The world has changed a lot. Thanks to advances in technology, we can now do things we never thought we’d be able to do a few years back. Because of the Internet, we can now communicate with a loved one on the other side of the globe in real-time. We can also access information with just a click of the mouse.
The events industry has also benefitted from these advances in technology. In fact, although physical events are still the norm, they are no longer the only option for companies and other event organizers. Hybrid events are also now possible and are even gaining ground. According to Markletic, 63% of companies with 2000 to 5000 companies have hosted hybrid events. Around 34% of event organizers are also expected to invest more in these types.
But what exactly are hybrid events and what are their benefits, if any? Don’t worry. We’ll discuss those, particularly in the context of public speaking, in this article. Then we’ll also look at how you yourself can create a hybrid presentation using tools such as Powerpoint.
Ready? Let’s get started.
What Is a Hybrid Presentation?
In the context of public speaking, a hybrid presentation involves three critical elements: a speaker, some members of the audience who are physically present in the venue with the speaker, and other members of the audience who are remotely connected via technological tools.
What is a hybrid presentation? In essence, the speaker doesn’t cater to just one audience in this type. He or she has to think about how to satisfy the needs of the event attendees who are in the venue and those who are in other places.
The setup allows for advantages and disadvantages both for the speaker and members of the audience. Under this setup, the speaker, for instance, can reach a wider audience. Even people in other parts of the world can connect to the event and listen to him or her. For members of the audience, especially those who are connected remotely, the setup is very convenient. All they need to do is connect to the Internet and that’s it. It’s as if they were at the venue themselves.
However, because a hybrid presentation relies in large part on technology, some technological issues may arise that can negatively affect the remote audience’s experience. If the Internet connection, for instance, isn’t stable, they may not hear what the speaker is saying clearly. Worse, they can get disconnected.
That’s also a disadvantage for the speaker, who might have to repeat what he or she already discussed, and for the audience in the venue, who might have to listen to a discussion they already heard minutes ago.
By and large, though, it helps to know how to deliver a hybrid presentation. Because judging by the numbers, as we’ve seen a while ago, this type is likely here to stay.
Hybrid Presentation: Tools to Use
To deliver a hybrid presentation, you need a set of additional tools apart from the tools you’d use in a traditional presentation (microphone, speaker, screen, among others). The Internet, of course, is one of those additional tools like Amazon. A videoconferencing platform is also essential to ensuring the speaker and the remote audience are connected. Zoom and Microsoft Teams are popular ones.
You can’t just expect your audience to listen to everything you say and then hope they get something out of it. You need to help your audience–both the remote audience and the audience in the venue with you—visualize what you’re saying. That’s why visual aid tools such as Powerpoint are just as important. The there are also other powerpoint alternatives you can leverage as noted in the article "Best Presentation Technology Tools."
Delivering a Hybrid Presentation Using Powerpoint [Best Tips]
So, let’s focus on that last one: Powerpoint. How exactly can you use Powerpoint to deliver a hybrid presentation?
Well, the first step would be to ensure that your laptop is connected to the projector. There are many ways to do this, depending on your computer. But if you’re using Microsoft Windows 10, for example, just follow these steps:
Go to Settings > System > Display
You’ll see something like this:
A window that shows the projectors the computer has found will then pop up. Just pick your projector. Make sure, too, that your computer display is set to the extended mode:
Now you need to go to your presentation on Powerpoint and press Alt+Shift+F5.
That will give you, to your left, the video conferencing platform you’re using (let’s assume it’s Microsoft Teams) and to your right, the Presenter view.
Something like this:
All you need to do now is share your slideshow with your two audiences, the one in the venue and the one on Microsoft Teams.
After you’ve shared it, you’ll still have access to your main presentation. That means when you go to the next slide in your main frame, both your audiences will see that next slide, too.
Delivering Your Powerpoint Presentation
Now that you know how to set up your Powerpoint presentation, let’s talk about how you should deliver it in a hybrid setup.
In a way, delivering a Powerpoint presentation in this setting is a bit more difficult. Just think about it. It’s hard enough to deliver one in front of a group. What more if there are two of those.
But difficult doesn’t mean impossible. The key is just to be conscious of the fact that you have two groups of listeners looking at your slides. Take note of what both groups of people are seeing (and hearing) at all times. It helps if you ask them yourself once in a while. So, if the remote audience, for instance, tells you they can’t see your next slide, you can make the necessary adjustments.
Here are other tips you should follow:
- Make sure you make “eye contact” with both groups of people. That means you need to look at your audience in your room and at your remote audience through the camera set up in the venue even if you’re checking out your slides once in a while.
- Don’t pace around. This may be acceptable in a traditional setup but in a hybrid setup, it’s a no-no for visibility reasons. If you pace around the room, from one point to the other, you run the risk of your remote audience not seeing you.
- Speaking of visibility, always be conscious of where you’re standing, too. You shouldn’t stand in the dark, for example. If you do, both your remote and live audience won’t see you.
- Pay extra attention during the Q&A (let’s assume you’ll have this, and you should). If, for some reason, the live audience doesn’t hear the remote audience’s question (and vice versa), you can repeat the question yourself. If, by some chance, you can’t hear the question yourself, you can ask the remote audience to type it in the videoconferencing platform’s chatbox instead. Then you can read it aloud.
I don’t think you’d have any problems with the live audience in this regard. But if you do, well, all you’d need to do is ask them to repeat the question again.
As a final tip, to minimize the risk of technical issues during your Powerpoint presentation, I suggest you test everything before the event. By everything, I don’t just mean your microphone and your screen in the venue. I also am referring to your Internet connection, your Powerpoint sharing function, your video conferencing platform, among other things.
So, you see, to deliver a successful hybrid presentation, in general, the key is to just be sensitive to both your audience’s needs. As with traditional presentations, you can’t just go about having a monologue and just hope your listeners will get something from you. You need to make sure that every step of the way, both groups of listeners are following what you’re saying.
The public speaking domain has benefitted from the advances in technology, too. So, instead of just traditional presentations, we now have hybrid presentations as well. What is a hybrid presentation? Unlike a traditional presentation that involves just one group of listeners, a hybrid presentation involves two groups: a remote audience and a live one.
If the forecast is accurate, hybrid presentations are here to stay. That means as a public speaker, you need to know how to deliver those, too. You need to know how to properly use the tools required for a successful hybrid presentation. And that includes knowing how to use Powerpoint.
In general, though, you don’t need to panic. If you think about it, there aren’t as many differences between traditional and hybrid public speaking as we would like to believe. Although there are differences, of course, in how the presentations are conducted (there’s the use of videoconferencing platforms, the Internet, among other things, in hybrid presentations), central to both a successful hybrid and traditional presentation is one element: the audience.
If you’re sensitive to the audience's needs, you can be as good a hybrid presenter as a traditional one. That’s a fact.
For more resources to develop your public speaking skills while you are in the comforts of your own home, please check out the article ‘Online Resources for Public Speaking‘. If you would like to leverage the best presentation software for your next big speaking engagement please read the article 'Best Presentation Technology tools'.
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