Last year at the height of planners’ learning about virtual platforms for meetings, I wrote an article for Small Market Meetings that focused on preparing executives to be brilliant on “the small screen.” Still, planners did not realize how important this skill would be in the future. One year later, we are making a slow and safe comeback toward being able to hold face-to-face meetings again.
We’ve conquered virtual meetings, but here comes the hybrid meeting, which means you’re actually going to be planning TWO meetings at the same time! In a recent survey we conducted, 63 percent of our clients indicated they would be implementing hybrid meetings and 19 percent said that they were planning virtual meetings between spring and fall of this year.
Adapting to arranging hybrid meetings is going to take more thought and energy as you plan to deliver both a live experience and a virtual experience for your audiences. What’s that going to look like for your professional and internal speakers “taking the stage?” Communicating the on-stage and small-screen parameters actually requires much thought and delicate tact. It takes a lot of work to make it look easy.
As you begin planning hybrid meetings, remember that your internal speakers and CEO must demonstrate exceptional poise and polish to all the attendees participating. Your executives must have the best coaching because stakeholders are listening for highly effective levels of tone and persuasiveness. Stakeholders expect CEOs’ presentations, whether in-person or virtual, to show that they are world-class leaders who make lasting impressions on their audience.
Many planners already understand the value of hiring a consultant (at least four months in advance) to coach the internal speakers and the CEO before the week of tech rehearsals. The value of coached practice can’t be overestimated!
Here are some tips for your professional and internal speakers to consider when taking the hybrid meeting to the stage:
- Wear blues, browns or purples rather than black, which represents power and intimidation.
- Tell relevant stories that will evoke emotion and authenticity. Try to paint vivid pictures in the attendees’ minds.
- Use voice inflection. Going slow or fast and varying the volume will have a profound effect.
- Gesturing enhances trust with the participants and eye contact through the camera is essential.
- Be conversational. People may not remember what a speaker said or did, but they will not forget how a speaker made them feel.
Recently, I had a conversation with a planner about whether speakers presenting at a hybrid meeting can command the stage while pacing as they would for live events. She did not think they’d be able to use the entire stage because the AV and production team would have a camera set up to stream to those participating virtually.
She was correct! Speakers will be asked to “stay in the box” on stage and not go beyond the set parameters. This is just one more reason to invest the time and budget to ensure your internal speakers are prepared for these nuances of change and practice their presentations.
As you adapt to producing hybrid meetings and events, remember you are doing double-duty in creating both live and virtual programs. Your goal is for the CEO and internal speakers to be poised and polished and have executive presence. You will be the hero when you make this happen!
About Betty Garrett
Betty Garrett has spent more than three decades in the training, travel and hospitality industries. Her company, Garrett Speakers International, is based in Irving, Texas. Reach Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out their website at www.garrettspeakers.com.