• by Nicole Wise
    on September 27, 2012
    10 Tips to Create a Successful Hybrid Event

    If you take away just one thing from the recent study on hybrid events from Sonic Foundry and Meeting Professionals International Foundation, make it this:

    While 50% of planners surveyed said cannibalization is a top concern in their organization, 88% of planners who have done hybrid meetings say there’s been NO negative impact on onsite attendance. In fact, many say it even boosts onsite attendance. That’s HUGE! 

    That’s just one piece of data from the research report, which is the result of 14 months of work surveying nearly 1,800 meeting planners, attendees, technology vendors and consultants, and conducting nearly 40 in-depth interviews. It’s the most comprehensive report on the topic. The research team of five people from the U.S. and Europe was led by Interactive Meeting Technology, LLC in Minneapolis. 

    Last week, Samuel J. Smith of Meeting Technology, LLC visited Sonic Foundry in Madison, Wis. to share insights from the study in a webinar, Insights From MPI’s First Hybrid Meetings Research (available on-demand for free). 

    In a nutshell, here are 10 tips to help you create a successful hybrid event. 

    1.)    Start with the end in mind. Organizations that proactively add hybrid elements early on generate stronger outcomes than those that add hybrid components later in the process.

    2.)    Attendees at the main venue, in remote viewing locations and online experience the same content in different ways. Most meeting professionals are still trying to understand this concept.

    3.)    While many people point to technology as a barrier to the success, people, process and format are equally important.

    4.)    Of the four main hybrid formats – webcasts, connecting remote offices, remote speakers and connecting multiple sites to studio – 62% are currently broadcasts.

    5.)    One size does not fit all. Advances in technology allow meeting professionals to be creative in how they configure an audience.

    6.)    Most attendees would prefer that the online experience of a hybrid event resemble a talk show or other TV format. Using man-on-the-street interviews, talk show formats or news-desk formats are more engaging ways to deliver online content than lecture, which is what most currently are. 

    7.)    Content is king. Remote attendees face tons of distractions, so content needs to be relevant and delivered in an engaging way.

    8.)    Anecdotal data from the survey suggests that webcast sessions shouldn’t be longer than 20 minutes.

    9.)    Acknowledging the remote audience, taking questions and even providing exclusive content are important engagement tools for remote attendees. Some events use virtual emcees and facilitators to help with this process.

    10.) Speaker engagement online is different than face-to-face. Speakers need to look at the camera and acknowledge the remote audience during presentations. 

    To watch the entire webinar on-demand, visit www.sonicfoundry.com/HybridResearchWebinar. It’s free -- you’ll just need to register. 

    For more info on the report, check out these links:

    Also, check out Biz Bash’s great write-up about the webinar and report here

    You can also download the research report at http://mpiweb.org/hybrid. It’s free to MPI members and available for purchase for non-members. 

  • by Nicole Wise
    on September 14, 2012
    How to Plan a Hybrid Event

    “Content is what gets people through the door, engagement is what keeps them there and makes them come back for more.” 

    Those are wise words from Emilie Barta, hybrid event consultant and virtual event host, who was surveyed in a new hybrid research project, released this week by Meeting Professionals International Foundation and sponsored by Mediasite Events by Sonic Foundry. 

    She’s one of many people quoted in the research discussing the practices, strategies and emerging trends of hybrid events – an event with at least one group of face-to-face participants connecting with others in one or more additional locations. 

    This is the first and most comprehensive hybrid event research ever created, and on Tuesday, you’ll have the chance to chat live with one of the researchers, Samuel J. Smith. 

    (Check out our blog post, New Research Shows Hybrid Events Won’t Cannibalize Your On-Site Attendance, for more info on the research.) 

    Sam is an event technology consultant who helps event owners identify interactive meeting technologies that are the best fit for their events. He has been in the business for over 13 years and started doing international events in 2006. He’s a regular contributor to EventCoup and Engage 365. 

