All Aboard… The Hybrid Meeting is Leaving the Station

…ON ITS JOURNEY TO THE FUTURE

If you are still harboring the fear that virtual meeting technology is a threat to your income as a traditional face-to-face meeting planner, you are about to miss the boat.  The BAN THE BOMB movement back in the day began after the United States had already detonated two nuclear devices over Japan. “How can we ban the bomb?” Jack Kennedy famously asked. “The technology already exists.”  PC’s, mobile technology, the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, HD video and audio, broadband, Skype, and Wi-Fi are all here to stay.

The only question remaining is how we will put them to use.

THE MEETING HYBRID

The true value of any new technology is measured solely by its utilitarian virtues. “That’s a great little gizmo. What good is it? What can I use it for?” By finding new uses for today’s powerful communication technologies, meeting planners have gradually given birth to the Hybrid Meeting. A hybrid meeting is one that has a real-time, face-to-face component as well as a virtual component.

THE VIRTUAL MEETING

When the sole purpose of a meeting is information transfer, a 100% virtual meeting is fine. The pedagogical world has invented the on-line university by designing a vast array of e-learning techniques. Up to a certain point, no face-to-face information exchange is necessary.

FACE-TO-FACE

However, if people need to connect on a heart-to-heart level a 100% virtual meeting falls flat. Personnel interaction and emotional content are still the main reasons for attending a meeting in person. However, since face-to-face meeting formats have been greatly enhanced by new communication technologies, some form of hybrid meeting has become the standard in the meeting and event industry.

HYBRID MEETING FORMATS

  1. Hybrid meeting formats have evolved from:
  2. Simply connecting remote office locations to a main event. This enabled more people to attend a meeting than perhaps a limited facility could accommodate and limited the time and expense of travel for outlying or international stake holders.
  3. Including remote guest speakers in the main meeting who would not have otherwise been able to speak at the event.
  4. Connecting multiple sites to a broadcast studio enabling planners to conduct many meetings with a single core of presenters.

BENEFITS OF HYBRID MEETINGS

In addition to the benefits of expanding the reach and limiting the cost of events, meeting planners are finding that:

  • Information shared and exchanged at a face-to-face event is easy to access after the event when hybrid technology is used.
  • They can limit costs by not having to fly as many people.
  • Meeting attendees utilizing hybrid technology can experience the same content in different ways.
  • Through the use of mobile technology attendees can interact with speakers and one another during a presentation.
  • When carefully selected and trained, speakers are more effective using hybrid technology.
  • Rather than limiting revenue, hybrid meetings create many additional sources of revenue when a virtual audience is included.

ALL ABOARD

Millennials and Gen-Yers communicate through mobile technology and social media. You can no more ask them to put away their cell phones during a presentation than ask them to hold their breath until the speaker is finished. Hybrid meetings are here to stay because the technology has already been invented, and we have found a use for it.  At Premier Meeting Services – we always leverage technology when it matters most, creating an atmosphere of convenience for our clients.

So, if you’re hesitating for even a second…RUN…DON’T WALK…and catch the Hybrid Meeting train as it leaves the station.  Give us an opportunity to prepare a free draft and quote for  your next meeting!  It will be our pleasure to serve.

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