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No one can deny that the world of work is changing. Gone are the days of total in-person collaboration. Now, many employers must learn to strike a balance between traditional workflows and more flexible models. While many organizations are embracing a totally remote model, a significant number are turning to flexible work or hybrid solutions. In fact, a recent study stated that 74% of U.S. companies are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model.
So, what does this mean for meetings? In a world filled with in-person and remote workers, company events need to appease both groups. The solution? Hybrid meetings. At face value, hybrid meetings are a fairly simple concept. Instead of presenting to a group of all in-person or all virtual attendees, a hybrid meeting combines both audiences.
Although hybrid meetings come with extensive benefits, it’s easy to get things wrong. Sure, you may already be a great presenter, but the relative newness of hybrid events makes them an uncharted territory for many. This means that in-person and virtual presentation tips or tactics alone can’t be applied to a hybrid situation. The unique format of these events most often requires companies to think outside the box.
At Alleo, we’re all about innovation and communication. As experts in our field, one of our goals is to help leaders discover how to be a great presenter in any setting. With a special focus on hybrid events, we’ve created this guide to give you the insight you need to successfully adopt a hybrid meeting model. In this resource we’ll discuss:
When done right, a hybrid presentation enables companies to reach virtual and in-person audiences simultaneously. Ideally, this meeting model is designed to create presentations that accommodate everyone’s needs and help improve communication strategies for flexible workforces. In addition to increased accommodation, hybrid events are extremely unique because they require innovation, especially the utilization of new meeting technologies like Alleo, to deliver a rewarding and consistent experience to all in attendance.
At their core, successful hybrid meetings are designed to create an equitable experience for all involved. Far too often, live audiences are prioritized over virtual attendees. But by using a hybrid meeting model and improved presentation technologies, the benefits of virtual and traditional in-person events can be enjoyed.
But what are the benefits of hybrid presentations? Here are a few examples:
Ultimately, taking a hybrid approach to meetings and other events gives all attendees the same experience. This allows both audiences to engage with presenters and one another to facilitate a more productive meeting.
When discussing virtual vs hybrid events, the differences all come down to formatting—virtual meetings only have a digital audience, while hybrid meetings have a live and remote audience. Sure, there are instances when a fully virtual meeting is acceptable. For example, a quick check in with a small team, or weekly one-on-one meetings are both events where staying virtual would suffice. But for more high-level and in-depth discussions that affect multiple stakeholders, hybrid meetings are the most effective option in a flexible work environment.
This is especially true for events that require attendees to engage with one another. On this topic, one study assessed the issue of connection and engagement in virtual meetings and found that 25% of respondents believed personal connection to be the single greatest challenge of online-only events.
The primary goal of a hybrid event is to reach and engage as many people as possible. Although fully virtual models have the potential to reach large numbers of people, their capabilities for engaging an audience are startlingly lackluster. A well run hybrid event should utilize advanced meeting technology to foster seamless engagement between the in-person audience, virtual audience, and the hosts—creating a more worthwhile experience for everyone involved.
Every hybrid presentation example is bound to look a little different, depending on the scope and objectives of each meeting. However, there are standard types of hybrid presentations that can be used to inform your event’s structure:
Although hybrid meetings and hybrid workshop best practices are constantly evolving, there are a few general things to keep in mind. Below, we’ve listed out the key considerations and components of highly effective presentations in hybrid meetings.
When do we actually need to meet in-person? And when do we need to meet at all? These two questions have been at the forefront of many leader’s minds as they adopt flexible work models. Many would argue that everyone is in too many meetings at the moment. According to one recent study, the average American desk worker is in 25.6 meetings a week. The combination of employees trying to balance this heavy meeting load while managing their own work has led to serious burnout. So, what can be done? Ultimately, it comes down to improving the quality and reducing the quantity of your meetings. Before you spend a ton of time outlining your hybrid meeting plans, here are a few things to keep in mind:
In the end, the best way to get the most out of your time together is to avoid unnecessary meetings in the first place.
Hybrid events are significantly more complex than in-person or virtual affairs, and require a lot of time to properly organize and plan. Considering the space, technology, and preferences of individual stakeholders takes a lot of leg work and preparation. When presenting your attendees with options like, choices of multiple sessions, travel preferences, and other considerations, it’s vital that you create a robust registration form to record this information and implement it into your plan. It’s also critical to create a logistic and financial contingency plan to anticipate fluctuations in attendance.
