Hosting a Hybrid Event

By Nick Robinson, Executive Director of Campus Support Services

During the early stages of the pandemic, hosting events, seminars, and lectures on virtual platforms was one of the few viable options for presenters. While virtual platforms present many challenges regarding quality and experience, a virtual format allows presenters to reach broader audiences. Now, as we return to in-person gatherings, many presenters are interested in retaining a broader outreach and are hosting hybrid events, where some of the participants—including panelists and guests—are gathered live and others are experiencing the event through various video platforms.

While technology is available to enable interactive events, successfully planning and implementing a dual delivery event is a complex process that requires advance planning, technical resources, and support staffing beyond what is typically needed for events that are solely virtual or in-person.

Four Key Considerations

Recommendations for a successful event

  • Establish expectations upfront with event executive sponsors regarding what is feasible given operating constraints
  • Develop an event plan addressing the experience for all audiences
  • Select a room equipped for hybrid and use it consistently
  • Create a run of show detailing all aspects of the event, paying close attention to beginnings, transitions, and endings
  • Train department staff to take on specific roles of support. Supplement with professional staff from the SCAD community, AV Services, or vendors.
  • Practice in the same room, a day or two prior to the event. Use all the same equipment, especially laptops, that will be used at the event and simulate, as best as possible, all the elements in the event.
  • Limit the number of events, saving hybrid for your signature events
  • Inform executive sponsors of the associated costs (in particular, when using outside vendors)
  • Host a debrief Meetings achieve a business purpose, and facilitate the sharing of information, decision-making and collaboration and/or innovation. with support teams and report findings to executive sponsors

 

Hybrid is an effective event option for expanding outreach, giving attendees options for how they attend events, and providing more opportunities to host presenters without the need for travel. Presenters and attendees expect a high level of professionalism and quality when attending any University event, whether in-person or virtual.

It is crucial that presenters devote time and resources to the planning, development, and testing of all aspects of the event production. Careful consideration should be applied to the impact on staffing and resources to host these complicated events.

By creating thorough event plans, applying best practices for content delivery, and assembling effective support teams, presenters can better ensure the implementation of successful hybrid events.

University Resources