Corporate Events Archives | ZiaBia

ZiaBia’s tips for running fantastic hybrid events

What is a Hybrid Event?

At ZiaBia, we believe it is one event with two audiences attending - one in a physical venue and one joining virtually.

So, building on from our previous hints and tips for online events, here are our considerations for Hybrid events.

From the start

Important considerations

Use of budget

Delegate journey

The virtual audience

The physical audience



Delivering the content

Making sponsors visible

After the event

The toppest tip!!


Each event, face-to-face, virtual or hybrid, needs to be created with consideration and care. We are here to help and support you with your journey - contact us!


Combine fun with focus at your event

How do you bring the fun into your online event without losing the focus on your key messages and it becoming a distraction? 

Clients have really had to step out of their comfort zones when transforming their face-to-face event into an online event. Conferences, awards and meetings, which may have been delivered the same way for years, have HAD to evolve to survive the transition. Moving to online has, in some ways, been like breathing fresh air into the same old tired event format. Now is the perfect time to guide your client that smidge further out of their comfort zone!

On our previous blog, Are your audience in the room?, we shared some ideas about how to maximise your platform and use third party apps to really engage your audience with the content.
Now, why not sneak in some fun elements for your attendees too? 

If your attendees are having fun, it is more likely that they will stay engaged for the duration of the event. And fun doesn’t need to mean you are taking the focus away from your key messages – there are ways to combine them both effectively.  Here are some great ways to do this!

During the pandemic technology has developed at a rapid pace, so the ideas below really only scratch the surface. Some will require more investment while others are free.


Most people love an element of competition and can make even the most switched-off attendee alert again. 
Previously associated with event apps, gamification has evolved into the online event world as well. Grab audience attention and get them involved with some simple, effective ideas.

Lots of companies which offer gamification tools and apps will be have a cost associated, however many will have free entry-level options as well.

The power of social

Pretty much everyone is on social these days and most events have a hashtag. Why not capitalise on this? 

SocialWallPro has various options and packages available to suit the complexity and budget of your event.

Let’s get visual

Involve your delegates in making the most of visuals and imagery. This also adds a real element of fun to the event and if people are having fun they are more likely to be engaged.

 Learn something new

Involve your audience with a hands-on activity. To give you a flavour of what can be implemented, we have delivered events incorporating some of these options:

Power up your platform

We have all been on a wide variety of event hosting platforms, but after a while they might start to look a little samey. Also after a year of online events people are starting to crave seeing people again so wouldn't it be wonderful if you can replicate that online somehow? 

Step into the world of AI and VR... you can set up virtual meeting rooms that look like meeting rooms. You can brand them, have outdoor space, reception lobbies signposting the different elements of your event. These options take your event to another level for the delegate experience. This really is at the higher end of your budget but might be just the thing your client is looking for.

See the options available from Shocklogic and Fuzzy Brick


As you can see there really are endless opportunities to be creative whatever your budget from low-spend gamification options right through to a super souped up platform interaction!

It really is an exciting time to be working on these events and seeing how willing the clients are to step outside the box. If you would like a chat with one of the team about your next event (online or in person) and suggestions we have for combining fun with focus at your next event please get in touch.

Are your audience in the ‘room’?

Let's talk Audience Engagement - its 2021, and you have made the switch to online events. Congratulations – it’s fun isn’t it?

You have adjusted your agenda to make sure it works better online with short and snappy sessions; more breaks have been added, the format has been mixed up and your audience isn’t being ‘talked at’ throughout; presenters are using different ways of presenting – goodbye masses of bullet points, hello imagery, photos and video!

However, do you sometimes find it hard to ensure audience engagement? Are your audience even still in the ‘room’?

Sometimes there really is no way of knowing. Or is there?

Without a physical room it is super tricky to gauge the audience reaction and to invite them to participate in what you are doing. As an event manager, you need to be inventive to make sure your event is interactive, relevant and engaging!

We have been delivering online events for our clients, old and new, for nearly a year now, so we have a few tricks up our sleeves!

Here we share a number of tried and tested options for engaging the audience with your content messaging, ensuring everyone stays alert and achieving your event objectives.


