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Planning a hybrid meeting? Technology should NOT be your starting point

By March 11, 2022 March 16th, 2022 Projection

The reality is, crafting a successful digital or hybrid attendee experience goes deeper than the technology; it’s about developing a foundational process that frees you up to be creative.

The choice of technology for a hybrid meeting can be overwhelming. Consider this: In 2020, there were about 200 digital event solutions, including registration tools, event platforms, and attendee engagement tools. In 2022, that number has quadrupled to more than 800.

Many meeting planners and teams see choosing a tool (or tools) as the first step to designing a hybrid meeting. But doing so can lead to many unintended – and unwelcome – consequences, such as a subpar attendee experience, disconnected infrastructure, and inability to customize the experience to your association’s goals.

In order to create an engaging event experience, you should have a well-established process, which is as critical to the outcome as the technology you decide to use.

Here are five steps you can take to help lay a solid foundation and set you and your team up for creative success.

Design

This is where you build a meeting strategy that aligns with the goals of the organization. During this step you want to ask and answer such questions as, What’s the overall business strategy of the organization? What is most important to the attendee?

Choose tools

When tools are selected too early in the process — and strategy and attendees haven’t been prioritized — disconnects often arise between what a tool can offer and what the organization needs. Here, ask and answer: What will help meet that business strategy and address attendees’ wants, needs, and expectations?

Customize

When putting on a hybrid meeting, the many tech tools need to be connected or integrated. Everything should talk to each other; but many are not designed to do that easily. Once you have chosen the tools that will align with your business strategy and meet attendees’ expectations, you can customize the back-end infrastructure that will enable them to work together in the next step, execution.

Execute

When it’s time for execution, one important thing to keep in mind: Hybrid meetings often require new and different internal roles to execute successfully. For example, one association created the positions of livestream event manager to oversee all the livestream content, and a pre-recording manager to supervise the large amount of pre-recorded content gathered for the show.

Debrief

It is so important to take time out to debrief on what worked and what didn’t, so you can identify what needs to happen to improve next time. When you do this well and consistently, going into the next year’s meeting, you start from a position of strength, with organized feedback from the last meeting.

The full article was originally published on PCMA’s Convene