Going virtual: hybrid events

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Hybrid is here to stay, says Richard John.

If you have wondered why I forgot your birthday, it’s because I have been outrageously busy, criss-crossing the globe, spreading my charm, wit and charisma, and filling the breach of the curmudgeonly snide, yet strangely attractive, void left by the demise of House, MD.

And while there have been a variety of projects, the one constant theme seems to be the world of virtual and hybrid events. Yes, the future is that some of your audiences are going to engage with you from a different location; and no, that’s not just a webinar or the family videocamera stuck forlornly in a corner and the results cobbled together by a smart six-year-old.

Let me fill you in. I’ve been working with a team of bright young things on behalf of Meeting Professionals International (MPI), to research the market for such events, and produce useful research reports, case studies, How To guides and even a glossary of terms. If you’re an MPI member (smart move) you’ll have received a copy for free and if not, put your hand in your pocket, it’s worth paying for.

And, after a rushed but pleasant weekend in Minnesota, our musings on hybrid events are ready to go (or, by the time this is published, will be taking the meetings world by storm). Lots of insights, revelations, in depth interviews and maybe just a few warnings.

But, just to tease you with one little morsel; our research shows that the fear some planners have that ‘going virtual’ will cannibalise the face-to-face element of the event is, frankly, rubbish. There is no correlation so you have my permission to head-butt the next client or colleague who makes such a comment. Your face-to-face market will attend your event, come what may. Those who choose to watch remotely, live, on their own, with a group, or at some point in the future because you’ve captured everything, make their decision based on a myriad of drivers over which you have no control.

And here’s a fine example; I’ve just recorded 10 lots of 30-minute sessions for The Media House
to deliver to you as webinars. I’m talking about negotiation, logistics and risk management, all good stuff. And I recorded it from my office, with my feet on the table, and a mug of tea in my hand. And there’s a good chance I was naked during some of those recordings.

Sadly, you don’t get to see me in the flesh, but you can hear my voice and see my slides from the comfort of your office, or home (get naked with me, if you desire). You can have me - as they say, anywhere. Works for me!

Any comments? Email conferencenews@mashmedia.net

17 Sept 12

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