by Michelle Hunt, Director, Alliance Management Operations, ISTO
Industry events that combine LIVE and digital components for in-person and remote audiences are what we now call the “Hybrid Meeting” or “Hybrid Event.” And while Hybrid events were conceived in direct response to travel restrictions during a worldwide pandemic, with the advancement of streaming and digital meeting technologies and the flexibility they afford, they are increasingly becoming a desired meeting format for the future. Some early data even suggests that for hybrid events, there may be greater attendee loyalty to attend future events. So that means that for today’s meeting planner, you need to know the tips available to ensure you have a successful, collaborative, well attended event.
Hybrid Meeting Tips
Logistics – In addition to high-speed internet access and a strong AV team for your event, it is now equally important to consider an optimal layout for your main and breakout sessions that consider online, remote viewers. Consider having an onsite camera that can share remote viewers who are engaging in onsite sessions to foster more effective interaction and collaboration, for example. Keep in mind that whatever the onsite camera shows is what your remote audience is seeing and the more impactful the staging site, the less likely they are to disengage or become distracted.
Also, when scheduling the time frames for your events, keep the schedule of your remote viewers in mind and schedule around lunch and dinner times.
Prep – For speaker presentations it is proven to be optimal to have your speakers at the LIVE onsite event. However, if you have remote speakers, it is essential that both live and remote speakers are prepped well in advance on the event format. Dry runs are important in these cases to ensure that online access and digital presentations are seamless during your event and that your camera placement is optimal.
Social Media – Twitter has been proven to be an excellent platform during event for both outward communications from the event to attendees as well as inbound questions and comments from attendees which boosts the collaborative effect as well as messaging and session content.
Registration – Keep registrations flexible. Allow attendees to sign up as a remote attendee and change their registration to in-person if they desire and visa versa. Show tiered registrations where attendees can opt in to various tracks or breakouts to accommodate their schedules. Consider allowing for LIVE chats in advance of the meeting or even on your registration page to gather valuable feedback from attendees that could be fed into your event content for a more impactful event. To promote attendance, you may want to assign points at registration for the number of tracks an attendee attends and raffle off a prize to the largest collaborator(s).
Event Welcome – Whether it’s a small meeting or a large meeting, always remember to welcome your online attendees and acknowledge the number and geographic presence of your remote audience for all to hear. And ensure that per your format, discussions will be well balanced between your remote and LIVE audience to promote include for those online.
Time Management – the more breakout sessions and event tracks that you offer, the more imperative it is that your sessions stick to their schedule. Remote attendees coming in to a specific session should not be in an online waiting room if your LIVE schedule is off. Ensure that prompters can manage speakers to ensure they stick to their allotted times as does the interactive session that follows. Similarly, appoint a virtual host to maintain communications with your remote attendees at all time in the event there is a snag and they can be briefed and kept current at all times.
Record it and make it available On Demand – one of the greatest benefits to the Hybrid meeting is the ability to digitize the event and make it available later on On Demand. This keeps your event evergreen and broadens the exposure to your event.
There are an array of tips to ensure good, well planned event management, but for Hybrid meetings, these are a few that ISTO supports for good association management. Contact us today to learn how we can help your association or alliance meet your goals.
ISTO provides today’s industry alliances and trade associations with turnkey legal, operational and event marketing support. Provided by an award-winning staff, ISTO provides a legal infrastructure for incepting organizations and offers best practice operations management, enabling organizational stakeholders to focus on the work at hand. ISTO is the premier trusted partner of the global technology community for the development, adoption, and certification of industry standards and technology solutions that benefit industry. An international federation of member programs, its mission is to facilitate the life-cycle of industry standards development through a dedicated staff committed to offering vendor neutrality, quality support and member satisfaction. ISTO Programs span the spectrum of today’s information and communications technologies. For more information, visit ieee-isto.org.