WELL, HELLO HYBRID!
We are getting back to what we know works best and feels familiar, face-to-face meetings and events. But for the near and foreseeable future, meeting and event attendees are going to choose how they meet. And we know that they will not make simple choices between attending live or attending remotely. They will choose blended, highly personalised solutions that suit their own way of working, networking, and returning to normal when they are ready. And rightly so!
To travel to meet, or not. To join remotely, or not. To join on-demand, or not. To join on catch-up or not. Most are more likely to choose a combination of two or more of the above. And not exclusively. How they join each day of a multi-day programme will be different too. The truth is that the extended shelf-life of online meetings and events will mean that how we choose to create, contribute, and consume content has changed – for the better – forever.
We think that facilitating personal choice is what hybrid is all about. That your role is to create meetings and events that are as inclusive as they can possibly be and draw new audiences in. And that our role is to help you to do that in a way that keeps everyone in your community – stakeholders, sponsors, speakers – fully onboard.
Our proprietary platform, Virt-US Live helps us to connect in-room and remote audiences on a common platform allowing us to bring people together, to collaborate, and, importantly, connect. The online and offline experience is accessible to all through filmed, streamed, and edited footage. But ultimately, you choose the who, how, what, and when of your blended meeting or event.
How we choose to create, contribute, and consume content has changed – for the better – forever.
We asked Jane Hopkins, Client Services Director, to tell us what she thinks about the rush to hybrid.
"Stop panicking about hybrid! The technology that supports how we meet changes all the time, the reason why we meet remains a constant. I've seen a recent flurry of commentary about hybrid. Today, yet another poll exploring how we feel about hybrid. I’ve done a lot of thinking about what it is that has us so fearful and confused.”
So, you think we are in panic mode, and hybrid is a knee-jerk response to the pandemic?
We need to rewind and remember where we were 18 months ago—cancelling meetings, rebooking travel, or refunding registration fees and not knowing what was going to happen next. Of course, what happened was that organisations remembered why they meet; to inspire, involve and interact as a brand, or for associations, to share the content, the science, and the learning that is the bedrock of their member communities and the reason they exist.
But surely that only applies to face-to-face meetings and events?
Look, hybrid is a nonsense, and that is why it has people in a whirl. Impossible to pin down to a single definition and certainly little yet in the way of best practice to guide us. So, let’s see it for what it is. Just another collection of tools for us to use to achieve our real objectives – sharing new content and continuing shared conversations.
So, hybrid as an opportunity, not a threat?
Yes, of course. At a recent event, I was reminded that change and adversity nearly always bring opportunity. A lead engineer from the McLaren F1 race team reminded us that embracing opportunity gave his team the leading edge over the competition, which continued to focus on near adversity and possible threats. That mindset, to lose the fear, grasp the chance to do things differently, led his team to enjoy a period of unrivalled success.
But, as you say, there is little by way of best practice out there, so time to experiment then?
Absolutely. Let’s get excited about this new bag of tricks that will enable us to deliver a personalised, differentiated experience to all parts of our communities. To reach new audiences and give people a way to be part of the conversation. Let’s make sure that virtual and face-to-face attendance at our meetings has equal billing. Let’s deliver content brilliantly but in a way that works for all our user groups. Let’s work to design and deliver blended, content-rich experiences for all, whether employees, customers, stakeholders, or communities. And let’s use hybrid to do it!
To learn more about our solutions – virtual, hybrid or live, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org