunning food and wine experience at St Hugo in the Barossa Valley. The brief from McGrath Real Estate was to provide a styling and audio visual solution for the opening dinner of their multi-day Leadership Conference and Team Building getaway.

Adelaide Event Styling

The dinner at St Hugo was spectacularly located within the grounds of the vineyard and included a long table nestled in the vines of the property.  This setting required Encore to create a stylised, immersive experience to help celebrate and highlight the best food and beverages the Barossa Valley region has to offer.

An inspiration board was created which the team then reimagined for the event within a transparent canopy which was dramatically decorated inside with four, three metre arches of cascading vines and foliage, featuring decor lighting.

A long table centred within the marquee was decorated with rustic candles, floral vases and linen. The styling elements were illuminated beautifully with up-lighting which added a warm glow as the evening drew in. The look perfectly complemented the surrounds of the property and the vineyard.

The event was attended by 136 VIP guests who were entertained by roving, singing waiters delivering the dishes and live music from a local band.

Contact our Adelaide team

Chat with our local Adelaide team about your next event.

Contact Details

Trent Parkin – Sales Manager
15-16 Deacon Avenue, Richmond South Australia 5033, Australia
+61 8 8159 9100
Send Enquiry Instead

Encore delivers fully virtual pharmaceutical and medical conference with industry leading online networking solution

Encore delivered the Movement Disorder Society of Australia and New Zealand (MDSANZ) conference 2021 in a fully virtual format on behalf of Westmead Hospital Neurology Department. The team utilised their leading range of virtual technical solutions to ensure the event could go ahead despite restrictions caused by COVID-19.

The virtual conference was attended by pharmaceutical and medical industry professionals and comprised a keynote presentation on a new, innovative medical procedure, three smaller case studies and detailed Q&A.

The event was attended by 53 online delegates, 11 sponsors and conference organisers.

The keynote presentation was pre-recorded which enabled the presenter to receive and respond to questions while the presentation was playing. Encore’s technical solution enabled all attendees to participate in the Q&A, utilising their unique virtual event platform, Chime Live. The primary goal was enhanced interactivity far beyond simply watching videos of presentations. Because the presenters and audience were from multiple countries around the world, sharing information and connecting globally using Chime Live was the priority. Chime Live was branded specifically for the event and included a range of resources including speaker bios, downloadable PDF resources, sponsor product videos and case study presentations all available directly delivering a seamless experience for delegates in a single location.

Sponsor interaction with the audience was another high priority to deliver value for their investment. Encore enabled effective sponsor-delegate communication by integrating Rally video chat for networking which was also branded to the event. Each sponsor was given a chat room embedded in Chime Live where guests had 30 minutes to log on and speak with sponsors, network and forge new business relationships. Sponsor branding was also incorporated into each individual chatroom for a live event feel. One sponsor in particular took full advantage of the networking features, providing multiple images to be shown on their sponsor page, downloadable documents which were linked to via buttons, and multiple videos embedded on their sponsor page. Linking from this page to the video chat and talking to that sponsor directly, in a branded space raised the profile of the sponsor to attendees.

Virtual Meetings

The technical solution worked seamlessly, delivering a highly engaging, educational and communication rich experience for all.

The Outcome

“Thank you. The event was very successful and everything went along without hiccup. (Our event manager) was very helpful and helped the speakers through the video interface which was easy to use. I heard back from Upa (sponsor) that she was very happy about the video chat session and other attendees also found the meeting well done.”

Florence Chang, Councillor, Movement Disorder Society of Australia and New Zealand

“What was really great to see at this event was the seamless integration of our online networking solution for the event’s delegates and sponsors. We know that many people’s primary reason for attending these kinds of events is to network, meet industry colleagues and develop professional connections. The Rally networking service enabled just that. It was user friendly and worked perfectly. It even kept people on track with timing, so no one went over time or missed sessions.”

Brien Keys, Regional General Manager

Virtual Awards Night For Australian Distilled Spirits

Encore enabled The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) to pivot their Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (ADSA) Presentation to a virtual event.  


Due to the restrictions on movement and social gatherings, the in-person event could not go ahead as planned. Encore jumped to the challenge to support the RASV and created a virtual ‘speakeasy’ themed stage set, designed by their talented virtual and hybrid design team.


The fully virtual event was streamed live from the production studio at Victoria Pavilion, Melbourne Showgrounds on 12 November.

Virtual Awards Night Production

With the RASV having already conducted the entire judging of the ADSA 619 products remotely, the pivoting of the presentation event to a broadcast only format was a suitable and appropriate solution to ensure the 500+ stakeholders could be part of the award announcement.