Maximise your platform

Work with what your platform offers. If you are on a tight budget your chosen platform may already have engagement tools built in. Explore what they have and how you can utilise them to keep your audience engaged. Options are likely to include one or more of the following:

As you would with any aspect of your live event, make sure these elements are planned in advance. Your audience is more likely to engage when they implemented in a strategic rather than slapdash way.

Integrate third-party apps

Platform-provided polling can be fairly one-dimensional requiring prescriptive answers. So, while they do the job you could be missing some critical responses. To plug that gap, there are some fantastic web-based apps available, which add extra depth to your Q&A and polling options.

Slido has recently been integrated with MS PowerPoint so you don’t even have to toggle between screens to display real-time answers.

From tedious to curious

Information sharing. That is pretty much what every event is about. The trouble starts when some of that information is not the most attention-grabbing!
And with attendees now at home, or in part-empty offices, if the messaging isn't engaging then the distractions will creep in.

Luckily there are some clever tricks you can use to keep people alert and involved when you are attempting to share the mundane. 


There is so much you can do to help your audience engage with the content and messages you are trying to impart. From the simple yet effective to the more strategic.
If you would like to talk to one of the team about how you elevate your delegates’ experience, we would be delighted to speak to you.

Guest Blog: A testimonial from the security and surveillance industry

The Global MSC Security Conference & Exhibition is an important annual event that historically takes place at The Bristol Hotel in November. For one-day, security practitioners, senior police officers, local authority members and technology experts come together to debate the most important topics in the area of security and public sector surveillance.

For 2020 the chosen theme was 'AI and Analytics in Video Surveillance' and the event was given even greater gravitas when the Surveillance Camera Commissioner choose to use the conference as the platform for his final public address in the role.

Plans for the event began soon after the success of the 2019 conference. However as the long term impact of Covid-19 on hosting events became apparent, a decision needed to be made whether to postpone or cancel the event.

Derek Maltby is the Managing Director of Global MSC Security and he comments: “The programme was finalised with excellent speakers on a hot topic for the security and surveillance industry. Our sponsors were looking forward to continuing their support of the event and early delegate registrations were looking good.”

Time to pivot

At the start of the pandemic, the decision was taken to continue to plan for the conference to take place. As the severity of the situation rapidly unfolded it was clear that it would not be possible to host the conference. Derek adds: “Everyone would have understood if we had decided to cancel, but we wanted to find a way to stage the conference, with the caveat that it would need to match the same high standards.”

The challenge was given to ZiaBia Events Consultancy who have been entrusted with managing the Global MSC Security conference in recent years. Working in collaboration with the AV company, Istead, they developed a plan to host a Special Online Event.

“When we discussed making the conference a virtual event, it was important to us that it stood out and didn’t become just another webinar,” explains Derek. “It was a step into the unknown but having worked with ZiaBia and Istead for so long, we knew they shared our high standards and that we could trust in their advice, guidance and expertise implicitly. ”



“The ZiaBia team went above and beyond”

The two hour-long Special Online Event would be hosted at the Istead studios in Coventry and streamed live to delegates representing private and public sector organisations around the world.

Derek explains: “The vision was to produce a live, high quality Newsnight style broadcast, with a presenter and a mix of in studio and external interviews, presentations and panel debate.”

The existing sponsors Genetec and Pelco, along with media partner, the International Security Journal were quick to give their support to this exciting first for the industry. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter and Philip Ingram MBE also agreed to give their presentations.

Project Manager at ZiaBia, Paola Davis, states: “We needed to work at lightning speed to get everyone onboard, feeling comfortable with the new look format, and to allow ample time to give the event the promotional campaign it deserved.”


Whilst working with Global MSC Security and Istead on the logistics and aesthetics of the event, the ZiaBia team also co-ordinated a multi-channel marketing campaign that included a targeted email campaign, social media engagement across LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as an extensive media outreach programme.

The Bristol conference typically attracts delegates from across the UK, however, the Global MSC Security team was struck by the high level of interest and registrations from all corners of the world including Europe, China, US and Australia. The event was acknowledged by all involved as a huge success.

