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10 Tips for Great Hybrid Meetings

Hybrid Meeting 2015

Technology continues to rise in importance, with more meeting planners implementing technology in one aspect or another as part of their meeting programs. The evolution of technology is making it easier to use, leading to greater interest in virtual and hybrid meetings today.

Hybrid solutions can enhance the value of in-person meetings by connecting speakers and attendees with new audiences online, giving them a taste of what the on-site event is like. Organizations can complement their face-to-face, physical meeting with simultaneous online viewing over the web, and on-demand, post-event offerings. Hybrid meetings add value by increasing interaction, reaching a broader audience with the event content and boosting event exposure. The availability of high-bandwidth Internet in venues, at the office, or on-the-go, and the added benefit of incorporating remote presenters are boosting adoption rates as organizations strive to extend their reach and capture a larger global audience.

Here are 10 tips for coordinating a successful hybrid event:

1. Run an in-studio event with a live audience whenever possible.

2. In the video being broadcast, incorporate close-ups of presenters while giving their speeches, mixed with wide views of the audience and studio.

3. Poll the webcast audience live, then push the poll results for the audience to see, and discuss the feedback live. Use polling features that display both percentages and easy-to-read pie graphs, to allow the audience a glimpse of how their fellow remote-audience members are responding.

4. In addition to the live video, pre-recorded videos, downloads, and information around your live content could be added to the webcast to give some background, highlighting the importance of the live event and creating excitement.

5. Track the consumption of pre-recorded content so you can analyze which attendees accessed which materials.

6. Small details, such as the name of the current or upcoming presenter and presenter biographies, add context for live viewers and anyone joining the webcast mid-event.

7. Easy sharing through social media can be enabled to spread event awareness and create buzz around your content.

8. When possible, incorporate Q&As that include both live and remote audience questions.

9. Use animation in your PowerPoint presentation and other interactive website features.

10. Post-event, execute an email campaign to reach anyone who was unable to attend in person or unable to watch live from their computer, and provide access to the archived webcast on-demand. The campaign can help extend the reach of the in-person event to not only the in-person audience, but also a social audience through replays.  

Alejandro Contreras is a director of technology and platforms at American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), which offers longstanding experience, expertise, and leading capabilities spanning program implementation to budget optimization to deliver powerful meetings and events experiences for clients. The global team is focused on meetings and events sourcing, planning, contract negotiations, budgeting, expense management, reporting and benchmarking, combined with strategic counsel and integration of leading technology. This end-to-end approach focuses on creating visibility, driving savings and enabling effective meeting experiences. "American Express Meetings & Events" is a service provided by GBT. GBT is a joint venture that is not wholly owned by American Express Company or any of its subsidiaries (American Express).

This article appears in the February 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.