What will your meeting, facility, or service look like in 10 years, maybe sooner, when hybrid formats—meetings with a mix of live and virtual elements—rule the industry?
While hybrid design continues to evolve, forces outside the industry are making hybridization the new survival skill for meetings and events.
Seven months after EventCamp Twin Cities 2010 broke new ground on affordable hybrid meetings, co-chairman Samuel J. Smith is thinking hard about the ingredients of a successful hybrid. (Our firm’s case study of ECTC with co-chairmen Smith and Ray Hansen will be released soon.)
“It’s an evolutionary process,” Smith says. “We’re not going to wake up tomorrow and see hybrids everywhere. But we have to try out these things and continue learning from each other, because there aren’t enough best practices yet.”
While face-to-face meetings have been refined and tested over time, hybrids “are still in the gun-slinging era where there’s still a lot to learn,” he says. As a result, “most of them are really bad today. We have to figure out what’s good and how to make it even better.”
Smith offered these tips for making hybrids work:
Many large meetings will soon give way to a hub-and-spoke model that favors smaller, more flexible meeting facilities with great technology and services. “Somewhere down the road, we’re actually going to move away from these super-mega events,” Smith said. “Instead of bringing 9,000 people together, you can do nine 1,000-person events, with maybe 300 of those people on-site and 700 online.”
Mitchell Beer, CMM, is president of The Conference Publishers Inc., Ottawa, one of the world’s leading specialists in capturing and repurposing conference content. Beer blogs at http://theconferencepublishers.com/blog and tweets as @mitchellbeer.