When running a hybrid event, or any event for that matter, organization and transparency are your allies. Since hybrid meetings have a lot of moving parts, especially on the technical side, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and prep to ensure everything runs smoothly. Here are a few tips: Should we mention that doing it in Alleo makes the planning phase easier?
Need some help getting organized? Alleo’s strategy and planning features help you keep everything moving by enabling distributed teams to collaborate, whiteboard, and present using a customizable canvas to visualize your unique strategic planning process.
Before jumping into hybrid meetings, all event managers should brush up their presentation strengths. For example, all visuals used in the presentation need to be engaging and accessible for remote and in-person participants. In addition to stunning and straightforward imagery, meeting hosts should also concentrate on the interactive aspects of their events. This could involve using activities such as:
Using these tactics, and other methods, will keep both audiences engaged and present throughout the hybrid event.
Now that we’ve discussed the best practices for hybrid meetings, let’s take a look at some common mistakes that you should be wary of.
How do you engage people in virtual presentations? This is one of the most difficult aspects of conducting a hybrid meeting. It’s very easy to unintentionally exclude virtual participants in a hybrid setting. Even simple things like understanding where to look when giving a presentation and knowing how to speak during presentation change in a hybrid setting. Failing to look at your virtual attendees or having poor audio quality can both exclude the remote half of your audience and cause them to tune out. One way to create an opportunity for all attendees to participate is to establish rules for who gets to ask questions first when it comes to virtual and in-person audiences. You should also have video and audio capabilities that allow virtual attendees to interact with their live counterparts.
Sure, simply regurgitating information to your remote and in-person attendees is an efficient option, but it’s also the least engaging. Although it may be tempting to present your slides and call it a day, creating an interactive experience will be a more memorable and entertaining meeting for everyone involved—it’ll also help keep people engaged, allowing for increased information retention. Therefore, taking the time to seek out interactive meeting technologies and to create some activities is well worth the effort.
Although including activities and other interactive methods in your presentation is important, you shouldn’t go overboard. There is a fine line between engaging and distracting activities. To truly dial in and choose the right activities you should:
Since virtual attendees are not in the same room, they can often be overlooked during hybrid events. Although it may be tempting to push all remote participants to work together, it’s not the most inclusive solution. With the right tools, presenters can easily integrate virtual participants with in-person attendees so everyone can mingle and discuss. For example, our Idea Input template functions so both virtual and live participants can collaborate and share ideas in the same breakout room.
Sadly, a typical powerpoint presentation often doesn’t cut it in hybrid presentations. For a hybrid event, your visuals and activities need to be engaging for both in-person and remote viewers. This means you should avoid text-heavy slides and illustrate your points with high-quality visuals like infographics, charts, and polls. It’s critical for the virtual audience to have a similar visual experience as your in-person attendees. To help with this, Alleo’s templates for hybrid workshops and presentations allow you to create a well-choreographed experience to wow all attendees.
The same goes for your activities as well. For example, our Empathy Map template is made up of high-quality visual components that allow virtual and in-person attendees to map out the thoughts, feelings, pains, and gains of customers. This simple and effective visual map makes it easy for the host to add in ideas as attendees speak their minds. All the presenter has to do is click on the center customer icon in the circle icon of the template and select the section to place the note in.
To host a successful hybrid event, you need to achieve the following goals:
In the next two sections of this article we’ll explain which features and technology should be utilized to meet all of the above listed objectives.
Here is a brief list of non-technical features that can help make the most of your hybrid meeting:
As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, technology is a catalyst for a successful hybrid presentation. But choosing the wrong technology can have disastrous consequences. Here are just a few features you should seek out when selecting tech to power your meeting:
Well, that’s it! Ready to create your perfect hybrid presentation? Let us give you a hand. The Alleo platform was specifically designed to level-up your presentation skills, no matter the scenario.
Alleo provides a customizable and secure experience to foster more productive meetings and presentations, greater inclusivity, faster decision making, and maximized productivity. Alleo is the only browser-based platform that brings the three core pillars of any hybrid engagement into a single experience; voice & video, multimodal content, and customizable activities.
As the world of work continues to change, companies deserve to be empowered by innovative solutions that can help them keep up with the times. Connect with us today and discover what Alleo can do for you.