Learn How to Tackle a Growing Industry Trend, the ‘Hybrid Meeting’

Many meetings must serve the needs of on-site attendees and remote audiences—make sure you accommodate both flawlessly.

Have you live-streamed presentations or educational sessions and incorporated social media strategies that let off-site audiences participate in your face-to-face meeting?

If so, you are among the 50 percent of meeting planners who have planned a hybrid event, according to research by Meeting Professionals International.

MPI, a global community for the meeting and event industry, conducted research on hybrid events that suggests meeting planners employ hybrid meetings “to share content, ideas and experiences with attendees across multiple geographies and time zones.”

The group also notes that many meeting planners are resistant to the hybrid format, citing “technology failures and potential cannibalization of face-to-face events.”

Although these on-site-plus-remote events are far from the norm, technological advancements are sure to make this format increasingly popular.

The MPI research found that hybrid events typically close the on-site-off-site gap in one of four ways:

  • broadcast to remote audiences;
  • connect remote office locations to main events;
  • feature remote speakers; or
  • connect multiple sites to a broadcast studio.

But of the four, one predominates: Sixty-two percent of MPI study respondents said their hybrid event featured only a broadcast to remote audiences.

Best Practices for Hybrid Events

  1. Treat the broadcast event and the face-to-face event as two separate events with dedicated resources, staff, production teams, facility managers and partners for each.
  2. Recognize the differing needs of your distinct audiences. Onsite attendees are looking for unique experiences and ways to connect with the event and other attendees. Planners must consider creative ways to engage off-site audiences who don’t have those same needs; one way is through a strong social media strategy.
  3. Realize that not all content is appropriate for remote audiences. It may make sense to share only select meeting elements with off-site participants. 

“Hybrid event organizers often seek to reduce production costs by live-streaming only the most popular sessions,” according to the MPI research. 

To keep your remote users engaged, consider scheduling some short sessions along with the longer ones. Anecdotal data in the report suggests that broadcast sessions should last no more than 20 minutes.