Why Hybrid Events Are The Future Of The Event Industry

May 10, 2021

Vipsania Pimentel

Team Contributor

This week’s podcast episode focuses on something that is near and dear to the team’s heart: hybrid events. With over 100 different live and hybrid events to choose from, we chatted with Stu Robertson, leader and creator of Team Up Events, to examine not only work-life balance but hybrid events as well. For many businesses, employee wellness remains a popular topic and can be achieved through a successful team-building event.

How do you Juggle your Work and your Personal Life? How can Team Building Help?

Host of Team Building Around the World, Rich speaks to Stu Robertson from Team Up Events in New Zealand about how understanding and self-awareness are the keys to building better relationships not only in the workplace but in your personal life as well. Team building events such as Professional Development Workshops, and DiSC training raise self-awareness through the discovery of personality types conscious vs. unconscious, and understanding communication styles not just within your team, but within yourself.

Listen to this full Episode “Using Team Building to Discover Work-Life Balance” on our Podcast page.

Welcome to the New Era of Hybrid Events

First and foremost, hybrid events are a great option, Robertson noted, because there are no participation issues — it doesn’t matter if the team is all in one room, one city, or even one country. Everyone can still come together with ease and feel like they are part of something bigger.

This is important for several reasons, he pointed out, including the need to find a good work/life balance. Self-awareness, he said, is key to building better relationships in general — both in the workplace and in personal lives as well. Professional Development programs, in particular, make for great hybrid opportunities because the focus isn’t just on networking or building connections between team members, but on self-awareness and tips and tricks for communicating with the people around you better. This experience can easily be accessed for both live and in-person teams, or on a screen from a home office.

But that’s not the only reason hybrid events will remain popular for the foreseeable future. Robertson talked about his experiences in New Zealand, which is ahead of North America in its recovery from the challenges of COVID-19. It paints a great picture, he noted, of what we can expect in the United States in the weeks and months to come.

“We can still build these great connections and relationships, but now we’re just changing the venue essentially, instead of doing it in your offices or in your conference room or out, down around the city. Now we just take the team, the biggie online,” he said during the podcast. “So we were very fortunate. It was a lot of hard work, but now we have this full complement, I suppose, of face-to-face hybrid events, which can be a mix of both face-to-face and virtual and of course, a full suite of online and remote events.”

What Goes into Creating a Successful Hybrid Experience?

These hybrid events are a shift in thinking, he said, where before a live event would focus on bringing everyone into one space and having a “big suite” of events lined up. Now that same suite has been taken online. The live component is still there, he said, but it is also being broadcast through an online conferencing platform, allowing those from all over the world the ability to participate just as if they were there in person.

This is especially important in the United States, where social distancing is still very much an important component of keeping a live event safe. As discussed in the last episode, it’s not just about using a yardstick to enforce the “six feet apart rule,” but instead using a combination of human effort, technology, and awareness to keep a venue safe. Part of that is keeping the number of in-person attendees down to levels where these measures are effective — which will change as the vaccine continues to roll out and guidelines are updated — which is where having a hybrid model works so great. You don’t have to limit attendance numbers when anyone can log in and still fully be part of the fun.

The Evolving State of Team Events

That said, Robertson is looking forward to the days when a hybrid model isn’t necessary for safety and security measures, and more events can return to live occasions. “You just can’t beat the interaction of a live crowd,” he said. “Running a business virtually is a skillset in itself, [but] sometimes you can miss that little bit of interaction with the crowd, or with the teams and participants.”

He does note though, that whether hybrid or live and in-person, it’s a mistake to think that one event type will fit every business or occasion. That is where companies like TeamBonding come in, helping figure out exactly what type of event is really best suited for specific needs.

“There’s no perfect tool for every job,” he stressed. “There’s not a ‘perfect event.’ We try to think about every team, try to understand the pains of their business and what their drivers and objectives are. And then we really try to customize or tailor an event that’s going to deliver some real return on investment and some value for those teams.”

Whether live, virtual, or a hybrid of the two, it’s really more about connecting teams and helping them reach specific goals with their events, he continued. “It’s not just about having a fun time together; we always say fun [is necessary for] any event because fun helps create the engagement, but it’s actually about how can we have the fun with the value, with learning that can be transferred back into the workplace environment or learning that can help us build more positive or more effective relationships within the workplace.”

To learn more about hybrid events, creating better events, and even personal stories of some of Robertson’s favorite events — and the biggest challenges he’s faced when events went awry — tune in to this week’s full podcast!

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