“The ZiaBia team went above and beyond, to deliver a Global MSC Security first,” concludes Derek. “The feedback we received from our speakers, delegates and sponsors has been fantastic, with calls for a Special Online Event to become a mainstay of the Global MSC Security calendar, alongside our flagship conference, which we look forward to hosting again hopefully in 2021.”

Helping make your speakers shine online!

With the recent announcement of a Lockdown 3.0 in England and the rest of the UK pretty much in the same situation, we can safely say that online events are here to stay for a while. In the third of our 'Technophobe' series we now are focussing on event speakers.

Whether you use a professional speaker, an expert in their field or someone from your organisation, the online stage is a whole new ball game!

While there is still an audience there is minimal, or no, audience reaction for them to respond to and interact with. It is harder to engage the delegates, get them involved and get immediate feedback.

Where once there was a stage to walk around there is now just their office/kitchen/dining room to present from and, as they will only have a webcam, moving around is restricted somewhat!

A one-hour programme slot may not do so well online – your speaker is competing with delegates’ multitude of home distractions (even if it is just the washing up!)


There are a number of options we have found work when helping guide our event speakers online. We hope they are useful to you – let us know what you think


The devil is in the detail

Let your speaker know as much about the event as you can and refer to the online platform as a venue - both will help make the experience more relatable.

Get a reaction

Speakers will need to recreate audience engagement in a non-visual way as it is unlikely they will be able to see their audience, or if they can, only a proportion.

Death by PowerPoint

We’ve all been there and seen it done at one time or another! While PowerPoint (or equivalent) definitely has its moment why not encourage your speakers to try something new?

Banish apprehension

We would highly recommend engaging an event host or compere to take additional pressure off your speakers - you don't want them panicking about if they need to deliver housekeeping messages or keep an eye on questions coming in!


By making your event speakers comfortable and providing the support they need, the transition to online events will be easier. This will, in turn, improve the attendee experience to better engage with the content and share their experience.

ZiaBia is an events consultancy with experience delivering both face to face and online events for clients of all sizes, in locations around the globe. If you would like to have a more in-depth chat with us about how else we have worked with our event speakers with the switch to online then we look forward to hearing from you.

Supporting stakeholders with their switch to virtual events

Previously we wrote about how you, as an event organiser, can support your attendees at a virtual event. The next in our mini-series of ‘support’ articles focusses on helping the stakeholder when they are a bit nervous about making the change.

The government recently announced updated information on business events and that more people can attend, but this is all Tier dependant, which can change fairly quickly if more cases develop locally. Therefore, we predict virtual events won't be going anywhere for a while yet!

So how can you can support the nervous stakeholder, or one who has had a bad experience?
The intention and will are there but there maybe a mental block about translating to online. You now need to work with your stakeholder to shift that initial perception.

Here we share some of the main concerns we have come across, and overcome, from our stakeholders:

“The live event will not translate to virtual”

“People come for the networking”

“How do delegates interact or ask questions?”

“Home provides too many distractions”

“Sponsors won’t sign up as you can’t have footfall without feet”


Quick wins

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse! Even if they are seasoned presenters, it’s a different ball game without a physical audience to respond to.
Communication behind the scenes is different, there are lots of messages to share with the audience and timings really are down to the minute. Rehearsals will make your client much more relaxed and in control on the day.

Why not…

Engage an event host – whether it is a professional host or the stakeholder themselves, having someone holding the event together helps enormously and this really is a key role!


So for all the obstacles presented there are a multitude of solutions and positive outcomes!
If you want to find out more about how we have supported our clients and stakeholders to make the switch, then do get in touch, we would be delighted to talk. 

Supporting attendees at your online event

Recent government announcements stated that face to face meetings are, again, on pause for another six months. Therefore, we predict that more organisations, initially cautious and happy to wait for face to face to resume, will now move their events and meetings online. And with this change is the need to adjust how we are supporting attendees.

Like many people and organisations, Team ZiaBia have embraced the switch to the virtual event world – we are learning new things, talking to new clients and taking our business in a new direction.

