How do you start planning hybrid and virtual meetings?
Here are three questions to get you started. Your answers will guide you in finding the technology partner(s) best-equipped to manage your event:
How large is my audience and how would I like them to participate?
Your audience size will differ based on the type of event you’re having. A large global conference might include over a thousand remote attendees with different educational tracks, pre-recorded videos, and breakout sessions. Conversely, a corporate town hall might be captured live with a group of in-person attendees and then broadcast through a single video stream to the rest of the company.
Will your audience be a global one? Or much smaller? Identify who will be where, and how many will be there (in-person attendees, remote attendees, in-person presenters, remote presenters).
What challenges might they face?
Challenges can range from bandwidth issues to scheduling content within different time zones. For example, suppose you are streaming content to a large remote audience. In that case, there will likely be latency (delay) to contend with, which your presenters and operators need to know in advance. It becomes essential for live presenters or operators to have these details when collecting audience feedback, such as timing a poll question and determining how long it remains open.
In-person attendees will want peace of mind with a hybrid event that their health and safety are of the highest priority. Due to the event industry’s recent adaptations to combat public health risks, this will remain important for some time. Be ready to ask your event provider(s) if they have solutions to address any potential risks.
Be ready to ask your technology partner(s) those questions on behalf of your audience. Ask how they can help mitigate challenges remotely and in-person to ensure your guests’ positive experience.
How will I deliver my content and will it be available on-demand afterward?
If audience engagement tools (such as Q&A or polling) are essential to you, prioritize them when looking for technology solutions. Ask to see a demo and test out the tools you’d like to use. What kind of information is best collected with their particular engagement tools? Also, ask how your provider will collect your audience’s feedback. Will all of the responses be captured in one queue/result? Or, will they be segmented somehow?
Whenever possible, we recommend you make content available on-demand. For one, it provides longevity to your messaging. Months later, people can revisit it or stumble upon it for the first time. While this may not be appropriate for all forms of content, it’s essential to consider it when possible. Secondly, in an age where people drift between the physical and digital realm, audiences like the flexibility of choosing to watch live versus later on-demand. Finally, you can use a timed release of on-demand content to simulate a live meeting rather than take on live streaming costs when budgets are stretched.
Discuss whether your remote and in-person attendees will be able to engage with one another in a way that helps you meet your objectives. To be genuinely engaging, discuss how your content will impact your audience. Consider other networking opportunities to reinforce what they’ve learned and when possible, consider making your content available on-demand.
Taking the Next Step
Answering these three questions is a great place to start when planning any hybrid and virtual meetings. Arming yourself with detailed answers will go a long way in leading discussions with potential providers. If you don’t have the expertise on staff, hire a consultant to help you ask the right questions.
Have a hybrid or virtual meeting question for us? Please Contact one of our experienced Hybrid events experts to discuss.
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