Virtual events are here to stay! There are so many advantages:
- Allows your organization to expand its audience.
- Opens the door to those that could not attend before due to budget, time, family, etc.
- Provides an alternate for those experiencing last minute issues that affect their attendance.
- Is much more scalable as well as cost effective.
But we crave face-to-face interaction. Can we have the best of both worlds? It’s up to the individual to determine if going to a live event is good for them at this time, while others are going to need to be more on the side of safety and stay put.
To accommodate all, hybrid meetings are here. And though we’ve figured out a lot, we are not 100% there yet. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dip your toes in the hybrid waters, but it does mean you should spend time figuring out the best way to plan your live meets virtual event.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
- The new buzzwords in hybrid events are “hub” or “pod”. A hub/pod is a small gathering of folks who get together to watch a talk together, they meet in a conference room that provides plenty of space for social distancing.
- Talks can be done in several ways; pre-recorded and shown both in the hub/pod and online, or it could be a live talk that is also streamed online or a live talk that is streamed for the hub/pod to watch, as well as be viewed online.
- It’s a big ask to have people sit in front of their computers for hours on end, presentations should be kept short, provide a variety (talks, interviews, produced videos) and make sure to have plenty of breaks.
- Ideally, all talks should be recorded before or during so the audience can have access to them at a later date.
- Be aware of the time zones of your audience and coordinate accordingly, also another reason why taping sessions is important.
- Make sure your IT team is solid, a hybrid event is going to require great expertise! A team to ensure all the technology is working is the key to a successful event. Practice sessions will definitely be in order, not to mention count-on internet connections.
- Search out venues (I can really help out here!) that have studios already in place. Some venues are already creating solutions for hybrid events, including in-house IT teams.
- Networking is still a thing! Even in the virtual world. Grip is a “smart event matchmaking software for virtual, hybrid and live events.” Seek out ways to encourage engagement between attendees. Be creative! Consider hosting smaller discussion groups around industry topics and updates.
Of course, there is so much more to know and think about and learn. Meeting planners should reach out to each other and to discuss all the ins and outs of hybrid meetings and learn from each other!
For a more comprehensive guide on Hybrid Meetings, check out this guide from MPI.