Workzones Post by Aaron Velasquez
Hybrid Meetings can be Powerful Professional Events.
Whether you’re a fan or not, the workplace is permanently hybrid. From everyday work to high-profile meetings, and even large-scale conferences, in-person meetings are continually becoming interchangeable with virtual interactions.
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is any business function that has both in-person and virtual attendees. One of the most common examples is a board-room meeting where there are multiple groups who meet in-person but connect the groups via a virtual platform. However, there are a variety of hybrid events, such as fundraising galas, trainings, lectures, and conferences, where some people show up in-person and others attend virtually.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Two of the main benefits of hybrid events are an ability to reach more people and increased return on investment. Hosting an event with a virtual option allows many more people to attend because obstacles like travel, venue limitations, and general expenses can all be avoided with a virtual option. This can also decrease a host’s costs and increase their profits (in the case of a fundraiser) since they can reach more attendees without substantially increasing their event costs.
A third benefit of hybrid events is the flexibility that comes with them; business events can be hosted anywhere that has an internet connection. This has lead to a notable increase in options in the business community. For example, a hybrid business event in Austin, Texas can be attended by workers from Seattle on a bleisure trip to Santa Barbara; and while they’re at it, they can rent a space with a local co-working company and attend the event from a professional, distraction-free environment instead of their hotel room.
Keys and Tips to Hosting a Hybrid Meeting
Basics: As with any business function, it is important to be prepared, have a plan, and ensure a clean, distraction-free environment. However, with the new hybrid setting, a crucial part of preparation is familiarity with your software; a couple test-runs beforehand is encouraged.
Equipment: Not only does a host need a solid internet connection and proper software, they also need the proper equipment: a functioning camera, mic, screen, and speaker.
Engagement: Once the event is underway, one of your main goals as a host should be keeping the attention of both your audiences. Be especially thoughtful of your virtual attendees as they can be the easiest to lose; it can be very alienating if they are not participating and don’t feel engaged. Consider including visuals (such as pre-recorded videos or a slideshow), a live chat option, and/or the use of smaller “breakout” rooms. While bridging the in-person/remote divide can be very difficult, it is important to always consider the value of the event to the attendees, virtual and in-person.
Hospitality: A staple of many business events has been the swag bag; assorted gifts given for free to incentivize attendance, promote products, and leave an impression on attendees. Just because meetings have turned hybrid doesn’t mean that this practice should come to end. When hosting a hybrid event, consider utilizing a company like Santa Barbara Gift Baskets to send specially curated swag bags to you virtual attendees; this is not only a kind gesture but will also reassure your virtual attendees that they are in fact a part of the event.
Despite the fact that the hybrid business world is young, constantly evolving, and often confusing, a proper setup and some simple preparation can go a long way to ensuring a well done hybrid event.