The transformation to virtual required that Encore incorporate their unique offerings of a fully equipped production studio, including green screen and utilising Encore’s virtual event design services to create the virtual set. The speakeasy themed stage set was superimposed with luxurious, green panelling and 20’s themed styling. The event was streamed nationally using a mix of presenters in the studio and pre-recorded acceptance speeches from the winners.

Green Screen Virtual Event

A fully COVID safe environment was delivered using Encore’s stringent MeetSAFE guidelines. This included safe distancing of presenters, traffic direction planning and stringent cleaning throughout the production studio.


The ADSA is just one of the prestigious food and beverage award programs conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, also responsible for the Australian International Beer Awards and Royal Melbourne Wine Awards. It is the largest national spirits awards in the country, recognising and rewarding excellence in Australia’s burgeoning spirits and liqueurs industry.

1000s of international attendees. 11 concurrent live streams. 5 action-packed days. 1 event platform.

You can’t stop progress. That is the exact sentiment of the organisers of the 38th International Symposium on Combustion who chose to power on by quickly pivoting to a fully virtual event after COVID travel restrictions thwarted their plans. The competitive bid was jointly won by the Adelaide Convention Bureau and All Occasions Group and was expected to bring over 1300 delegates from around the world to attend the event at the Adelaide Convention Centre

The Opportunity

With thousands of delegates and speakers located interstate and overseas, the challenge was finding the right production partner to deliver the event online to the same standard the delegates and speakers have come to expect. Held 24 – 29th January, the biennial event is designed to inspire, invoke debate, and provide learning’s across a broad range of combustion related topics. This meant the virtual event had to cater for a global audience, be highly engaging, secure and allow access to rich content.

The Solution

Encore was awarded the event based on their capacity to provide a safe and secure event platform that was feature rich, easy to navigate and robust enough to accommodate the volume of streams, as well as delegates logging in from more than 20 countries worldwide across the 5 days.

Professor Bassam Dally of The Combustion Institute said Chime Live was the most secure platform and was fit for purpose.

The symposium was available in real-time via Chime Live and saw each registrant receiving a unique login and password granting them access to sessions and materials for an additional 2 months on-demand. Delegates had access to over 700+ recorded symposium sessions, Work In Progress posters, invited speaker presentations, sponsor and exhibitor information, as well as the presentation of awards.

Some of the main features of the platform included:

  • Over 700 Live and recorded presentations
  • 11 concurrent sessions streamed live over 5 days
  • 15 invited talks were streamed live from within a room at the venue
  • Allowed speakers to log into session meeting following the live stream of their presentation to answer delegate questions.
  • Interactive conference program (agenda) and session information that allowed attendees to plan their schedule for the Symposium week.
  • Secure password protection for each delegate.
  • Resource and presentation online repository.
  • Provided access for the registrants to ask questions or leave comments next to presentation/s and Work In Progress Posters and for the authors to respond
  • Designed a clickable Networking Hub with options for “your Business Card information”, photo and a short Biography to be able to connect, network and chat with other Virtual Attendees.
  • Provided capacity to capture feedback for The Combustion Institute and committee, sponsors and key stake holders.
Virtual Event Stream Combustion Symposium

Key to the event’s success was having a reliable production partner who was experienced in providing both live and virtual production expertise. Encore worked alongside the AV team at Adelaide Convention Centre and All Occasions Group to ensure a seamless experience before, during and after the event for all stakeholders – delegates, speakers, and client. This included:

  • In the lead up to the conference, Encore provided a Site Walk-through video which addressed many questions and alleviated concerns.
  • Answered pre-registrants technical questions and allowed attendee login access to test prior to event.
  • Provided technical advice of recording format, software and depository of presentations
  • Around the clock technical support for any technical difficulties / questions from the client in the lead up as well as delegates during the Symposium
  • Provided moderator training videos, Q+A management during the symposium, and virtual help.

The Outcome

The event was a huge success and demonstrated the power of Encore’s Chime Live event platform.

“While we would have loved to welcome the conference’s national and international delegates to our City as originally planned, COVID-19 travel restrictions meant the event was quickly adapted from a live event to a fully online format, supported by the expertise of our talented Technology Services staff & teams from Encore and All Occasions Group. Attracting 1,360 delegates from 50 countries, the program comprised 11 concurrent web streams with 742 papers delivered; each session was hosted by an online moderator, who facilitated a live Q&A with the author at the end to provide an element of interactivity. Special mention to our technology team who played an instrumental role in the success of the event, ensuring a smooth online delivery by coordinating timing & logistics; providing support for the presenters; & managing the zoom Q&A sessions.”

