By Miguel Neves, chief social strategist

Miguel Neves is a passionate social media advocate and experienced events professional who consults, trains and speaks on digital marketing and event technology. Ahead of his discussion at The Meetings Show,‘The future is hybrid, are you ready?’ he gives the lowdown on hybrid meetings and outlines the benefits involved in hosting them. 

What is a hybrid meeting? 

Any meeting that offers a way to participate online can be considered a hybrid meeting. This can be anywhere from a meeting with active discussions on Twitter to a meeting that features the live-streaming of content and dedicated chatrooms online.

What are some of the main benefits of hosting a hybrid event?

Hybrid events can reach participants anywhere in the world and potentially reach many more people than simply those who choose to participate in person. There are also benefits in being perceived as an innovative forward-thinking event. Creating a hybrid experience usually means that content can be easily repurposed as it is developed to work for remote online audiences in mind.

What are some of the challenges involved in putting on a hybrid event?

It’s not as simple as putting a camera in a room and live-streaming the sessions. The content must be appropriate for online participation, so it often needs to be adapted. Care must also be taken to create a wholesome event experience for online participants, which may involve having one or more video or chat hosts, and generally taking care of the online audience. Lastly, the in-person audience must not be neglected, they are the VIPs who travelled to participate in the event, so giving them a second-rate experience is to be avoided at all costs.

How can you guarantee the same level of engagement at a hybrid event that you would get at a face-to-face one?

You can’t. It’s a different experience, but it can be incredibly rewarding and valuable. Expectations must be set at the start and followed through. Content can be delivered to a high standard, but the setting of participation is beyond our control. Some participants may be listening in between writing emails, while others may be sharing their experience remotely with other colleagues in a pod setup. There are multiple possibilities, but it’s important to understand that it is a different experience from an analogueevent.

What have been some of the most effective examples of hybrid events you’ve seen so far?

PCMA has done a great job in live-streaming some of their best keynote speakers and creating a whole discussion online with the virtual audience of 1,000 or so participants. Many of the large tech conferences like Google I/O and Facebook’s F8 arguably have a greater response online than in the meeting itself.

What do you hope attendees of your session at The Meetings Show will take away from it?

I hope participants will leave with a clear grasp of what a hybrid meeting is using some examples of successful hybrid meetings, a basic understanding of how to create a hybrid meeting and a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid meetings. After the session, I hope participants will be able to make an educated decision on if and how they can use hybrid meetings themselves.

The future is hybrid, are you ready? will take place at 12.30pm on Wednesday 26th June in the Meetings Design Lab at The Meetings Show, Olympia London. 

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.