by Dean Ronnie | July 21, 2014
A buzzword that is heard more and more in event planning, "hybrid events" are meetings that allow you to cater for two audiences: those who are physically in the room and those who couldn't make it. Hybrid meetings have been in existence for a number of years, but with the emergence of new technologies this type of meeting is growing at a rapid rate.

Hybrid meetings allow you to deliver your content beyond the four walls in which the event is taking place, giving you a much larger audience. No longer do you have worry about lost sales opportunities because some people can't make--instead you can reach out to all. 

Making use of constant advances in technology, hybrid meetings are the perfect combination of virtual technology and traditional face-to-face meeting methods. A hybrid meeting could have a physical attendance and also a virtual element. Going beyond conference calls of the past, today's hybrid meetings make use of a variety of emerging technologies to ensure that virtual attendees are as well catered to as those physically at an event.

Here are some of the ways in which you can host a successful hybrid meeting:

Pay attention to the venue you choose.
 When putting together a hybrid event, there should be a big emphasis on venue finding. Because technology plays such a massive role in the hybrid event, you should ensure the venue you choose is adequately equipped. This means choosing a venue that can cope with vast amounts of data being transferred at one time. Of course, the venue should also have Wi-Fi to accommodate those who are physically attending the event.

Because you'll be filming and broadcasting sound, be sure to test the acoustics of the room.

Define which software packages you will be using and ensure you know them inside out.
 Before the event, pin down which software you will be using and make sure you know that software. There are many software options available that you can use for hybrid meetings. For live streaming, there is Ustream, Livestream, and Skype, to name a few. Decide on the software you will be using early on and ensure you advertise it in advance so that virtual attendees will know what they'll be using.

Make use of emerging technology and keep ahead of your competitors.
 Organizing a hybrid meeting means really having your finger on the pulse of emerging technologies.

One such technology that is set to have a big influence on event management is Google Glass. Back in January, Sli.do, a Web-based system for audience interaction, introduced its Google Glass app at the Fresh14 Conference in Copenhagen. The app allows event attendees to go to a dedicated URL where they can submit questions during a presentation. At your event, this would allow everyone participating to see the questions and vote them up or down. The presenter would then be able to respond to the question without having to look at a computer or even turn away from the audience.

You can further increase audience interaction through the use of a Google Glass app called ConnexMe. Designed to boost interactivity during meetings or presentations, the app requires attendees to visit a dedicated app on their smartphones and tablets. The event speaker can then use a voice command on the Google Glass to launch a poll that appears on the website and can also be projected on to screens around the room for those in attendance. As audience members respond to the poll, the event speaker will be able to see the results on their Google Glass in real-time.

Encourage your attendees to use their smartphones and tablets.
 While it was once considered taboo to check your mobile phone while at an event, today it should be encouraged. On posters, screens, and the like, be sure to advertise your social media details and any hashtags you are using.

Make all content available online in real-time.
 Be sure to share any content online as soon as it is presented at the event. This includes any presentations, handouts, and videos that you display.

Dean Ronnie is an accomplished writer who is incredibly passionate about emerging technologies. He is particularly interested in the way technology is changing how we do business and the role it plays in event management. Ronnie has worked in the digital marketing industry for the past six years and is the content marketing manager of Miromedia, an online marketing agency based in the United Kingdom.