People still want to meet even if it is via webcam - products and services must be marketed; awards need presenting; messages are to be shared.


Internal and external audiences

We are sure that your team meetings will have been one of the first to switch and one of the easiest to sort out technical hitches and confidence glitches!

While you can mitigate and provide support for internal teams it's trickier to support external attendees. If you don’t know your audience, you need to anticipate any questions they may have. If they are struggling to adapt or are a bit of a technophobe then that could be a lot of questions!

By now most people will have attended their first online event so likely to be familiar with the concept. But they may still be nervous.


Here are a few ideas on how you can build confidence in your attendees and make their transition to virtual as easy as possible.

How do I…?

This could encompass a variety of scenarios, for example:


I’m trying to connect…


Can you hear me?


That extra support


These are just a few quick ways you can support your attendees’ online experience. If you can demonstrate to your attendees your confidence in an online event, they will have the confidence to attend and participate. By setting expectations in advance, everyone will know what is expected of them on the day and this will make your attendees and feel more comfortable and enjoy the event.

If you would like to find out more about how you can ensure you are supporting attendees at your first (or next!) virtual event we would love to talk to you.

Coming soon we have the next in our 'technophobe' series 'How to support your speakers' 

ZiaBia’s tips on running fantastic online events

With more and more companies turning to online events to engage their customers and internal teams to communicate their messages, it is critical to get things right in this new world. 

We have pulled together the teams' experiences of setting up and managing virtual events into a collection of handy tips and insights, all broken down into logical segments. We have also incorporated the good, the bad and the ugly we’ve seen when attending quite a few virtual events ourselves.

One key thing to remember is that you cannot replicate a face to face event online, you need to change the format up and keep your audience engaged - be creative!

Make it interactive

Audience wellbeing



Content and speakers


Follow up


So there you have it, a whole bunch of useful tips to help make sure your online events engage your audience and leave them wanting to know when your next event is.
ZiaBia is an events consultancy with experience delivering both face to face and online events for clients of all sizes, in locations around the globe.
If you want to know more about how we can help you, please get in touch and we’d be delighted to hear about what you’re looking to do and let you know where we fit in.

Five ways to make your event more sustainable

We only have one planet and we need to take care of it...take a look at our 5 tips for how to make your Corporate Event more sustainable.

#WorldEnvironmentDay #EventProfs #SustainableEvents

1.      Name badges

Most corporate events would have a name badge and often these will contain plastic, consider alternatives to limit the plastic usage.

2.      Carbon footprint

Take into account where your delegates are travelling from. Limit your carbon footprint by holding your event in the best location which covers all your event requirements.

3.      Single use plastics

 4.      Recycle, recycle, recycle

If you have to print handouts for your event, for example if they cannot be shared on-line or via devices, set up clearly marked recycling areas around the venue.

Consider deliveries to the venue for the event and recycle or re-use packaging where possible.

Check the conference room once the event is completed, can you re-use than unused pad at the next conference, can you take the pens that have been left behind back to the office to share with colleagues, can you pop the used paper into a recycling bin….all these small things can start to make a big difference.

 5.      Venue

 More and more venues are making changes to become more sustainable, review this information alongside all your other event requirements to choose the venue that best suits all of your requirements.

ZiaBia attend Business Excellence Forum

April was another amazing month for ZiaBia Events! We started the month off by delivering a small Customer event for one of our clients. Not to mention attending the Business Excellence Forum in Telford listening to some very inspirational speakers. Lots of event management planning also took place this month. There were on-going site inspections and project meetings for events in 2019 and through into 2020.
We all enjoyed the wonderful weather over the Easter break and came back ready for action. We started off planning for the next 90 days in the business. The team also had a great success by coming 3rd  in the office Easter Egg hunt!
We now we are finishing off this busy month by attending the Corporate Hospitality Show in Leeds to meet with Partners and Suppliers. Its time well spent to catch up with old friends, meet new contacts and to learn about industry news.

May is going to be keeping us busy as well. Our Delegate Management Services will get four websites going live for Summer and Autumn events!