Redstone Agency is tech-savvy and digital-obsessed. In our fast-paced world, we strive to stay on top of the trends and deliver results for our clients. Recently, Redstone Agency’s CEO, Carly Silberstein, moderated an Industry Panel for a conference in Calgary from her home in Toronto through online streaming and thus we created a hybrid event. Why did she stream in when someone could have been there in person? That was a question we received from some of our delegates in advance of the event. A major component of the conference was about embracing technology and this panel was the perfect way to showcase this theme. Carly’s commitment to keeping a pulse on industry best practices, strong professional network, and access to resources within the industry ensure that she continues to deliver meaningful results for her clients Despite increased business and restricted budgets, events can still leverage thought leaders and experts by leveraging the power, reach and affordability of technology. The Industry Panel generated a lot of positive feedback and Redstone will continue to deliver new experiences.
I asked Carly to share her thoughts on digital and hybrid events and her experience on the panel, she said, “As one of the first people to earn the Digital Event Strategist (DES) designation from PCMA, I like to think that I know a thing or two about digital and hybrid events. Having only hosted and participated in webinars and podcasts to date, I was a little bit apprehensive about moderating a panel discussion from a remote location while the audience and panelists were together, in one physical location. However, through advanced planning, an incredible audio visual partner and leveraging best in class (yet affordable!) technology, we were able to make the discussion dynamic and engaging. As the moderator, it is important to get a feel for the room – seeing the audience and the panelists to gauge their interest, reactions, etc. is key… so it is important to ensure that the audience has a good view and audio of the remote subject, but it is equally as important that the remote participant have access to the audio and visual of the goings on of the conference room. This was a great experience and I look forward to participating in future hybrid events while also guiding Redstone clients to embrace technology and leverage the power of hybrid events.”
So what is a hybrid event? Essentially, it is a meeting that combines a “live” in-person event as a physical location with a “virtual” online component. See below for some tips and tricks that we gathered while organizing our event to ensure that your next hybrid event runs smoothly.
- Source a reliable online streaming video platform
- Partner with sponsors who can add value to the event
We partnered with FMAV who delivered a great experience to our team. They were able to provide us with all of the necessary tech to execute a successful Industry Panel including reliable hardwire internet and a plug in headset to ensure that the sound did not lag and could be heard clearly throughout the room. Having an AV expert on site was also very helpful as their were able to troubleshoot and anticipate any challenges.
I asked Mark DellaValle from FMAV, to share his thoughts on the panel and he said, “In our experience, you really need to make sure that you are not only set up for success to deliver to your audience in room, but to also make sure that the person speaking remotely is set up for success as well. We always ensure that the remote presenter/panelist/moderator has a computer capable of a live broadcast, with a functioning headset mic, and in an environment that is properly lit. We have sent our own equipment to sites (we are fortunate that we are located near or in most large Canadian cities) to ensure to make certain there are no issues with the broadcast.”
- Ensure you run a sound check and brief speakers about streaming etiquette
Although it may seem obvious – don’t wait until the day of the event to ensure that everything is running smoothly! Conduct a sound check at least one day prior to the event to ensure that the speaker can be seen and heard clearly from all areas in the room. This is also a good time to let the speaker who will be broadcasting in know to be in a quiet environment to reduce background noise and to avoid having any distracting patterns and backgrounds in the camera’s view.
- Take it to the next level
There are many reasons for hybrid attendance such as a restricting budget that doesn’t allow you to attend or scheduling conflicts. Through livestreaming and video capabilities, you can reach a broader audience than with a typical “live” audience component for those who are unable to attend. You can offer a registration type for your next conference to allow them to livestream the event from their computer and have the ability to access the content at a later date.