Article written by Paul Cook. Follow the link: http://pauljcook.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/the-feast-of-your-online-programme.html
“The Feast of your Online Program
In deciding to hold your hybrid event you begin to put your programs together for your different participants. As you know with hybrid events; you have your onsite participants and online participants.
In creating your onsite program you may well be able to call on your previous experience or that of your colleagues/service providers as face to face events have been with us for many years.
But creating the online program can be trickier for some event planners. There are some very good online programs forming part of a hybrid event but the majority I have experienced have fallen to being a victim of too much (feast) or too little (famine) for the online participants.
An online participant has the same physical needs as an onsite participant. Whilst you cannot see your online participants you will know that they will need to eat, drink and have time for comfort breaks and that has to be built into your online program experience. If you don’t consider this then you are not looking after your online participants.
I have experienced many hybrid events as an online participant only to find that there wasn’t a gap in the program for me to do anything other than stay glued to my computer. It probably wasn’t intentional on the part of the event planner but it didn’t help make my experience as good as it could have been.
My key tip here is not to have speaker presentation, speaker interview, speaker presentation, speaker interview in a continuous loop but to have a balance which allows breaks for your online participants.
Let them grab a coffee, check their messages, and generally provide them with the freedom to do what your online participants are able to do in their break periods.
I think that one of the reasons why so much is packed (by some event planners) into an online program is simply due to the ‘engagement fear’ that many event planners have. It can come from the idea that if there isn’t enough content then the online participant will leave the event.
My view is that with carefully planned content that allows breaks and reflection time the online participant will be much more likely to return to your program and become involved in your event.
Good luck with your online program planning and next time I’ll look at the ‘famine of your online program’.”