Hello ATD Kansas City!
In August, ATDKC held its first hybrid chapter meeting. The pandemic created an environment of almost constant change, and while we were able to successfully pivot in 2020 to hosting all events online, we were eager to see your faces in person! We entered into this hybrid event challenge hoping that we would be holding hybrid events through the remainder of 2021, and we expected that this first opportunity to try the hybrid format would lead to some key learnings we could apply going forward. As many companies are working through that same challenge right now, I am excited to share some of those key learnings from this first hybrid meeting with you, in hopes it helps provide some guidance to those of you on teams who are focused on success in our new hybrid environment.
Our goal was simple: to make sure our in-person and online participants were all equally engaged in the program.
To do this, we made the following decisions:
We felt as prepared as we could be! The day of the program, everything was set up – our microphone was working, the online participants could hear people talking everywhere in the classroom, but our speaker was still prepared to repeat questions asked to make sure nothing was lost in translation. The videos that the speaker planned to show were playing correctly . . . we were READY.
For everything . . . but the power going out.
The power went out in our in-person location about halfway through the presentation due to a storm in the area. Our in-person participants could no longer see the presentation on the large screens in the classroom, but they could still hear our speaker. Our online participants could, miraculously, still hear our speaker AND still see the presentation he was sharing from his personal laptop. We forged ahead!
We never got the power back, but we were able to continue the program – but it wasn’t the quality we were originally hoping for. Our online participants got to see the slides, and while we did end up encountering some sound issues after the power outage, they were able to engage with the material.
Ultimately, we are logging these key learnings for future hybrid events. We know that due to updates from the CDC about current COVID Delta variant conditions we are transitioning back to fully online events in September for ATDKC, but hopefully our experience provides some useful information to those of you currently working through the hybrid challenge! Watch your event announcements for details on upcoming opportunities to participate in programs and Special Interest Groups.
Cheers to all of you, and I hope to see you online for the virtual ATDKC conference in October!