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  • Writer's pictureMatt

Case Study - Hybrid Conference

The gold standard of a hybrid event is where both those attending onsite and online get the best possible experience. Too often the event is organised for those onsite, and the online element is just bolted on. It takes some thought to do it well.


One of the best hybrid events I supported was the Joint Public Issues Team’s hybrid conference in summer 2022. They had considered how those online would be able to engage from the very start of their planning process.


The best way to explain how it worked is to see it as two distinct events that came together at key points.


In the foreground is a monitor showing multiple camera angles, which in the back is a panel of 4 people sat in front of a crowd
A panel discussion watched by those onsite and online

The onsite event, in a school building in central London, was a fairly standard event, with the keynote in the large hall, then having to find the right classroom for the seminars and workshops. Of course there were coffee breaks and a chance to chat with other attendees.


And then for the online, there was a small studio space and they had dedicated online hosts who acted as presenters throughout the day facilitating discussions. The keynotes were broadcast live, and during some of the breaks, the keynote speakers visited the studio where those online could ask questions in the way that those on site might have done in the coffee queue. 


And importantly all the seminars and workshops were run twice. During the first session, half were run just for those onsite, while the facilitators for the other half were in rooms with a laptop running it for those online. And during the second session they swapped over. This allowed the sessions to be run in the best way for the audience.


And a third element was the use of Slack, a messaging app that could be used by all attendees, whether online or onsite, where information, further resources and discussion could happen among the team, speakers, facilitators and attendees.


The event took a lot of planning and resourcing, but it really made the best use of the benefits of both being onsite and online while limiting the negatives.


You can see recordings from the JPIT Conference 2022 on their Youtube channel, including the keynotes and the ‘in the studio’ bits.


If you’re planning a hybrid event, I’d love to support you, both with the technical side but also advice and support in the planning stage to help you provide the best experience for everyone. Just get in touch.

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