Adelaide Convention Centre

Many thanks again for accommodating our needs and for working with us to find effective solutions for the virtual mode we had to run.

Professor Bassam Dally, The Combustion Institute

Go hybrid or virtual with Encore

Encore is the name behind thousands of virtual and hybrid events delivered this year alone. With a broad range of virtual event solutions and event platforms that are operated by experienced technicians you can enjoy the peace of mind your event is in safe hands. Whether you’re looking to celebrate, educate, donate, motivate or something else entirely – Encore has the ideas, solutions and network to make it happen. Get in touch to discuss how we can bring your next event to life by sending an online enquiry or calling 1800 209 099.

Deliver a professional online event from Encore’s studios

One constant in the events industry is that creating impactful, engaging experiences, whether it be virtual, hybrid or in-person, remains a top priority. Solutions and technologies to deliver these events and support these objectives must be adaptable to the current environment and audience expectations. Plus, as the in-person attendees will experience the event from within a premium hotel, the hybrid and virtual experience must also meet this professional experience online.

For these reasons, Encore Studios were launched to deliver a production quality result for live streamed or recorded presentations. The studios are fully equipped with the latest technologies and a team of experts to produce the event and guide you every step of the way.

Plus our team provides a clean, safe location for you to record or broadcast a message for your hybrid or virtual event. We achieve this via MeetSAFE, our health and safety protocols for protection during times of COVID restrictions to ensure the safety of your team and ours.

Start with understanding your virtual event requirements

Like with any project or event, knowing your constraints and requirements will help guide your decisions. Here are some thought-starters:

  • Budget and virtual attendee numbers
  • Speaker location (will they use the same studio or have to use recording studios in other locations)
  • Will the event be made available live, on-demand or both?
  • Production time as well as event duration.
  • Speaker experience: Are they professionals or will they have to be handheld the whole way?
  • Content delivery: Does your content need to be delivered with maximum impact or is it more about the content than how it as delivered?
    • For example, think about an event that is an economic recovery forum with speakers’ online versus an event that is showcasing the latest hybrid car model to a global or national sales team. The latter would definitely be geared towards a higher production value solution with a richer visual experience than the former.

Basic Virtual Studio Options

Encore’s Studio comes with a complete tech set-up so you can deliver your message via any online solution. Event planners can choose to use a physical stage look or a customisable green screen backdrop behind the speakers. Both options enable you to host a broadcast quality event using state-of-the-art technology and facilities for a wide variety of online events. The end result is a professional event in a styled environment ready for live or on-demand viewing.  

Green Screen in Virtual Studio

Our team will support you with all aspects of event production from planning to rehearsal, presenter direction and virtual stage management to execution and post production. If your speakers are in different locations, with over 2,100 locations worldwide, Encore will be able to replicate the stage look so it appears they’re all presenting from the same location. This also applies to hybrid events where the speakers are both in-room and online.

Virtual Event Recording Studio

Encore Studio is a versatile space for you to deliver your message virtually for a range of events and purposes. Examples of applications include:

  • Live streaming of events from gala dinners to AGMs
  • Recording events and presentations
  • Internal video messages and company announcements
  • Interactive webinars and ongoing virtual event series

Advanced virtual studios for maximum impact

Virtual Studio For Events

For next-generation virtual events, use Encore’s industry leading Immersive XR Stage. It enables you to create dynamic, live productions using the latest technologies and extended reality. It’s the future of virtual presentations.

Using Encore’s production studios and supported by our team of experienced technicians, we can help you deliver your event virtually with amazing effects. The 3D virtual sets transport your speaker to any location and lets them interact with visuals, animations, graphics, videos and more. These extended reality elements can also be added and seen by the presenters in the virtual stage, allowing more natural interaction than with traditional virtual sets.

Benefits of using a professional virtual studio

  • Enhanced engagement: Engage your attendees with a dynamic event streamed live or available on-demand.
  • Speaker and attendee flexibility: With our remote capabilities, bring other speakers and attendees to your event, regardless of their location and without having to travel to a central place.
  • Peace of Mind production: Our team will support you with all aspects of virtual event production, from planning to rehearsal, presenter direction and stage management to execution and post-production.
  • Custom branding: Each of our Encore Studios allow for various custom branding and stage set opportunities.
  • Leading edge technology: Leveraging our extensive experience in event technology, our teams can create compelling onstage moments using the latest in available technology.
  • Equipped with all the technology and staging you need: Delivering your message via any online solution, the best part is, you’ll have our expert team onsite to help optimise your production and manage the event so all your speakers can present with confidence.
  • Safe meeting practices and protocols: Encore launched our own MeetSAFE guidelines to ensure the safe and responsible delivery of events. This includes best practiced for hygiene and social distancing when using our Encore Studios.

