Have You Led Your First Hybrid Event Yet?

If you haven’t, I guarantee you will need to very soon. Hybrid is the next frontier and the nut everyone is trying to crack!

 

I recently led my first truly hybrid event with the folks in my 6 month Worldbridgers Mastermind program. The event was supposed to be in-person but due to Covid and other factors, we ended up with 15 of us in person and 4 online.

It was a major challenge to design and we went through many iterations before landing on our final set up. I’m glad to say that although we made some minor tweaks along the way (with helpful and immediate feedback from our participants), that it worked really well overall.

What really touched me was how much the in-person participants cared about the experience of the virtual folks, and were constantly iterating on ways to bring their voices and presence into the room.

The proof of the pudding was that the virtual participants said they felt really included, which is one of the most important metrics of success for a hybrid event!

Here’s our group photo below, including the virtual participants on the big monitor!

I’m excited to share what I learned with you and hope it’s helpful on your hybrid journey!

6 Tips to Maximize Your Hybrid Experience

    1. Get the in-person participants invested in the experience of the virtual participants.
      • This is a game-changer! Get the in-person folks to care deeply about the experience the virtual folks are having, which will incentivize them to want to interact and include the virtual folks even more, and make it a better experience for everyone.
    1. Leverage the simplest tech that yields the highest rewards.
      • Be as simple as you can with technical needs and equipment, as complicated tech set-ups often get in the way of connecting, instead of making it easier. We used Zoom as our streaming platform, had 4 computer stations, 2 microphones, and a large monitor with a speaker.
    1. Design for your primary audience first.
      • Decide whether your in-person or virtual audience is primary for your event (often this is the bigger audience.) Craft your agenda in that format with this audience top of mind. After you’ve completed that design, then translate your plan to the secondary format.
    1. Sound is more important than video.
      • People will be more forgiving if they can’t see you, but they can’t get follow along if they can’t hear you. Think about how to make sure all voices are amplified (speakers/presenters/participants) and that both, your in-person and virtual audiences, will be able to hear you well (i.e. invest in high quality microphones and speakers).
    1. Create cross pollination between in-person and virtual.
      • Create a buddy system where someone from the virtual audience is paired with someone from the in-person audience. Or, create stations where the in-person folks can visit with and join breakout rooms with the virtual participants. This levels the playing field and makes us feel more connected as a whole community.
    1. Have parallel tracks with dedicated facilitators. 
      • Each format needs it own leader(s) who can interact and engage with the participants directly and immediately, keeping the program on point and tracking with the other format. Virtual facilitators will need to monitor chat and set up breakout rooms, while in-person facilitators will need to pass the mic for participants to speak and call the group back together after small group shares.

Now is the time to up-level your practice!

If you find yourself designing or facilitating in new paradigms, join us at an upcoming training! Advance your skills for a new hybrid world through Facilitation Finesse or reimagine what a true dynamic learning experience can be in Designing Dynamic Experiences.

 

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