So much has changed with how people meet and gather for work related events. As things are starting to open up, many are considering what is the ‘new normal’ for holding meetings, conferences and events.
Though we here at MHLIC are still learning and figuring things out with the rest of the world, we found a couple things that have been helpful when planning a hybrid event:
- Though you are planning for one event, there are two different experiences. Approach your planning efforts for those attending in-person and virtual. It is important that the virtual audience feels included and not feel isolated from the event. Use technology to bridge the gap between the two attendee groups by creating a shared experience (e.g., Mentimeter, Jamboard, mobile apps, polling, chats, Q&A, etc.).
- Choose a platform that is appropriate for your event. When planning a conference or other large event, the platform should be able to do live streaming, registration, marketing, networking and there are some platforms that even have the capability for virtual exhibitors. It is important to prepare presenters and exhibitors prior to the event to test the platform. Please note that some venues contract with certain platform vendors so there may be limitations on which one that can be utilized for your event. It’s also important to understand what staff support will be required in-person and virtually. You may need more staff support for a hybrid event than you would for one that’s only in-person or only virtual.
- When planning a hybrid meeting format, consider the virtual audience first. In-person attendees will find it easy to engage in conversation and read body language but those attending virtually, will not have the same advantage. Utilize tools like Mentimeter, Jamboard and Poll Everywhere to help keep them engaged. Consider assigning a facilitator for the virtual attendees which will allow space for them to be comfortable in participating and feel part of the meeting.
Also, it is important that the audio is set up in a manner that virtual attendee will be able to hear everyone in the room. This may involve having multiple microphones or those that are speaking seating near one. And finally, if there are attendees on different time zones, take that into consideration when planning the meeting.
- 9 Tips for Running Effective Hybrid Meetings: https://cic.com/blogpost/2021/5/13/9-tips-for-running-effective-hybrid-meetings
- 10 Ideas for Effective Hybrid Events: https://www.northstarmeetingsgroup.com/Planning-Tips-and-Trends/Event-Planning/Event-Programming/hybrid-events-best-practices-tips
- Mentimeter: https://www.mentimeter.com/
- PollEverywhere: https://www.polleverywhere.com/
- Jamboard: https://workspace.google.com/products/jamboard/