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Hybrid Meetings: 10 Reasons Why

August 1, 2013

I am very happy to see the perception of hybrid meetings shifting from “what are they” to “why do I need them?” I feel like we aregetting the word out on what they are...but we still need to work on why they are valuable. Let’s face it, hybrid meetings are a newer concept, most meeting planners and conference organizers find them intimidating, and some technology glitches need to be worked out. But I believe that attendees will forgive the hiccups in the learning process AS LONG AS their needs are met and their concerns are addressed.

In that respect, here is why meeting planners and conference organizers should add a virtual componentto their in-person meeting to create a hybrid meeting:

  1. Hybrid meetings increase the size of your audience since you now have both an in-person audience and a virtual audience. In this case two is better than one.
  2. Hybrid meetings extend the reach of your meeting to a global community since you are now streaming information over the Internet. Not only do you pick up attendees from far away who would never consider attending your meeting, but you also pick up attendees you never even knew existed who just “happened upon” your virtual component.
  3. Hybrid meetings give those unable to attend the ability to still participate in your meeting. We all know that “stuff happens” and sometimes people are not able to attend an meeting in-person, so providing them access through a virtual component (since something is better than nothing) shows them that you appreciate their interest and still want to provide them information and education.
  4. Hybrid meetings allow for “collective-knowledge,” so more people involved in your meeting means more idea-sharing and brain-storming…think of how much more can be learned and accomplished by widening your audience since networking and learning from peers is so sought-after and valuable.
  5. Hybrid meetings provide footage which can be archived and re-purposed for further education and promotion. Websites and video do not have an expiration date, so you are able to use what you recorded indefinitely and in many different ways; think of the good will you will generate if you pass the content to others for their own personal and professional use, and then think of even how much more exposure, and possibly revenue, you will get as a result.
  6. Hybrid meetings enable year-round, never-ending conversations and interactions. Since you are building a new Web-based community, this community can continue to interact well after your meeting physically ends.
  7. Hybrid meetings create new sponsorship opportunities and more publicity for your sponsors, advertisers, vendors, supporters, etc…especially since there is a much wider audience, a much longer time frame for exposure, and the ability to expand your reach exponentially through social media and word-of-mouth “sharing.”
  8. Hybrid meetings create new revenue streams for your association/organization. Although a virtual component cannot demand the same price as you would charge your in-person attendees, fees can be collected for attendance and continuing education credits.
  9. Hybrid meetings show that your association/organization is forward-thinking and on the cutting edge of technology. You want to constantly service your audience, so prove to them that you are always looking for ways to advance your association/organization into the future by taking advantage of developing trends and strategies.
  10. Hybrid meetings convert virtual attendees into in-person attendees at your next meeting. We all know that there is nothing better than meeting someone in-person, shaking their hand, reading their body language, and sharing information and stories right next to each other, so use your virtual component to create a feeling of “I have to be there next year.”

Long live the hybrid meeting!

Hybrid Meeting Consultant/Virtual Emcee Emilie Barta's 15-plus years of broadcast/video experience AND live event experience enable her to help meeting, conference and trade show organizers plan successful, visually stimulating and interactive hybrid events. Emilie Barta Productions maintains a website at www.emiliebarta.com.

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About the author
Emilie Barta