Hybrid Presentations & Workshops

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Fawzi Benmessaoud, PhD Professor of AI and Informatics

Alleo makes the learning experience collaborative and personalized. As a result, it’s more engaging, fun, and productive for the students.

John McDonald Managing Entrepreneur, NEXT Studios

This changes everything.

Tony Scelzo CEO, Ceemless

Alleo has been a single source of truth for our team to plan and build on. We are more efficient, and barriers to working remotely seem to have vanished.

    No one can deny that the world of work is changing. Gone are the days of total in-person collaboration. Now, many employers must learn to strike a balance between traditional workflows and more flexible models. While many organizations are embracing a totally remote model, a significant number are turning to flexible work or hybrid solutions. In fact, a recent study stated that 74% of U.S. companies are using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model. 

    So, what does this mean for meetings? In a world filled with in-person and remote workers, company events need to appease both groups. The solution? Hybrid meetings. At face value, hybrid meetings are a fairly simple concept. Instead of presenting to a group of all in-person or all virtual attendees, a hybrid meeting combines both audiences. 

    Although hybrid meetings come with extensive benefits, it’s easy to get things wrong. Sure, you may already be a great presenter, but the relative newness of hybrid events makes them an uncharted territory for many. This means that in-person and virtual presentation tips or tactics alone can’t be applied to a hybrid situation. The unique format of these events most often requires companies to think outside the box. 

    At Alleo, we’re all about innovation and communication. As experts in our field, one of our goals is to help leaders discover how to be a great presenter in any setting. With a special focus on hybrid events, we’ve created this guide to give you the insight you need to successfully adopt a hybrid meeting model. In this resource we’ll discuss: 

    • What a hybrid presentation is, and how it differs from fully virtual events. 
    • The different types of hybrid presentations.
    • How to conduct a successful hybrid event. 
    • What to avoid when running a hybrid presentation. 
    • The plans and technology needed to make your hybrid event go off without a hitch.

    What Is a Hybrid Presentation?

    When done right, a hybrid presentation enables companies to reach virtual and in-person audiences simultaneously. Ideally, this meeting model is designed to create presentations that accommodate everyone’s needs and help improve communication strategies for flexible workforces. In addition to increased accommodation, hybrid events are extremely unique because they require innovation, especially the utilization of new meeting technologies like Alleo, to deliver a rewarding and consistent experience to all in attendance. 

    At their core, successful hybrid meetings are designed to create an equitable experience for all involved. Far too often, live audiences are prioritized over virtual attendees. But by using a hybrid meeting model and improved presentation technologies, the benefits of virtual and traditional in-person events can be enjoyed. 

    But what are the benefits of hybrid presentations? Here are a few examples: 

    • Improved attendance and better engagement
    • Cost savings for travel, event space, catering, and more 
    • Broader reach and broader audience 
    • Improved cross-departmental collaboration
    • Less environmental impact 

    Ultimately, taking a hybrid approach to meetings and other events gives all attendees the same experience. This allows both audiences to engage with presenters and one another to facilitate a more productive meeting.  

    What Is the Difference Between Hybrid and Virtual Events?

    When discussing virtual vs hybrid events, the differences all come down to formatting—virtual meetings only have a digital audience, while hybrid meetings have a live and remote audience. Sure, there are instances when a fully virtual meeting is acceptable. For example, a quick check in with a small team, or weekly one-on-one meetings are both events where staying virtual would suffice. But for more high-level and in-depth discussions that affect multiple stakeholders, hybrid meetings are the most effective option in a flexible work environment. 

    This is especially true for events that require attendees to engage with one another. On this topic, one study assessed the issue of connection and engagement in virtual meetings and found that 25% of respondents believed personal connection to be the single greatest challenge of online-only events. 

    The primary goal of a hybrid event is to reach and engage as many people as possible. Although fully virtual models have the potential to reach large numbers of people, their capabilities for engaging an audience are startlingly lackluster. A well run hybrid event should utilize advanced meeting technology to foster seamless engagement between the in-person audience, virtual audience, and the hosts—creating a more worthwhile experience for everyone involved. 