Find out more about using Encore’s Studio for virtual events

Encore have helped thousands of brands continue to deliver engaging events by pivoting to hybrid or virtual. Backed by a global team of resources, coupled with Encore’s local team, event planners enjoy the peace of mind their event is in the best hands in the business. We’ve specifically introduced our range of virtual studios and stages to cater for the varying event requirements of our clients. Find out which solution is best for you by speaking with our friendly events team today.

4 Questions to get you started

With majority of events turning to a hybrid format, so too are company Annual General Meetings. Hybrid AGMs have even been endorsed by Australia’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, who weighed in on the debate last year around virtual AGMs confirming the government’s preference for a hybrid event model.

As reported in the Australian Financial Review, “where physical AGMs remain a crucial part of Australia’s corporate governance landscape, but are complemented by virtual participation to maximise shareholder engagement.”

So what exactly constitutes a hybrid AGM?

A hybrid AGM is an AGM that has both in-room attendees as well as remote attendees who participate via a virtual event platform. Like any type of hybrid event, it’s the combination of both the in-room and online experience which makes it hybrid.


These two audience groups can apply to both the shareholders as well as the company board of directors and other stakeholders. For example:

  • In-room and virtual attendees with board of directors attending in-person
  • In-room and virtual attendees with all, or some of the board of directors attending virtually.

Unlike other elective events, AGMs are a legal requirement of publically listed companies and come with a unique array of requirements. This new hybrid model presents AGM planners with a whole new set of challenges and considerations.

To assist with your planning, here are four helpful starter questions on how to plan a hybrid Annual General Meeting.

How do you start planning a hybrid Annual General Meeting?

1. How many shareholders and speakers will I need to allow for and where are they located?

The first two parts of this question you can determine quite simply. Once you have your total possible audience size, you need to factor in your average attendance rates as well as your venue’s capacity. With current travel restrictions in place, you should allow for a larger portion of shareholders to attend virtually. Similarly, depending on the location of your board members or other speakers, they may choose to attend in-person at the venue or virtually via a live-stream or pre-recorded video.

Understanding the numbers you’ll need to allow for will not only help with venue selection, but also what kind of virtual event platform and hosting you’ll need for the virtual component. For example, a virtual audience of only 20 requires far less technical power and support than an AGM of 10,000 shareholders with attendees streaming from different locations.

Once you have an idea of who will be where and how many will be there in-person as well as attending or presenting virtually, this information will help form the basis of your technical requirements for your hybrid AGM production partner.

2. What AGM participation requirements do I need to consider?

The key to running an effective hybrid AGM is using hybrid technology that doesn’t disrupt the in-room experience but which also encourages participation for the virtual attendees. As mentioned previously, understanding how many shareholders will attend in-person versus virtually will help identify which virtual solution will meet your needs.

What virtual event platform will you choose?

With many solutions available, finding the right virtual event platform for you needs can seem overwhelming. An obvious place to start is asking your venue’s in-house event technology and services provider if they offer one. Encore is in-house at more than 100 venues across Australia and boasts an award-winning interactive event platform, Chime Live. The platform has already been used for hundreds of hybrid and virtual AGMs worldwide because it offers a virtual experience, that’s engaging, flexible and supported by a team of experts. It combines high-definition video streaming with a suite of interactive features like live polling, Q&A, speaker bios, documents and more. Importantly, it has all the security protocols in place to be legally compliant for hosting AGMs online.

Virtual AGM Platform

Is the platform secure?

As sensitive company content is shared along with important decisions made during AGMs, you’ll need to source a platform or integrated solution that allows for secure virtual registrations to ensure the correct people are actually attending and voting. Your AGM production partner will be able to provide a solution to manage this both in-person and virtually.

Accessing and sharing company documents, videos and resources

If the company wants to share documents, videos and other company reports you’ll need to consider how both in-person and virtual attendees will access these. Additionally, you might want to ask attendees to complete a survey on how they found the experience and any improvements which could be made. We recommend tailoring these surveys to the different audiences as some questions would be irrelevant. A platform like Chime Live can provide you with two survey versions for your audience groups to access digitally.
Hybrid AGM Proxy Voting

Does the platform allow for shareholder voting both in-room and virtually?