    He’ll visit Sonic Foundry offices in Madison, Wis. next week to share the results of the survey, best practices, lessons-learned and much more.  

    You’ll learn:

    • Where we are as a meeting planning community on the hybrid learning curve
    • Insights on the challenges and opportunities with hybrid events
    • Where the gaps in expectations for the organizer and attendees exist
    • How to move past the feat of technology and cannibalization of face-to-face attendance

    The webinar is free at 11 a.m. CT. To register, visit www.sonicfoundry.com/HybridResearchWebinar. If you can’t make it to the live webinar, it will also be available on-demand. 

    Sam also presented during MPI’s World Education Congress last month. You can watch his presentation, “Meeting Pros are from Mars, Attendees are from Venus; Techniques for Creating a Remarkable Hybrid Event,” for free on-demand at www.mpiweb.org/events/wec2012/hybridevent

    For more information, visit these links:

  • by Nicole Wise
    on September 11, 2012
    New Research Shows Hybrid Events Won’t Cannibalize Your On-Site Attendance

    This just in: 

    93% of planners who organized a hybrid event say it met or exceeded their objectives, and 70% of planners say hybrid meetings will be an important part of the events industry in the future. 

    This is the crux of new research by MPI Foundation and sponsored by Sonic Foundry Mediasite Events. The groundbreaking study on hybrid events – a meeting or event with at least one group of face-to-face participants connecting with other participants in one or more additional locations -- was released this week and is the most comprehensive picture ever created. 

    It’s a roadmap showing the practices, strategies and emerging trends that will impact the skill set of meeting professionals in the future. The full research report gives you a comprehensive look at the way hybrid events are currently used, how they are perceived within the meetings industry and insights and guidance from experienced hybrid event planners. It also covers lessons learned from professionals and a how to guide for understanding hybrid event formats, selecting technology vendors, building an effective hybrid event team, designing content and developing an engaging user experience. 

    The research team conducted nearly 40 interviews with meeting planners, technology vendors and consultants, and the quantitative survey was completed by 1,800 participants, including meeting planners, attendees, technology vendors and consultants. 

    A few key points:

    • Meeting professionals are using hybrid meetings to share content, ideas and experiences with attendees across multiple geographies and time zones. On-demand content was important because attendees may not be able to participate at the exact moment that the meeting is happening.
    • The fear of technology failure and the potential for cannibalization of the face-to-face meeting are two concerns often cited by those opposed to hybrid meetings. The concerns around cannibalization appear to be largely unsubstantiated. On the contrary, the data suggested that face-to-face attendance increased or remained flat. 
    • Hybrid meetings are still an emerging meeting format. Data showed that most meeting planners did not have experience using hybrid events but 70 percent of respondents felt that hybrid meetings would be an important part of the future of meetings.  
    • Attendees seem to be looking for formats more reminiscent of television shows than the lecture-style experiences usually produced for remote attendees. 

    For more information on our partnership with MPI, read our press releases Sonic Foundry, MPI Foundation Unveil New Tools to Help Planners Understand the Value of Hybrid and Sonic Foundry and Meeting Professionals International Foundation Partner on First Comprehensive Research on Hybrid Events

    You can also visit MPI’s special knowledge center at www.mpiweb.org/hybrid which features the full report and toolkit (free to MPI members and available for purchase for non-members). 

    Last month, researcher Samuel J. Smith discussed hybrid events during MPI’s World Education Congress in St. Louis, Mo. You can watch his presentation “Meeting Pros are from Mars, Attendees are from Venus; Techniques for Creating a Remarkable Hybrid Event,” which was webcast via Mediasite, on-demand at www.mpiweb.org/events/wec2012/hybridevent

    He’s also presenting a live webinar with us at 11 a.m. CT September 18. He’ll discuss the research and take your questions live. Register for free at www.sonicfoundry.com/HybridResearchWebinar. We hope to see you online!