The Hybrid Conundrum


We chanced upon an interesting read in the Financial Times. Here’s the TL;DR

  • Post pandemic events and conferences are more likely to be hybrid events than fully digital ones
  • The hybrid conference model is sold as a covid-friendly way of holding an event.
  • Hybrid events require all the planning of an in-person event plus the tech requirements of live streaming which can be ramped up should the in-person segment be cancelled.
  • Seth Godin, marketing expert, remarks that conferences may use “false control” measures while running the risk of “burning time , attention and trust”
  • Here he refers to the use of technology at events to create interactive elements in place of meaningful in-person interactions. 
  • While hybrid events seem practical for now, the lack of affiliative social engagement (the preference for the connection when people share live experiences like responding to a punchline or music together) that creates “you had to be there” moments is a missed opportunity.
  • Conferences, business panels and work-related events remain in crisis with decline in sales, cancellations and ever changing conditions.
  • Do we run the risk of planning events with the in-person element considered as an afterthought?  Online and virtual first?
  • The quality of hybrid experiences are hard to control given the planning, technical complexities and content curation. 
  • So, the key question is if a hybrid event remains valuable after the live segment is over.
  • Great events and moments of connection depend on drawing an audience together who are experiencing similar emotional reactions and intellectual insights at the same time.
  • Barring the ability to execute an event with high production value for both live and digital components should one consider simplifying the goals and targets for your next event.  Sometimes, less is more.

What do you think? 

Adapted from the Financial Times

Photo credits: Einerhand and Product School on Unsplash

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