It’s never too early to start thinking about moving your event into the hybrid world. Adding virtual components to extend your reach beyond the physical venue may seem like a daunting challenge, but going hybrid is more a leap of planning than a leap of faith. The same planning skills that help you thrive in the physical world are just as valuable in the hybrid world, says virtual event maven Emilie Barta. These six tips will help make your first hybrid event even more successful than your last physical-only one.

1. Remember that you are planning for an event, not just viewers passively watching speakers. Just as planners focus on site visits, logistics, agenda, marketing, etc. for the physical side, they must devote the same attention to the virtual components.

2. Don’t force the virtual audience to simply watch the live stream. Invite them to participate just as actively as your physical audience. Talking heads on-screen are more tedious than talking heads in person.

3. Don’t substitute quantity programming for quality programming. Give your online audience the very best of the event, not every session. Some topics, some presentation styles and some presenters do not translate well in the virtual world.

4. Use the online tools and technologies that your virtual audience understands and accepts. If the virtual audience is uncomfortable with the tools and tech, they won’t use them and will feel cut off.

5. Don’t skimp on bandwidth on-site. Let your technology vendor specify bandwidth needs, then make sure your physical site can meet those needs. The site must supply dedicated bandwidth from multiple sources for redundant backup in case of a droppage.

6. Remember to connect your online attendees and your on-site attendees. Online and on-site are two faces of the same audience and both are crucial to your hybrid success.