September 28

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Thinking about organizing a hybrid event soon? Ask the right questions and take a reflected decision.

“Work left the building”, that’s the hilarious title of the book Jitske Kramer wrote in 2020 in the middle of the Corona crisis (Dutch only). True it is, as we see now, work is only partially moving back. Working from various places, basically from anywhere, has become fashionable and acceptable.

In this mixed setting of people working from different places, hybrid and blended formats are the answers. So it seems.

hy· brid | \ ˈhī-brəd  \
: something heterogeneous in origin or composition 
: something (such as a power plant, vehicle, or electronic circuit) that has two different types of components performing essentially the same function\ ˈblend  \

blended also blent\ ˈblent  \; blending
: MIX, especially : to combine or associate so that the separate constituents or the line of demarcation cannot be distinguished
: to prepare by thoroughly intermingling different varieties or grades

Blended collaboration and hybrid meetings

Blended collaboration combines the best of in-person and online collaboration, synchronous and asynchronous work. There is a lot of collaborative potential and many options. It’s all about good process planning. 

When it comes to meetings, with people working in different locations, there are two options:

  • All-online: Everybody connects via a personal device to the online meeting, also, people working in the office join online.
  • Hybrid:  Part of the participants joins online while another part is physically present in one room. 

So which option is best for you? Hybrid meetings might seem like the logical consequences of the current working realities. But be aware: 

Going hybrid can be tricky!

Before you decide, you might want to consider that organizing a hybrid event is not that simple. Actually organizing and facilitating a hybrid gathering can be quite demanding and challenging, even a bit of a headache. 

There are some requirements you need to pay attention to as you play with multiple spaces; hosting participants from different places at the same time – virtually and in-person. This means a simple laptop may no longer be sufficient. Everyone wants to see and hear and be seen and heard. So you need the right hard- and software and the skills (or support) to handle the technology smoothly.

The facilitators’ task and aspiration is to have an inclusive workshop that engages everyone equally, no matter if people join virtually or in-person. Facilitating a hybrid event in solois not recommended. You will always fall short of the needs of one part of the group.

The higher the level of participation, the more elaborate and difficult the implementation in the hybrid format.

Decision Wheel

Going hybrid or not, is a choice and a decision. 

So, on which grounds do you decide if a hybrid or an all-online setup is the best solution? When is it worthwhile to tackle the effort and design and hold a hybrid event?

To find out, ask yourself some good questions!

As a support for a reflective decision, we have developed the Decision Wheel for Planning a Hybrid Event, together with Monika Schlatter and Carsten Schulz. We show you what is to be considered from our point of view for a successful hybrid setting. The 6 questions will help you to find out if a hybrid event makes sense in your case and what it takes to plan it successfully. 

We are convinced that hybrid is not a simple and quick answer. It is possible, yet please consider requirements and consequences wisely and take a reflective decision! 

Find out if a hybrid event makes sense in your context and if yes, plan it consciously.

Image by Mario Hagen from Pixabay 


Tags

blended collaboration, hybrid event, online facilitation


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