Meetings Canada


In Praise of Hybrid Meetings

By Sandy Biback, CMM, CMP

Sandy Biback

When you think about the next meeting you have to plan, how can you engage more people?

It isn’t about everyone being face-to-face. There are so many challenges for that in today’s business world: timetables; work/life balance; budgets; acts of God; and so much more. Having said that, though, I challenge you to consider a hybrid meeting. Try a small one first.

Let’s say your board of directors wants to discuss a policy change. The board members are spread out all over Canada, but five are in Montreal.

Why can’t you meet in a boardroom in Montreal and arrange for the rest to meet online at the same time via their computers? You can accomplish the objective in real time and travel costs are nil. Your technical costs must be paid for, and I guarantee they will be less than travel time and money for the rest of the board.

Let’s go bigger: The annual association meeting has a dynamite keynote speaker. Everyone knows your entire association membership can’t make the meeting. What if…they could attend the keynote address by computer and even take part in the Q&A? For free!

That meets a member’s objective of at least attending the keynote address. You ask, how does that meet the association’s objective?

Associations need their annual conference to make money, which is then allocated into programs for members. You have a happier member for sure, and a member who sees the benefit of face-to-face, when they see the size of the audience. And that member, perhaps, will make it a priority to be at next year’s conference.

Here’s the trick: Don’t scrimp on the technology. Do your homework. Discuss with your technology company and your AV company and get all the information you need, to determine if this will be a benefit to your organization.

Will it help you meet your objectives and the objectives of those attending? If not, this isn’t the right tool for that meeting.

Technology is a tool for meeting and event planners, just like all the other tools we use to determine meeting space, food and beverage needs, etc. Consider technology a tool, not a foe.



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2 Comments » for In Praise of Hybrid Meetings
  1. Les Selby says:

    As usual Sandy, your comments are right on the money. Planners have adopted so many technological advances to save money and labour (I am experienced enough to remember getting 2000 faxed registration forms for a conference and sitting for days assembling the data). Hybrid meetings are just another tool that allows us to increase the reach of our events and make them more effective.

  2. I have visions of Les sitting on the floor in the middle of his office trying to put all those faxes (likely on thermo paper) in some sort of order & then a strong wind comes along! I certainly can relate to this. Les, thanks for the comments.

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