    Types of Hybrid Events

    Every hybrid presentation example is bound to look a little different, depending on the scope and objectives of each meeting. However, there are standard types of hybrid presentations that can be used to inform your event’s structure: 

    • Hybrid Training Events: The flexible nature of hybrid meetings makes them an excellent option for onboarding and other training presentations. Because of their ability to foster better communication, hybrid meetings encourage employees to become more engaged with each lesson. For example, using hybrid breakout sessions and activity hubs, groups of in-person and remote attendees can work together to complete a learning exercise together and discuss everything they learned. 
    • Hybrid Conferences and Other Networking Events: Using a hybrid format for a conference will help increase attendance and encourage virtual and live attendees to interact. For example, in a hybrid conference setting, event organizers can utilize instant message platforms and live video chat to connect in-person and remote attendees. Also, creating meet and greets for remote and in-person attendees to connect is an awesome way to help expand everyone’s network. In the end, using a hybrid model for conferences offers a more personal experience when compared to a completely virtual meeting, while providing more flexibility than an in-person event.
    • Hybrid Product Launches: A hybrid event allows all in attendance to benefit from an immersive experience as they interact with new features and updates. Hybrid product launches get rid of the location barrier and make it so people can attend trial sessions from all over the world! This is especially important for product launches because the more feedback received on a new launch, the better the user experience.  
    • Hybrid Company-wide Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs):  With the increase in remote work, many teams are spreading out all over the world. Because of this, the opportunities for these groups to interact are limited, making it important to gather as many people together as possible as quarterly reviews are conducted. By making these company-wide meetings hybrid, teams from different locations can more easily interact with each other. This makes a QBR event more inclusive, productive, and enjoyable. 
    • Hybrid Workshops: Hybrid presentations also work great for consultants who want to organize an interactive workshop for their customers! For many companies, their customers are located all over the world. Making a training workshop hybrid allows for more customers to attend, while giving local customers the chance to engage with you in person. 

    How Do You Run an Effective Hybrid Meeting?

    Although hybrid meetings and hybrid workshop best practices are constantly evolving, there are a few general things to keep in mind. Below, we’ve listed out the key considerations and components of highly effective presentations in hybrid meetings. 

    Determine if a Meeting Is Absolutely Necessary

    When do we actually need to meet in-person? And when do we need to meet at all? These two questions have been at the forefront of many leader’s minds as they adopt flexible work models. Many would argue that everyone is in too many meetings at the moment. According to one recent study, the average American desk worker is in 25.6 meetings a week. The combination of employees trying to balance this heavy meeting load while managing their own work has led to serious burnout. So, what can be done? Ultimately, it comes down to improving the quality and reducing the quantity of your meetings. Before you spend a ton of time outlining your hybrid meeting plans, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

    • Don’t invite everyone; be selective about who needs to attend. 
    • Check in with your attendees and review their schedule’s beforehand to ensure that optimal meeting dates and times are chosen.
    • Don’t let the meeting run over time, and allow people to leave when they need to. 
    • Conduct surveys and gather information from potential attendees before outlining the meeting’s agenda. Be sure to incorporate past feedback into current meeting structures. 

    In the end, the best way to get the most out of your time together is to avoid unnecessary meetings in the first place.

    Never Rush the Planning Stage

    Hybrid events are significantly more complex than in-person or virtual affairs, and require a lot of time to properly organize and plan. Considering the space, technology, and preferences of individual stakeholders takes a lot of leg work and preparation. When presenting your attendees with options like, choices of multiple sessions, travel preferences, and other considerations, it’s vital that you create a robust registration form to record this information and implement it into your plan.  It’s also critical to create a logistic and financial contingency plan to anticipate fluctuations in attendance. 