Voting and Q&A sessions are typically required at AGMs. Your virtual event platform will need to be able to facilitate this with all security and moderation protocols in place. For example, limiting voting to only those members allowed to vote as well as being able to cast a single vote anonymously. The beauty of an online voting system means your in-person shareholders can cast their votes using an internet-enabled device like their tablet or Smartphone. Similarly, for the Q&A session rather than run around the room sharing a microphone which goes against COVID-safety rules, your in-room shareholders can ask their questions using the virtual Q&A feature in the virtual platform. A designated moderator should be on-hand to vet questions before sending live to screen.

3. What challenges might the shareholders or board members face?

Challenges can range from bandwidth issues to scheduling content within different time zones. This is particularly challenging when your shareholders are international. In that case, there will likely be latency (delay) to contend with, which your presenters and operators need to know in advance. It becomes essential for live presenters or operators to have these details when collecting audience feedback, such as timing a poll question and determining how long it remains open.

Hybrid AGM Presenters

What COVID restrictions and hygiene considerations will affect your event?

In-person attendees will want peace of mind that their health and safety are of the highest priority. Due to the event industry’s recent adaptations to combat COVID-19, this will remain important for some time. Encore’s leading MeetSAFE program delivers best-practice in the design and delivery of safe AGMs and events of all kinds. The guidelines ensure events are delivered safely in the changing landscape for live, virtual and hybrid meetings and events. The guidelines were developed with four key areas of event design and delivery in mind:

  • Room layout
  • Traffic flow
  • Technology enhancements
  • Cleaning guidelines.

Be ready to ask your event production partner these questions and how they can help mitigate challenges remotely and in-person to ensure a positive experience for your AGM attendees. The good news it, one of the biggest benefits of running a hybrid AGM lies in the ability of being able to ask some shareholders to attend virtually if restrictions change dramatically. 

On the other side of the coin, adding a virtual element can be daunting to yourself as well as your board members who may be required to attend virtually. We strongly encourage partnering with an experienced production company who can provide rehearsals, virtual stage management, and on-site tech support. Even the concept of a COVID-safe hybrid event is hard to imagine for those not familiar with the model. If you’re facing difficulty getting the hybrid AGM design over the line with the board of directors, consider presenting them with a realistic 3D render of the event.

Double check and check again the security protocols in place

Security is one of the most important elements when organising a hybrid AGM. Ensuring your virtual platform is secure as well as any integrated software (if you use a third-party provider) is critical to the company’s integrity and AGM’s success. An experienced hybrid AGM technology provider would already have all the relevant measures in place to keep the AGM secure from anti-hack platforms, to tight security protocols to secure cloud based networks. Recording the event is another security measure to enable the AGM to be instantly audited allowing a complete review of the entire event and ability to pinpoint each member’s activities and attendance. As a courtesy, you should notify all attendees at the start of the AGM that the event is being recorded for security. Speak with your event technology partner to find out what security protocols they have in place for their platforms.

What accessibility features does the virtual event platform have?

Accessibility is another important element to ensure your AGM caters for attendees specific needs. There are a range of accessibility features which can be incorporated into the in-room experience as well as via the event platform to ensure everyone is accounted for. From something as simple zoom, audio control, font size and typeface, through to sign-language, translations and captioning. Discuss options with your production partner to see what is right for your company’s stakeholders.

4. How will board members deliver their content?

The nature of hybrid events means you’ll have to allow for both in-person production services as well as virtual. Depending on how your board members plan on presenting, you’ll need to consider the stage look as well as a virtual backdrop for those presenting virtually. With restrictions still in-play, make sure you follow the COVID-safety plan of your venue and event production partner when designing the stage look to ensure there’s adequate spacing, hygiene measures etc.

What backdrop or virtual studio will you use?

For consistency, it’s best when the stage looks mimic each other. Whilst you’re limited to what’s available for the in-room stage look, virtual studios have the ability to incorporate a range of digital assets into the backdrops such as embedded videos, animated graphics, microsites and more. They can even change in appearance to suit the topic of the presentation. The basic virtual studio typically consists of a static backdrop or green screen and desk with the presenter and production team. Your speakers have the opportunity to live stream their presentation or pre-record it and host on the virtual platform. If you’re looking for something that stands out, Encore have launched their latest virtual studio solution, the Immersive XR Stage, which uses real-time editing software to digitally immerse the presenter into a 3D environment where they can interact with multimedia and graphics. Whilst extremely impactful, this type of virtual studio requires some rehearsal and production time as opposed to the point-and-shoot simplicity of the standard studio set-up.

Virtual Studio For Events

For a seamless planning and production experience, where the left hand talks to the right, we strongly recommend using an event company that can provide both live and virtual production services. This means not only will you get high-quality in-room staging and support, they’ll also be able to work closely with their in-house technical teams to ensure the virtual experience runs smoothly too.

