The buzz about hybrid meetings is that they’re mixing things up—in a good way. Combining online, streaming components with the ever-important face-to-face element, planners of meeting events can foster greater attendee engagement and achieve more successful and wider-reaching results.
According to a recent research project supported by Sonic Foundry and the Meeting Professionals International Foundation (MPI), 93% of planners say they meet or exceed their objectives when organizing a hybrid event. Which makes this medium a mega-opportunity. Read more about the benefits of hybrid meetings and take away these tips for making the most of them.
Planning is paramount.
Decide to go hybrid from the beginning. It’s much more efficient and effective to strategize a hybrid event from the outset, as opposed to adding on the technology component later in the plans. Hybrids require a great deal of effort with things like formulating formats, coordinating vendors, ensuring quality audio, purchasing bandwidth and testing functionality.
Format follows function.
With various formats available for hybrid events, choosing the best one is contingent on a number of factors. Whether broadcasting a live occasion, streaming guest speakers into an onsite meeting or connecting remote office locations to one another, let the function of the event dictate the appropriate format.
Tech takes a back seat.
It’s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of tech-savvy mediums. But it’s important to remember that the technology itself is not the message; it is merely a vehicle of communication. Ultimately, the content you’re trying to deliver should be the focus. Utilize technology to your best advantage in making that content easy to reach and follow.
Don’t leave anyone out.
In a hybrid event setting, your audience is twofold, and the experience for attendees will vary from in-person to online. It’s necessary to use different strategies to keep each one involved. Make the remote audience feel as close as possible. And remember that while you can often keep a live audience engaged for hours at a time, there will be far less attention afforded by those streaming from their remote devices.
Don’t sweat the online effect.
If you’re worried that providing the option of online streaming will deter future participants from being present attendees, rest assured. Statistics from the Sonic Foundry-MPI study show that the hybrid does not reduce or eliminate face-to-face participation. People do not typically prefer the online experience. In fact, a majority of them only engage in it due to limitations on time and resources. A hybrid meeting is simply a better way to reach those individuals who would not be able to make it anyway.
The hybrid is still evolving.
The concept of an event that offers an in-person experience AND the ability to connect with remote attendees is still in early stages. Based on the Sonic Foundry-MPI study, 50% of the surveyed participants never organized a hybrid event, and 25% never attended or helped to organize one. There is still a learning curve involved—and kinks to be ironed out. But the objective remains clear: to create a meaningful experience for attendees both present and afar.
Plugging into a hybrid event soon? Or simply want to learn more? Contact Lynn Kaniper at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the information you need.