    Make Everything Clear From the Beginning

    When running a hybrid event, or any event for that matter, organization and transparency are your allies. Since hybrid meetings have a lot of moving parts, especially on the technical side, it takes a tremendous amount of planning and prep to ensure everything runs smoothly. Here are a few tips: Should we mention that doing it in Alleo makes the planning phase easier?

    • Identify and communicate the meeting’s purpose before it starts.
    • Outline an achievable agenda and send it to attendees ahead of time.
    • Send additional resources and a copy of the presentation before the event. This lets participants “study” the meeting topics and come prepared with feedback and questions. 
    • Allow time for questions before the event starts. 

    Need some help getting organized? Alleo’s strategy and planning features help you keep everything moving by enabling distributed teams to collaborate, whiteboard, and present using a customizable canvas to visualize your unique strategic planning process.

    Make Your Presentation Interesting for Everyone

    Before jumping into hybrid meetings, all event managers should brush up their presentation strengths. For example, all visuals used in the presentation need to be engaging and accessible for remote and in-person participants. In addition to stunning and straightforward imagery, meeting hosts should also concentrate on the interactive aspects of their events. This could involve using activities such as: 

    • Live or on-demand content
    • Ice breaker activities
    • Competitive quizzes 
    • Collaborative games
    • Virtual polls
    • Virtual Q&As
    • Activity feeds

    Using these tactics, and other methods, will keep both audiences engaged and present throughout the hybrid event. 

    Bad Presentation Characteristics: Stuff To Avoid in Your Hybrid Meeting

    Now that we’ve discussed the best practices for hybrid meetings, let’s take a look at some common mistakes that you should be wary of. 

    Failing To Consider the Needs of Your Virtual Participants 

    How do you engage people in virtual presentations? This is one of the most difficult aspects of conducting a hybrid meeting. It’s very easy to unintentionally exclude virtual participants in a hybrid setting. Even simple things like understanding where to look when giving a presentation and knowing how to speak during presentation change in a hybrid setting. Failing to look at your virtual attendees or having poor audio quality can both exclude the remote half of your audience and cause them to tune out. One way to create an opportunity for all attendees to participate is to establish rules for who gets to ask questions first when it comes to virtual and in-person audiences. You should also have video and audio capabilities that allow virtual attendees to interact with their live counterparts. 

    Turning a Meeting Into a Lecture 

    Sure, simply regurgitating information to your remote and in-person attendees is an efficient option, but it’s also the least engaging. Although it may be tempting to present your slides and call it a day, creating an interactive experience will be a more memorable and entertaining meeting for everyone involved—it’ll also help keep people engaged, allowing for increased information retention. Therefore, taking the time to seek out interactive meeting technologies and to create some activities is well worth the effort.

    Too Many Moving Parts

    Although including activities and other interactive methods in your presentation is important, you shouldn’t go overboard. There is a fine line between engaging and distracting activities. To truly dial in and choose the right activities you should: 

    • Reach out to your team and discover which types of collaboration opportunities work best for them. 
    • Trim the fat of your presentation and don’t get lost in the details. 
    • Avoid making your presentation drag on, and allow ample time for feedback, discussion, and questions. 
    • Limit the number of tools you are using, and seek out all in one hybrid meeting tech solutions, like Alleo, whenever possible. 

    Forgetting To Create Opportunities for All Attendees To Participate

    Since virtual attendees are not in the same room, they can often be overlooked during hybrid events. Although it may be tempting to push all remote participants to work together, it’s not the most inclusive solution. With the right tools, presenters can easily integrate virtual participants with in-person attendees so everyone can mingle and discuss. For example, our Idea Input template functions so both virtual and live participants can collaborate and share ideas in the same breakout room.

    Boring or Ineffective Visuals

    Sadly, a typical powerpoint presentation often doesn’t cut it in hybrid presentations. For a hybrid event, your visuals and activities need to be engaging for both in-person and remote viewers. This means you should avoid text-heavy slides and illustrate your points with high-quality visuals like infographics, charts, and polls. It’s critical for the virtual audience to have a similar visual experience as your in-person attendees. To help with this, Alleo’s templates for hybrid workshops and presentations allow you to create a well-choreographed experience to wow all attendees.

