Tips for Making Your Hybrid Event "Quick, Light, and Easy"

by John Pollard on June 9, 2011

Last year, I learned how the words quick, light, and easy could change how I approach running (thanks to Christopher McDougall and his book, Born to Run). On a run last week, I was focusing on those three words when it struck me – these same three words could change how event planners, meeting planners and conference organizers integrate online audiences with live events.

Curious as to how they apply? Read on. I’ll work through the three in reverse order.

Easy


Especially for your first hybrid event, simple is good. With that in mind, as you plan how to include the online or remote audience, you should put the most important things first. Prioritize the “big rocks.*” Here are a couple ways to keep your hybrid event easy:

  • Simplify your online experience. Start with the #1 most valuable asset: content. You can always add complexity and additional interaction later. If you are just dipping your toes into a hybrid event, you might start by capturing only keynotes or possibly focusing on one room.
  • Make it easy for that content to be found. If you are using any sort of conferencing or virtual platform, be sure the navigation to the content is clear and well thought out. Have vendors show you (well in advance) what the online experience will be.
  • Make it easy on you. Fine an experienced team that knows the right questions to ask, that understands what needs to be done, and has a track record in doing just that (Hint: Sonic Foundry’s Event Services team fits that bill.)
  • Make it easy on your presenters. The best case scenario is one in which your presenters don’t have to upload materials in advance, and they don’t have to install anything on their laptops. Sonic Foundry’s Mediasite Recorder fulfills that best case scenario.

Quick

For hybrid events, it is critical to make content available immediately following the onsite session (whether you stream it live or not). This enables both onsite and remote attendees to benefit from the content even while the event is still going on. This is another advantage Mediasite has over manual methods of capture that employ extensive post production processes. With Mediasite, it’s possible to have archive/on-demand access to your content available within minutes of the presentation finish. You can use that content to continue promoting the event online – even while it’s still happening!

Light

Work with a partner who feels like the Patagonia coat my wife gave me last Christmas – amazingly light, and amazingly effective. Sonic Foundry’s Event Services team unobtrusively slides in next to your existing A/V, takes a video feed, a content feed (usually a VGA/DVI from a laptop) and synchronizes that on the fly with our patented and compact (literally – 13 lbs!) Mediasite Recorders. With minimal impact you are able to add a valuable online component to your event. That’s a light hybrid event!

Summary

Those are just a few of the ways you can make your hybrid event quick, light, and easy. I hope you can find a few ideas that might help make your next hybrid event a success. Of course, we’d be happy to help you plan or answer any questions this post may bring to mind.

Finally, if you are curious to learn more about the ongoing discussion surrounding barefoot running (much inspired by the popularity of Born to Run), check out The Science of Sport blog where Ross Tucker, PdD and Jonathan Dugas, Phd have blogged a very balanced and thorough discussion with tons of links.

Additional Reading:

  • I would recommend Born to Run to anyone who simply enjoys running – or would like to enjoy it more.
  • *Reference to Big Rocks is from a story that has been extensively used to illustrate the importance of prioritizing things that are most important. You can read the short story as delivered in this commencement speech (PDF). I’m not sure if that’s where the story originated, however. Enjoy!
 

Comments

Thanks for the info on this. It really "Rocks Big" LOL. Seriously though, we are trying putting together a webinar, and this is great info to guide us along. My next visit is to the MediaSite to continue my research.

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