How to Plan for a Hybrid Meeting Even When You Were Not Planning for One
Feb 22, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

airplane

Your event has been in the works for months and even though February and March can be iffy travel months due to weather, you have planned plenty of time for your attendees and presenters to arrive, right? Maybe so and maybe not.

According to FlightStats.com, an estimated 36,680 global flights were canceled and over 560,000 were delayed in just the last 30 days — mostly due to weather. So what can you do if a significant number of your speakers and attendees get stuck either at home or at the airport? Just like the saying goes, "Make lemonade out of lemons". Turn your face-to-face meeting into a hybrid meeting. 

Here is a checklist of what to do if your speaker is stranded, your attendees are delayed or worst case scenario — both your speaker and attendees are not going to make it. 

HYBRID SCENARIO #1: Your Presenter or Presenters Are Not Coming

First, always get your speaker's presentations days in advance and pre-load them onto your presentation services audio visual equipment. The audio visual technician can test and make certain everything is set up and ready to go. 

Second, select a platform for backup. Will you use Skype, Google Hangout or some other platform to allow the presenter to video conference into the meeting? Having Plasma TV rentals available for the audience to view will help them connect to the speaker while they are talking. 

Third, ask your speakers to come in a full-day early. Making this a requirement of your conference can potentially alleviate this issue and allow them to network naturally with attendees. 

Fourth, have an onsite facilitator that can be a conduit between the speaker and the audience. One thing is for sure, the presenter sitting in an airport lounge will not be able to read the body language and gage the interest level of attendees — but a live facilitator will. That person can guide the virtual speaker and help them remain connected to the audience. 

HYBRID SCENARIO #2: Some of Your Attendees Are Not Going to Make it. 

First, know where your attendees are coming from and check the weather pattern one to three days in advance. It is not a matter of if bad weather is coming, it is just a matter of when it will hit. Knowing how many of your attendees are going to be effected by a snowstorm, hurricane or fog can help you determine what you need to do. 

Second, select a platform and check your bandwidth. If 200 attendees are going to be virtually connected to the meeting, you will need to have a more sophisticated bridge available to prevent buffering or lag time. Utilizing a wireless network array rental can boost your bandwidth and provide local and remote attendees with a fast, secure and robust connection. 

Third, ask virtual attendees to go to a quiet place. If they are at the airport, go into the lounge. At a hotel, stay in their room. And if they are at home, ask them to be somewhere away from the telephone, TV and dog. 

Need help with Wi-Fi network arrays and interactive technology tool rentals? Look no further than AV Event Solutions to be your California meeting equipment supplier! Check out their Facebook page for great tips on Wi-Fi connections and other meeting ideas! 

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