Make your AGM available on-demand

Whenever possible, we recommend you make content available on-demand. For one, it provides longevity to your content as well as an archive of the AGM for auditing purposes.

Virtual AGM Presenter

The take away

Hybrid AGMs are here to stay.

In fact, 88% of attendees at Lumi Global’s ‘AGMs of the Future’ event believe that AGMs will be mostly hybrid or virtual.

A hybrid annual general meeting provides a solution to keep your company stakeholders feeling connected, whilst also allowing all shareholders to attend despite changing restrictions. Answering these four questions is a great place to start when planning an in-person, hybrid or fully virtual AGM. Arming yourself with detailed answers will go a long way in leading discussions with potential production providers. Choose an experienced, full-service event production company to help guide you through the planning process and provide a seamless service for all your needs.

So you have found the perfect venue for your next event, now you need to start to think about the room layout and in particular the seating style for your audience.

11 Seating Arrangements Used for Events

As discussed in previous blogs, the communication factor on any event is critical. Whether you are setting up a business presentation, training classroom, hosting a full scale gala dinner or product launch, the arrangement of the seating can make all the difference. You have invited your audience to communicate a message, so it’s important that your audience is seated in the best way to achieve the maximum impact for your message!

In this latest blog Encore highlights the 11 most popular seating styles so you can choose the best option for your next event.

1. Theatre

A Theatre style seating arrangement it the simplest, and most common, arrangement used in events. The style reflecting the seating found in a theatre or cinema with chairs aligned in consecutive straight rows. Some venues have the ability to have these in different heights like a University lecture which allows for more seats in a smaller space.

Theatre Style Seating Arrangement

– All of the seats are facing forwards towards the front of the function room.
– Maximum seated capacity is achieved for the function room.

– The audience is closed in, needing to push past other audience members to enter/exit the seating area.
– Aisles are required to ensure sufficient access to seating area.
– There is no provision for note taking or consumption of plated food and beverage.
– Audience interaction is hindered as audience members don’t face each other.

Popular for meetings, Annual General Meetings, product launches

2. Classroom

As the name suggests, the Classroom seating style reflects the seating found in a school or lecture theatre, with chairs and trestle tables aligned in consecutive straight rows.

Classroom Seating Style Events

– All of the seats are facing forwards towards the stage and front of the function room.
– Allows for note taking and consumption of plated food and beverage
– Great for keeping attention on the stage and speaker content rather than being distracted by facing another attendee.

– Again the audience is closed in, making it difficult for audience members to enter or exit
– Aisles are required to ensure sufficient access to seating area.
– Seating capacity is reduced by the trestle tables.
– Audience is less likely to interact as they are not facing each other.

Popular for training, conferences, sales kick-offs and product launches.

3. Herringbone

This style is very similar to Classroom, however with a Herringbone seating arrangement, each consecutive row of chairs and tables are angled inwards. 

Herringbone Event Seating Style

– All of the seats are angled inward towards the podium.
– All of the seats are facing forwards towards the front of the function room. 
– Allows for note taking and consumption of plated food and beverage.

– Again the audience is closed in, making it difficult for audience members to enter or exit
– Aisles are required to ensure sufficient access to seating area.
– Seating capacity is reduced by the trestle tables.
– Audience is less likely to interact as they are not facing each other.

Popular for training, conferences, lectures.

4. U Shape

As the name suggests this seating style is in the shape of the letter U, with the tables & chairs arranged in an open ended configuration with the audience facing inwards.

U Shaped Seating Style Events

– The open end allows for a focal point or presentation area. 
– Allows presenter to approach and engage with each audience members. 
– Audience interaction is enhanced, with audience members facing each other.

– Inefficient use of floor space, with seating capacity reduced..
– A large proportion of the audience are seated side-on to the presentation area.

Popular for training, conferences, workshops, meetings

5. Horse Shoe

This style is very similar to U Shape, however there are no tables, only chairs arranged in an open ended U-Shaped configuration with the audience facing inwards.

– The open end provides a focal point and allows for a presentation area.
– Allows presenter to approach and engage with each audience member.

– Inefficient use of floor space, with seating capacity reduced.
– Aisles are required to ensure sufficient access and egress to seating area.
– There is no provision for note taking or consumption of plated food and beverage.

Popular for large meetings, presentations, team briefings

Horse Shoe Style Event Seating Arrangement

6. Hollow Square

This style is similar to U Shape, however there are four sides and no open end, with the audience all facing inwards.

– Audience interaction fully enhanced, with audience members all facing each other
– Allows audience to consume plated food and beverage easily

– Seating capacity is reduced
– Does not allow for a main presentation area or focal point.