    The same goes for your activities as well. For example, our Empathy Map template is made up of high-quality visual components that allow virtual and in-person attendees to map out  the thoughts, feelings, pains, and gains of customers. This simple and effective visual map makes it easy for the host to add in ideas as attendees speak their minds. All the presenter has to do is click on the center customer icon in the circle icon of the template and select the section to place the note in.

    What Do You Need for a Hybrid Conference?

    To host a successful hybrid event, you need to achieve the following goals:

    • Choose the right technology to foster greater collaboration, engagement, and participation throughout your hybrid event.
    • Create a viewer-first experience that caters to the needs of all in attendance.
    • Level the playing field, and ensure that your live audience is not favored over your online audience.

    In the next two sections of this article we’ll explain which features and technology should be utilized to meet all of the above listed objectives.

    The Hybrid Event Features You Need to Succeed

    Here is a brief list of non-technical features that can help make the most of your hybrid meeting: 

    • Offer A Custom Experience: In a successful hybrid meeting your attendees should have the power to choose their own experience. For in-person audiences, you could offer a variety of opportunities for those individuals to experience different sessions, with changing presenters. Remember to offer your virtual attendees a version of these experiences as well. 
    • Incorporate Frequent Breaks: Downtime is a powerful tool for any lengthy meeting. In addition to bathroom and snack breaks, you should factor in time for small talk and other social activities. If you need more structure to get people talking, ice breakers and other methods can be used to foster valuable bonding experiences for both live and remote audiences. 
    • The Entertainment Factor: Many may consider meetings to be boring affairs, but they don’t have to be. In fact, they shouldn’t be. Be prepared to get creative and incorporate some theatrics throughout your presentation. This could be as simple as throwing out a joke during the presentation, or you could partner with a videographer and enlist their help in creating a more gripping experience for your audience as they interact with your presentation. No matter what route you choose for the entertainment value of your hybrid event, you need to consider what your audience is interested in and what they really value. 
    • Use an Inclusive Space: Before committing to any venue, put the space through an in depth vetting process to ensure that the space is hybrid ready. You could seek out specific hybrid meeting rooms or a general space that is equipped with audio and visual technology needed to broadcast and interact with a virtual audience. It’s worth mentioning that as the popularity of hybrid meetings increases, you should consider booking these spaces well in advance to secure your spot. 

    Choosing the Right Technology for Hybrid Events

    As we’ve mentioned throughout this article, technology is a catalyst for a successful hybrid presentation. But choosing the wrong technology can have disastrous consequences. Here are just a few features you should seek out when selecting tech to power your meeting:

    • Customizable Solutions: Your meeting is unique, therefore your technology should be able to adjust to your needs. Alleo’s presentation platform allows you to work, present, collaborate, and visualize any way you want.
    • Greater Accessibility: The technology you use to host your presentation should allow your attendees to connect from any current device without having to download an application.
    • Adaptability: All of the technology you use to create the interactive portions of your presentation should come with real-time adaptable interfaces that can update as you interact with your audience. 
    • Engagement Capabilities: Any presentation platform you choose needs to engage your attendees with a well-choreographed interactive experience.
    • Foolproof Security: All interactive meeting platforms need to secure sensitive meeting information and protect the data of your attendees and company. 

    Alleo, Taking You One Step Closer to Creating a Perfect Presentation

    Well, that’s it! Ready to create your perfect hybrid presentation? Let us give you a hand. The Alleo platform was specifically designed to level-up your presentation skills, no matter the scenario. 

    Alleo provides a customizable and secure experience to foster more productive meetings and presentations, greater inclusivity, faster decision making, and maximized productivity. Alleo is the only browser-based platform that brings  the three core pillars of any hybrid engagement into a single experience; voice & video, multimodal content, and customizable activities. 

    As the world of work continues to change, companies deserve to be empowered by innovative solutions that can help them keep up with the times. Connect with us today and discover what Alleo can do for you.