Your Audio-Visual Kit: Technology Tips for Holding Compelling Association Chapter Hybrid Meetings
Updated: Jan. 11, 2021 | Categories: Meetings/Events
Since early 2020, many organizations, have focused on connecting with members when many are choosing not to attend their events in person.
Early in the pandemic, most chapter meetings were remote; they’ve shifted to a hybrid format with in-person and virtual options. “We’ve got older members,” says Tim Conlon, a chapter president, “as well as younger members. Each has risk tolerances and family issues. We decided not to force members to take a position one way or the other.”
Tim and his executive committee developed a repeatable format that provides engrossing experiences for both groups, integrating virtual attendees into the overall meeting and participating as if they were physically present. Here he shares some of their technology and audio-visual (AV) best practices (links are included for any of his preferred brands.) along with a few other helpful tips to improve sound and video quality and the experiences of all attendees.
- Pop up screen. To share a PowerPoint, show those in the remote audience, speakers, panelists participating remotely, etc. When they hold a social hour, they shift Zoom to Gallery View and spotlight individuals as they talk.
- Projecting from the laptop to the screen; regardless of attendees’ locations, they can see and be seen and hear presenters. Have a replacement bulb on hand, just in case.
- It should be new enough to connect to multiple devices simultaneously.
- Inexpensive video camera. While it may be tempting to use the computer’s webcam, the difference in video quality can be noticeable. The chapter connects Tim’s personal high-definition camera to the laptop. Those on Zoom can see the presenters in the room, some of the audience and some of the big screen.
- So they’re not relying on a person to hold the camera steady.
- External microphone or speakerphone. They place a Voice over IP (VOIP)- enabled Jabra speakerphone in the audience so that those in the room can be heard more clearly by the remote attendees and vice versa. And by putting a microphone on the presenters, their voices carry through the room and are picked up easily by the speakerphone.
- Appropriate cables & adaptors. Utilize an Ethernet cable and an extra-long, quality HDMI cable. Check the technical specifications for the equipment you’ll connect to, to ensure you have compatible cables with you. All laptops utilize 1/8 stereo outputs, so you’ll need a cable with a 1/8 stereo output connector on one end and one of three audio input adaptor types on the other: ¼ phono, RCA split (mono) pairs and XLR. (Bring an extension cord and power strip, too.)
There’s nothing worse than trying to pay attention to a remote presentation with weak audio, bad camera angles, and an unstable Internet connection. Pull together the right equipment and plan and set up your hybrid meeting correctly, and there’s a good chance your remote attendees will remember all you did for them.