Popular for discussions

Hollow Square Seating Style

7. Boardroom

This style is a smaller version of the Hollow Square or U Shape, however there is a large elongated table, with the audience all facing inwards.

– Encourages audience interaction as they all face inwards

– Restricts the position of a presentation area or focal point, typically to the end of the table 

Popular for small meetings, one on one interviews, small presentations, team briefings.

Boardroom Seating Style Events

8. Banquet

A Banquet seating style is similar to a round dinner table, with the audience seated around the circumference of the table facing inwards.

– Audience interaction fully enhanced, with audience members all facing each other.

– The audience is closed in, needing to push past other audience members to enter/exit the seating area.
– Line of sight can be interrupted for guests facing away from the stage, and similarly for those having difficulty seeing past guests blocking their view.

Popular for gala dinners, awards night, Christmas parties, weddings and other informal events.

Banquet Round Seating Style

9. Cabaret

The Cabaret seating style is similar to Banquet, however there is an open end, with the audience seated in an arc facing forwards to the stage area.

– The open end allows for a focal point or presentation area so no line of sight is compromised.

– Inefficient use of floor space, with seating capacity reduced. 

Popular with meetings such as training sessions, awards nights and gala dinners.

Cabaret Style Event Seating

10. Cocktail

This style is unlike any others with no chairs or tables. It is literally standing space.

– Most efficient use of floor space, with maximum room capacity available.
– Audience interaction greatly enhanced, with audience members able to freely mingle and roam.

– Audience is standing with no opportunity to sit and rest.
– Does not allow for note taking or consumption of plated food and beverage.

Popular for cocktail parties, weddings, Christmas parties and other social events.

Cocktail Style Seating Arrangement

11. Lounge Zone

To refresh the formal vibe and encourage networking, event planners are opting to include a new seating arrangement in their mix – introducing the Lounge Zone. Add sofas, chairs, coffee tables, bar tables and ottomans in clusters to form this creative space.

– Great for encouraging networking and giving attendees an informal seating area to relax and mingle
– Can be used to create a sense of space within a larger venue space and the style / type of furnishings can be used to enhance your event’s theme.

– Some venues don’t have the space to allow for a lounge zone
– A relaxed, styled area may not suit all event types.

Lounge Zone seating Style

If you would like further information about organising your event we would be pleased to help you. Feel free to give our team of experienced event professionals a call on 1800 209 099 or send us an email.

Written by Encore’s creative production team

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Event Insights White Papers

‘Hybrid’ is defined as the combination of two different elements. In the context of hybrid events, it’s;

"a physical meeting in which an online audience also participates. Essentially, both the physical as well as the online audience come together and participate in the same experience or content at the same time, from different locations."

This means event planners who choose to go hybrid, get the benefit of both the in-person experience as well as the virtual.

So why go hybrid now and not wait until restrictions ease and we can go back to ‘normal’?

The short answer is, the days of only in-person events may be long gone.  Restrictions don’t appear to be easing anytime soon, and event planners are starting to capitalise on the benefits virtual events can bring. One of the biggest indicators hybrids are the new norm is the fact participants are becoming more familiar with the new format.

According to IMPACT, in 2021, video (including web conferencing) is projected to account for 80% of all internet traffic.

Event planners need to consider going hybrid in order adapt to changing attendee behaviour and expectations. If you’re looking for reasons to add the virtual component to your event – here are 7 key benefits of adding virtual to your hybrid event. 

Hybrid Event Stage

Why adding virtual to your event can create positive ROI

Event planners are all aware of the benefits of the in-person experience so let’s look at what the virtual component can bring:
  • Increased attendance

    Whilst you’re limited to the venue’s capacity for in-person attendees, virtual events provide an opportunity to reach audiences across the world. By eliminating travel and time-zone limitations (and costs associated with it) your event’s ROI becomes more appealing for planners and participants alike.
  • Thought-leadership

    With more budget available for presenters, consider reaching out to new or previously unaffordable industry thought-leaders or experts. This creates an opportunity to build new connections, give your attendees access to new and in-demand speakers as well as exposing them to new audiences.
  • Networking

    Interactive virtual platforms like Chime Live are designed to facilitate networking online. Whether it be via chat, live polling, virtual break-out rooms, video chat, or connecting via socials, the virtual experience opens up a whole world of new opportunities to engage on a more intimate level between attendees and speakers than ever before. The beauty of an event platform like Chime Live is the engagement created between the in-person and virtual attendees. Rather than treating them as separate audiences, the platform is designed to be all-inclusive, giving each attendee the same experience irregardless of how they’re attending.

