The Importance of Keeping Events Hybrid
For the past two years, we have had no choice but to hold every meeting, event, class, and function virtually. While many people are greatly looking forward to in-person events, it’s important to remember the benefits that come with being virtual. Therefore, these are some reasons for keeping a virtual aspect to everything as we move forward.
1. Wider Audience
The biggest benefit that we saw while functioning virtually was how many more people could attend events and meetings. People from all over the world could attend the same webinar and learn the same skills. This also applies to guest speakers. My classes have been able to get guest speakers that would normally never be able to find the time to come to our school. Our PRSSA chapter hosted a virtual conference last year, and it allowed students from across the country to attend. In the future, we should incorporate an aspect of this. For example, we have been having our meetings in-person, but also send out a Zoom link for those who can’t come in-person or don’t feel comfortable with large groups yet.
2. More Flexibility
With new strains of COVID being so unpredictable, it is great to have a back-up plan. COVID aside, there are a lot of other factors that can inhibit an in-person event. For example, if there was supposed to be an outdoor event and it rains, there is nothing you can do but reschedule or cancel. However, if you were planning on having a virtual aspect, you could simply shift to fully virtual. In addition, it provides more flexibility for attendees. In the past, if an employee was supposed to attend a conference but their childcare fell through, they could no longer attend. Now, there should always be a way to attend things virtually.
For people with disabilities, there are a lot of challenges with in-person events that most people don’t even consider. For those who have trouble walking, getting up and down stairs could be a challenge. We hold our meetings on the second floor of a building, and while we have an elevator, the building is always super crowded and may be hard for someone in a wheelchair to access. In addition, people with hearing impairments have struggles with in-person events. As someone with hearing loss, sometimes online events are easier because I can simply raise the volume or put on captions if I’m having trouble hearing. Hybrid events allow all events to be more inclusive for those with disabilities.
There were a lot of ways the pandemic was a negative force. However, there were also some good things to come out of. While we were working towards a more virtual world, the pandemic accelerated that process. As we can see, hybrid events are here to stay.
This blog was written by Chloe Maher, Co-Director of Community Service.