Hybrid Meetings and how to run them – part #1

The dictionary definition of a hybrid meeting is a gathering of at least one group of face-to-face participants that digitally connects with participants in another or multiple locations. The hybrid meeting is a wonderful and creative solution to this COVID world we are currently experiencing.  The hybrid meeting is a perfect way to maintain social distancing while in fact enlarging your audience, as it is an emerging event type that successfully incorporates both onsite and virtual programs. With all of the uncertainties, there is one thing we can bet on  – Hybrid meetings are not going anywhere anytime soon! 

All industries  need to learn how to incorporate the “hybrid” aspect into their meetings for future success. Every organization has participants that are not ready to meet in person for sometime to come and do not want to be forgotten, it is the job of the host to keep them in mind and engage them during the event. Although hybrid meetings seem stressful and nerve wracking, once you have the core team of people of content and material creation in place, you are ready to go!

Once you have chosen the specific platform you will be using (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, any up and coming full event host applications), the next step is the presentation itself. One thing you cannot negate are the virtual hybrid meeting attendees. They already feel disconnected not being on premise and it is the host’s job to bring it all together as one cohesive event. 

As the host, you need to find a way to keep all of your in-room attendees engaged while not losing any virtual ones. Here are some helpful tips.

  • Ensure your audio is proper. 
  • Have one designated location for in room attendees to ask questions so the virtual hybrid meeting attendees can see and hear. 
  • Designate specific time for virtual hybrid meeting attendees to ask questions and have someone in the room monitor what questions that are being asked, or better yet, bring the individual up on the screen. 
  • Do not just make eye contact with people in the room, look directly into the camera and mention the “virtual attendees” often. This will keep the feel of inclusion consistent. 

Have an exhibit hall? Don’t forget that the virtual hybrid meeting attendees may want to see them as well! Offer the exhibitors to set up an information link on the virtual registration page. Offer a prize, such as one free enrollment for an attendee to the next event, if they visit every booth (to make it enticing for booth exhibitors knowing they will see virtual traffic as well as in-person traffic) and can tell you what the color shirt was of the various exhibitors. The hybrid meeting gal is to make it fun and, most importantly, keep your attendees engaged. 

We are able to make your Hybrid meeting solution a breeze at both the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood and Forefront and Conference Center with new video conferencing equipment, in house audio visual, and different size meeting rooms to accommodate in-person attendees from 1 to 500! We are well aware of the changing dynamic to meetings and are ready and willing to change with you!