Lessons from a Hybrid Class Reunion Event – Introduction

In 2021 I was supposed to attend my 30-year MBA reunion and like most events that year it was cancelled. Instead, the school and a team of classmates arranged a large Zoom call so we could gather virtually and see each other. We had classmates attend from many countries and it was a great time.

When the planning started for our in-person delayed reunion for May 2022, I suggested it would be great to offer some part of the event virtually to allow those who were unable to come back to campus the opportunity to be part of the reunion. The organizing team agreed and promptly added me to the team and assigned me the job to set this up since this is my area of expertise.

After a lot of planning and work, we pulled off a successful hybrid event on the evening of May 7, 2022. It brought together 90 people in a tent on a mountain at a golf course in New Hampshire with classmates from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and a number of different US states. We were able to have everyone involved in a 45-minute program and everyone enjoyed it. Here what it looked like when I was getting the Zoom call started.

I used three laptops (shown in the picture above), an iPad, an external webcam, and standard Zoom and PowerPoint to run everything. I had an AV tech there to run the sound system as we had two 70-inch TVs and a four-speaker audio setup.

As I reflected on the event in the days after, I realized that I had learned many lessons about running hybrid events that would be helpful to share with professionals who find themselves presenting in a hybrid setup more often now and will do so in the future. Over the next few months I will document and share these lessons.

Below is a list of the lessons I’ve published so far. Each lesson will share an aspect of what I did at this event and how you can apply it in the hybrid meetings you will run. If you want help improving the virtual and hybrid presentations of your team, get in touch and we can customize a course to meet your specific needs.

Lesson 1: You can run a Zoom meeting on cellular data

Lesson 2: Give the meeting as many resources and as much bandwidth as possible

Lesson 3: Plan and Test your hybrid meeting setup

Lesson 4: Make sure you can see the cursor and interface

Lesson 5: Know important OS shortcut keys

Lesson 6: Consider a second screen close to you

Lesson 7: Create a custom screen background

Lesson 8: Separate content and meeting control

Lesson 9: Have multiple cameras for views of the room and the presenter

Lesson 10: Introduce the remote attendees to the people in the room

Lesson 11: Use one device in the room for audio

Lesson 12: Have one place for details

By Dave Paradi

Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don't overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.