  • A new revenue stream

    Take advantage of the online environment and seek creative virtual event sponsorships that will bring in more revenue and ultimately increase your ROI. If you’re streaming your event live or offering on-demand it’s a great opportunity to drive revenue via banner ads, ticketed content, sponsored content or segments, digital swag bags and more.
Virtual Event Sponshorship
  • Data to report on

    The qualitative nature of in-person events make them more challenging to determine if you’ve successfully hit your goals and targets. When you add a virtual element to your event you get the benefit of knowing who attended, when they attended, for how long, what they watched and so much more. You can provide sponsors with data to justify ROI, and importantly, it provides you invaluable data insights to improve on.

  • On-Demand Viewing

    A key benefit to adding a virtual component to your events is being able to stream it live or on-demand. This eliminates any time-zone or scheduling conflicts and means your audiences can access the content at a convenient time. Similarly, allowing attendees to view on-demand extends the life of content investment beyond event day.
  • An opportunity for social connectedness

    With so many travel and lifestyle restrictions impacting the way we connect, virtual events allow for people from across the country and globe to stay connected. When you integrate social media into your virtual event platform, it’s a great way to include both the virtual and in-person attendees and amplify the event’s reach via social networks.

Why you need to keep the in-person experience

Humans are social by nature. We need to belong, to connect, and to share moments. We can even communicate without using words at all through body language and pheromones, and these can have the most powerful impact.

It’s the elements of in-person interaction which can’t be replicated online that hybrid events can still foster. Event planners should only be opting for virtual events when their audiences, content or restrictions demand it. 

The beauty of a hybrid event gives you the engagement of in-person with the amplified reach of virtual. When executed well, hybrid events have the ability to create truly transformative experiences.

Are you ready to level up your hybrid event game in 2021?

Get the best hybrid event production with Encore

Encore are experts are planning and delivering successul hybrid events – the ones that stand out and keep your attendees coming back. With an unparelleled breadth of service across creative, production and tehcnology you can be confident we’ll have the solutions and ideas to make your hybrid event happen. We’ve even developed a set of industry recognised MeetSAFE guidelines for the safe and responsible delivery of events. Throughout 2020, our production and technical teams implemented these guidelines amidst changing restrictions to ensure room layout, traffic flow, hygiene and technology met local requirements. This means our teams are well versed in delivering hybrid events amidst changing needs. Successful hybrid events all start with a conversation so let’s have one today! Get in touch with our team by sending an online enquiry or calling 1800 099 209.

Encore delivered the University of Sydney’s first ever hybrid celebration for the class of 2020’s 18,000 graduands/graduates. It celebrated the achievements of every student graduating that year and was delivered to an impressive 6,000 online guests from 90 countries around the world.

Virtual Graduation Uni Syd MC Eddie Woo

Celebration MC: Mathematics extraordinaire and YouTube sensation, Eddie Woo.


The Problem


With live events prohibited under COVID 19 restrictions at the time, the graduations team at the University of Sydney approached Encore to deliver the celebration event in a hybrid format.

The client had serious concerns about how the event would look and that the graduating class would get a professional, engaging experience to celebrate their success. In addition, there were concerns about broadcasting to multiple countries concurrently, in particular to China as the event was to be delivered concurrently worldwide.

Hybrid Attendees for Virtual Graduation Ceremony
Limited places for in-person attendees in accordance with COVID restrictions and Encore’s MeetSAFE guidelines.


The solution


Encore presented the perfect solution, the intuitive Chime Live platform which features all aspects you would expect from an in-person event, plus live engagement for everyone to be involved via the platform’s ability to integrate Instagram, Facebook and Twitter messages using the hashtag #USydClassof2020.

Gladys Berejiklian presents as Virtual Graduation
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, addressing in-person and virtual attendees.


The result


The event was streamed live from the Great Hall at the University of Sydney featuring speeches and entertainment for the thousands of online viewers. It was a virtual hit with large numbers of students sharing photos from homes wearing their gowns and celebrating with loved ones. Posts included:

Our client Cristina Dietmann, Events Manager, University of Sydney was delighted with the result commenting,

“We were all very concerned about changing the event to virtual. Graduations have been delivered in a similar way at the University for 140 years. Graduation is such a special time for our students and we didn’t want to delay it.”

“The Encore team were terrific! They were so knowledgeable about the technology and made me feel totally at ease. The event went without a hitch and we were delighted. Feedback from both Academics and attendees was really positive.”

“Whilst we look forward to being able to do live, in-person graduations in the future, this was a great way to ensure our students could celebrate and not have to wait even longer.”

Learn more about Chime Live