Planning Hybrid Meetings in a Virtual Event World

Planning Hybrid Meetings - Thom Singer, CSP

Association and Corporate Events Should Be Hybrid

Reinvent your event to drive profits, education, and participant value.

Eliz Greene and Thom Singer are no strangers to virtual and hybrid events. They advise all meeting professionals, “Don’t cancel your event!” For more than six years they’ve presented at and emceed countless in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.  In fact, since COVID19 hit they’ve conducted hundreds of interviews for dozens of associations and companies.

Also, they host an online talk show on Monday and Wednesday mornings and have worked with organizations including the National Speakers Association, APWA, SITE Texas, and many others to take their in-person events into successful virtual and hybrid settings. (By successful, they mean fun, insightful, educational, engaging, AND profitable)

Resources for Planning Hybrid Meetings and Virtual Events

Below are links to interviews, articles, videos, and other resources for those who are looking at planning hybrid meetings and virtual conferences.

Planning Virtual Meetings? Would a “Virtual Piano Bar” Add Fun For Your Attendees? (the answer is YES)

This is one of the best ideas I have seen in the last few months… and it is “unique”.  A speaker friend, Greg Offner, is also a musician and he has a special program for those planning virtual meetings that want engaging entertainment.  And he will add real content on disruption and creativity (sounds like two topics that matter to all industries right now).

Add a “Virtual Piano Bar” to your conference.  Yes, Greg has come up with a program where he takes requests, adds some joy, and gets people to engage. Music is the international language, and the way he does this might even get people to sing along.

Four Reasons to NOT Cancel Your Event (MPI Blog)

Planning Hybrid Meetings - 4 Reasons NOT To Cancel Your Event by Eliz Greene and Thom Singer (from MPI BLOG)The early days of March 2020 sent ripples throughout the meeting industry. Large-scale gatherings such as SXSW in Austin, Texas, were cancelled, and soon meetings of all sizes were being postponed or moved to 2021.

Looking back, we are all aware of what the global pandemic has meant to those who work in and around the meeting industry, but in March, few could have predicted the massive changes that will forever impact the world of meetings.  (READ FULL ARTICLE)

Webinar Talk Show Interview with the Team at Digitell, Inc.

Virtual events can be profitable. Most organizations look to their in-person meetings as a profit center. Here is the good news: organizations are seeing an increase in attendance and revenue from well-executed virtual events. Eliz and Thom interviewed Jim Parker and Brian Zambotti from Digitell, Inc.

Digitell knows about planning hybrid meetings more than just about any company (they have been doing it a long time).

OminPress Blog- “Five Important Observations for a Virtual Event Attendee

Over the past few months, many of us have attended—for the first time ever—a virtual version of in-person conferences we’ve participated in for years. Not only did we use this time for our own professional development, but we also paid close attention to the challenges and opportunities that the virtual event format presents for meeting planners, attendees, and sponsors.  (READ MORE For VIRTUAL ATTENDEES).

10 Best Webinar Software Platforms (via Venture Harbour)

Webinar marketing is a vital strategy for B2B businesses and a lot of consumer brands are also turning to it for their own B2C marketing efforts.

Especially right now – with COVID-19 forcing so many businesses to move in-person events and sales meetings into a virtual environment.

Webinars give you the chance to build a more personal relationship with your audience, delve deeper into the topics that concern them and build your brand as a place people can come to for important info.  (READ THE WHOLE POST)

What Will Virtual Events Look Like In A Year, And How Can Companies Prepare? (From Forbes, Sept 23, 2020)

By now, we’ve all likely participated in a virtual event, and it’s probably quite apparent to many of us that this format is here to stay for the long term. How the Covid-19 pandemic continues to play out in the weeks and months ahead remains to be seen. However, companies cannot stand idly by and wait for clarity before planning their events for 2021 and beyond. (see full article)  – If planning hybrid meetings or virtual meetings, this is a key article.

Don’t Cancel Your Event and Stay Relevant.

Conditions and challenges are changing at a remarkable speed. By providing essential educational content, updates on industry trends, and strategies for weathering these uncertain times, organizations demonstrate the continuity of relevant service.

Thom and Eliz interviewed Mary Lue Peck, CEO, and President of the National Speakers Association (NSA). NSA was one of the first national associations to reinvent their event in the virtual environment. This year they went virtual, but in the future NSA sees planning hybrid meetings as a standard practice for all associations.

A Hybrid Event Playbook for 2021 – Via PCMA Website

This is a great article by Don Neal.  (READ MORE about Planning Hybrid Meetings).  If you are planning hybrid meetings, you must have a playbook.

Warren Buffet once said, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Well, the tide has gone out and the fragility of the traditional association model — which relies heavily on an annual face-to-face event for revenue and member engagement — has been brought into stark relief by the pandemic. We need to adopt a new strategy to set our events on a new path of success.

Splash and Zoom Power The Next Gen of Virtual Events (Press Release)

NEW YORKSept. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Splash, the only technology platform built for modern event marketing, has rolled out new features with Zoom that solve branding and data integration challenges with virtual events and programs today.

Since March 2020, millions of businesses have been forced to move events from in-person to online, exposing them to unchartered territory, and many technical challenges. With the overnight shift to virtual, companies need to quickly produce many types of online events at scale. But they are limited by status-quo live streaming and webinar technology that don’t provide immersive, branded guest experiences or connect and automate important event data. (READ MORE)

Will We Meet Again? Interview with Cindy Lo

June 2020 – Thom Singer and Eliz Geene interview Cindy Lo from Red Velvet Events about creating unique experiences and how safety is the key to the future of in-person events.  Planning Hybrid Meetings, and virtual events, is about creating experiences that will engage people.  Check out his interview about why meetings mean business.

About Thom Singer

Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies / EmCee for in-person and virtual events.  He began hosting hybrid and virtual events in 2014 and believes that they key planning hybrid meetings is in working with a host who will serve as the eyes and ears of the remote audience.  Thom and Eliz Greene founded the “Conference Talk Show” in 2015.  In 2020 in the height of the COVID crisis they realized what was missing from most virtual conferences was high quality interviews.  They began “The Webinar Talk Show” as a way to showcase how interviews are more engaging than talking heads over PowerPoint in a virtual world.