by Afton Holfinger, SHRM-CP Director, HR & Assistant Controller, Bartha
Over the last year, events have looked different from the past and have adapted to a new normal of meeting virtually and finding exciting ways to innovate the ways we meet. As restrictions on meetings change in the coming months, we’ve put together a list of topics and challenges to consider when deciding if a hybrid meeting is right for you. While going hybrid is a great way to have the best of both a live and virtual event, it also has logistical and financial hurdles you should be prepared for.
As we’ve said before, starting early is key to the success of your virtual meeting. Planning isn’t just about the technological parts of bringing people together. It’s also the time you should spend on the following: defining the goals of your event, thinking about your target audience, and considering what types of engagement will be most impactful, and determining the solutions that have the best ROI, such as platforms, custom websites, video production, A/V support, and set design. Additionally, hybrid events are two events planned simultaneously, so extra time for decision-making, planning, and rehearsals are necessary for meeting production deadlines.
Finding the technology that will work best for your event is another important step for the virtual part of your hybrid meeting. The time of relying on streaming alone to deliver your virtual experience has passed and there are many options for integrating your virtual audience into your live event that are more impactful and meaningful to those remote attendees. You’ll want to think about how streaming vs. pre-recorded and produced sessions vs. live and replayed sessions can be presented together to get the most out of your meeting.
You should also consider how to bring the excitement of live events to attendees at home. Think Gather.town, Kumospace, or Pluto which all offer solutions for close-to-real-life mingling experiences like spatial video chats, happy hours, and meet-ups. Or immersive experiences like 3D or AR that can offer better connections to your product or message and can be paired with access to customized audio experiences using Alexa and Google assistants or Spotify. For ideas for integrating virtual audiences into breakouts and live sessions, think about Q&A, polling and chat features, and ways to incorporate the virtual presence for in-person attendees.
While vaccines are becoming more accessible every day, there will still be some level of sanitization and social distancing that won’t go away and will require planning with the venue to follow ever-changing CDC guidelines. Think about what the venue will be responsible for vs. what additional safety procedures you or your event production company will need to take on. UV sanitizing? Sanitizing stations? Cleaning schedules and room turnover? Safety signage?
After so many months of innovation in the virtual meeting space, hybrid meetings will require careful consideration to remain affordable while also delivering meaningful and accessible content to remote attendees. There are many considerations to assessing if hybrid is right for you: weighing meeting fatigue, evaluating multiple platforms vs. a custom website, or determining what aspects should be live vs. Virtual. Utilizing a production partner is the best way to ensure that you’re using all the tools available in a way that guarantees the success of your event.
Visit ByDesign.com to learn more – and contact us to schedule a consultation.