5 Ways To Accommodate Virtual Attendees with Hybrid Meetings

Better cater to remote event participants by leveraging interactive technology

Dedicated Twitter feeds, hashtags, Facebook groups and virtual networking events can add a social element to the remote attendee's experience. Credit: getty images

Hybrid events combine in-person attendees with digital elements that allow offsite attendees to experience meeting elements in real time. They allow for a broader reach and extended audience engagement.
Following, we discuss how you can better provide a hybrid meeting experience:

Start live streaming
Live streaming allows virtual participation from offsite attendees, providing them with engaging and interactive experience similar to that enjoyed by the attendees physically present.

Take advantage of live-stream options from social media "live" features to dedicated streaming providers, but keep in mind factors that will lend to the stream's success: How many sessions are you looking to broadcast simultaneously? Where are your virtual attendees getting their content from? What quality of audio and video will be acceptable? How many individuals do you expect to tune in at any given moment?

Get engaged with polling
Instant polling systems can easily close the interaction gap from a remote audience by gathering participant information and feedback in real time.

You can also encourage interaction, feedback and insight during speaker sessions, panel discussions and more by asking attendees to answer surveys shared across social media or via your event app.

Provide virtual labs
Cloud-based virtual labs allow organisations to set up virtual "classrooms" that can provide an interactive learning experience for large numbers of widely scattered people, enabling them to read, write, perform tasks, share materials and more.

This interactive setup makes the most sense for educational sessions or targeted focus groups or tracks. On the contrary, they are probably not the right solution and might have relatively little impact on passive educational situations, like lectures or speaker sessions.

Collaborate with social media
When people physically attend an event, they've the chance to engage in a social aspect often unavailable to virtual participants. Overcome this challenge with dedicated Twitter feeds, hashtags, Facebook groups and virtual networking events that can add a social element to the remote attendee's experience. You should also allow off-site participants to communicate with presenters and via channels such as the event app. Provide a comment forum that allows virtual attendees to ask questions and participate in the ongoing conversation.

Coordinate scheduling
When people are participating remotely, they might not share time zones with the event location. Use data about your audience to help with scheduling and choose a time convenient for the majority. Be sure to record and make them available online after the event.

Mercy Ehrler is the director of marketing for Attune, a provider of meeting and training spaces.