You can’t be in two places at once, but is this true? Star Trek had the teleporter and also Captain Kirk, but today we have the hybrid meeting! It’s all about bringing together two audiences at once – the attendee that wants and feels comfortable traveling and the attendee that can’t attend the meeting for various reasons. It doesn’t matter if you come in person or patch in remotely, BUCOM “teleports” all attendees into an inclusive and dynamic hybrid meeting.
We covered What are hybrid meetings? in an earlier blog. Let’s look at next steps and best practices to make your hybrid meeting blast off!
Ask the right questions to untangle venue sourcing
Sourcing a hybrid meeting can be a whole new ball of yarn… Evolving in-person attendee needs around health and safety combined with the additional technology needs required to support a virtual audience can present some additional challenges. However, asking the right questions from the outset can provide clarity. Some key questions we ask when sourcing a hybrid meeting include:
- What would be a centralized location based on the attendees current location? How many are likely to drive? What are the direct airlift options? How will this affect in-person attendance?
- What are the local restrictions?
- What are the venue’s safety precautions? Have they recently been updated to align with attendees health and safety needs? Do they have will defined cleaning practices?
- Social distancing? Does the available meeting space support it? What are the outdoor options available?
- Does the property have a technology framework in place to support a hybrid meeting? Bandwith available? Existing hybrid meeting rooms in place? Available space to support in-person green room and virtual emcee studio?
- Does the property and destination match the meeting messaging and encourage in-person attendance?
Audience engagement – a whole different animal
You cannot feed an elephant and a dolphin the same thing just like you can’t engage a virtual and live audience the same way. You have to adapt your gamification strategies, networking opportunities, Q&A, and interactive touchpoints to reach both audiences in hybrid meeting environments.
Don’t let technology define your meeting goals – define your goals first and we have the technology to support it. Deciphering which material should be presented asynchronously and which messaging synchronously, which presenters pre-recorded vs. live, how many breakouts, networking lounges, etc. are all key points.
Practice makes perfect
Lights, camera, action shouldn’t be heard only at showtime. Presenters and your team should be calling these famous 3 words out days before the event at rehearsals!
As Benjamin Franklin said, by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.
Speaking virtually or speaking to a live audience entails 2 sets of skills as a presenter. Think talk show host, when the participant is calling out the right price range on the Price is Right, the home audience is also yelling at the TV. You have to get your speakers to follow that thought process and they will be successful at engaging 2 audiences simultaneously.
Emcee (your MVP) is more important than ever. Meetings need a “voice” and the emcee brings that voice to life. The emcee is the voice for the virtual audience through questions, chat, and transitions between presentations. Think of them as the peanut butter and jelly that glues the sandwich together.
Packing a punch… With content
You have two audiences and you have to ensure your content packs enough punch to keep both engaged and entertained. GET STRAIGHT TO THE POINT and make messaging concise and direct.
65 percent of the population are visual learners – make sure your presentations are visually appealing to keep interest.
Audiences are more distracted and have shorter attention spans than ever. When building your agenda, think about how long you can/want to sit in a chair before you get antsy. You need an attendee engagement strategy that accounts for these 2 audiences – in-person and virtual. Actively consider meeting and session duration in your hybrid meeting audience engagement strategy.
Hybrid meetings are the perfect environment to stretch your meeting cycle and ROI. Attendee investment starts well before the meeting when you reach out with surveys, teasers, and a glimpse into the meeting messaging. Your meeting shouldn’t end when the lights go out and cameras off – this is the time to really engage with your attendee through follow-up and highlights.