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Expert Advice: Hybrid Nation, Three experts weigh in on how to bring virtually everyone together

By Selena Fragassi


Winter is upon us, which means weather delays, flight cancellations and the much-dreaded onset of the flu, all of which could put a damper on attendance for your next meeting. To safeguard yourself consider organizing a hybrid meeting with satellite technology that allows both in-person guests and virtual participants to come together in the same room without interruption. Here three experts provide their best tips for how to make it a success every time.

“Make your meeting interactive for remote participants. Don’t just allow them to view what’s happening, but also enable them to engage with those on-site via interactive online Q&A, social media activity and other creative ways. Also, be wary of venues that do not have experience conducting hybrid meetings, or those that suggest using Skype or FaceTime or some other ‘consumer’ quality solution. You do not want to have your meeting freeze up or drop off. Work with a venue or company that uses professional-grade solutions to ensure a high-quality production interface.”
-Brian Taylor, Director, Business Development
The National Press Club (Washington, D.C.) // // (202) 662.7541

“When hosting a live hybrid event, it’s important to know what components are involved in communicating between point A and B. Last spring we hosted a live surgery presentation in Minneapolis, MN where attendees interacted with surgeons located in Frankfurt, Germany. There were many vendors and points of contact behind the scenes at both sites including a satellite feed, Internet, audio and video, sponsorship contacts, doctors and medical technicians. Being familiar with these components allows you to troubleshoot and test the presentation with efficiency. It’s also important to have a large flexible space to accommodate all of the equipment that is needed, yet private enough for the attendees to be able to interact with the remote site.”
-Nick Peter, Event Manager
McNamara Alumni Center (Minneapolis, MN) // //
(612) 625-8876

“Bandwidth is always a primary consideration when setting up a hybrid meeting. Discuss this upfront with the facility during the selection process so you can determine if additional bandwidth will be needed to achieve your goals and so you can budget accordingly for the costs in hosting the hybrid event. You’ll also want to know about the networks you’ll be using when connecting with remote speakers and if the platform (Adobe Connect, Blue Jeans, Skype, etc.) is compatible with all devices. You might consider using dedicated lines for speaker presentations to ensure that participant devices using the facility wireless do not compete with your signal strength for your remote presentation.”
-Julie Kieffer, Manager, Conference Planning & Management
Iowa State University (Ames, IA) // // (515) 956.3200