A lifetime ago, when the world went into lockdown, we scrambled to adapt to a life of video calls and meetings. And, with restrictions easing to different levels in different locations, some of us are back in the office while others continue to work from home.
With this slow transition back to being onsite, more-and-more companies are now considering how to facilitate events that can serve the needs of onsite and remote colleagues.
Recently, we caught up with Tom Cooke and Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson at Explore Performance to learn about how they’ve put CapitaLand’s Igloo-powered Catapult to use for hybrid workshops.
The Catapult is a first-of-its-kind Shared Executive Learning Centre in South East Asia, which focuses on leadership and innovation. It’s a state-of-the-art learning facility designed to prepare business leaders to manage the complexity and ambiguity of the new business environment.
Explore Performance is a leadership and development consultancy which uses the power of exploration to engage leaders and teams to build a competitive advantage. Its team members have scaled Mount Everest, rowed from Singapore to New Zealand, hiked across the Arctic - and all their trips are captured on film. And that content is used to create ‘choose your own adventure’ workshops in the safety of classrooms or corporate offices.
Before the pandemic, Explore Performance carried out 99.9% of its sessions face-to-face in classroom-like environments. Like everyone else around the world, the team had to rethink. They hit upon the Igloo-powered Catapult as a way to facilitate hybrid events - and they took the time to share their thoughts with us on what makes the Catapult so suited to such an event.
Here we share four things to bear in mind if you’re looking to create your own hybrid event:
Engage both your audiences and make interaction a two-way street
What sets a hybrid event apart from a virtual event is the engagement and interactivity with both your audiences - those physically onsite, and those connecting remotely.
A hybrid event is not:
- A one-way live stream of your presenter in front of a live audience, without them engaging with a remote audience
- A pre-recorded video with no interactive elements
- Something you can pull off with just yourself and a green screen presenting to a remote audience
As Grant ‘Axe’ Rawlinson, Human Powered Explorer and Team Decision Making Coach at Explore Performance, told us, “Sometimes companies think it’s just a case of having a camera, beaming that out to other locations, and having people just sign-in to watch. But, for a hybrid event, your presenter needs to be able to interact with those remote audiences.”
For the most recent workshop, Explore Performance had an onsite audience of eight people, plus Axe presenting, with four people connected virtually. Using Igloo Capture, the remote participants’ video feeds were shown on the vast Igloo immersive screen - not trapped inside a laptop or TV screen, making for a more natural experience for the presenter. When it came to asking a question of his audience, Axe found he could simply look to his virtual participants in the same way as his onsite ones.
“Because I could see everyone, whether they were in the room or connected from elsewhere in Asia, it was about as close you could get to having them all in the same place,” Axe added.
“I held another event the following week where I wasn’t able to see the virtual attendees, and that felt weird - though I knew many people were watching, I couldn’t interact with them. So the Igloo felt far more natural for me as a facilitator.”
Make the most of all your tools - including your presenter
Another key element was that all the participants made use of the same tools that Explore Performance had to offer. Everyone could take part in polls, and everyone had an opportunity to share their thoughts on the discussion with ‘microphone time’.
And the real beauty of the Igloo set-up is that it allows your presenter to perform at their best. They can still command a physical space. Because they can see the entire audience in front of them, it’s far easier to call on everyone involved. And they can better judge the audience’s attention, energy, and mood throughout the session.
“Having a great facilitator like Axe is super important,” said Victoria Great, Vice President of Learning and Innovation at CapitaLand. “When it comes to a hybrid event, you’ve got to give both audiences the same level of attention, keep them engaged throughout.”
Content still is (and always will be) king
Compelling content is all the more vital for a hybrid event. It’s got to keep both of your audiences engaged.
Key to Explore Performance’s offering is its unique content, compiled from adventures and expeditions that most of us can only dream of.
And the themes of these expeditions are more relevant than ever: resilience, teamwork, thriving through change - all of which are integral to the success of these expeditions and to success in a post-COVID world.
The enormous screens of the Igloo-powered Catapult could do justice to this content even though it wasn’t created in 360° or 180°. Whether it was halfway up Mount Everest with howling wind and snow, or rocking along on a kayak across the Pacific Ocean, the immersive screen transported its audience.
And the immersive nature of the experience is key for the Catapult room in how its users deliver leadership training.
“If you study the neuroscience behind it, creating an immersive experience appeals to the emotional side of the brain - which makes the training more memorable, sticky, and more likely to be applied,” Victoria explained. “At the end of the day, it’s important that participants are able to apply the learning in a real-life business environment. So, that’s why we invested in the immersive Igloo tech for the Catapult room, and have partnered with Explore Performance. We’re leading the way in grooming future-ready leaders with an immersive and experiential approach to learning.”
Make the most of your content by re-purposing it
If you’re live streaming your event, you’re probably well-placed to record it too and generate even more content that way.
You can record your sessions held with an Igloo, using the handy screen record feature in Igloo Warper. So, why not repurpose the recording - distribute it to anyone unable to make the hybrid event, or for attendees to revisit the content, or even as a showcase to potential clients?
Make the most of the technology available to you
The Igloo-powered Catapult is so much more than a curved screen. The whole setup is equipped with ultra-short-throw laser projectors for super-sharp, super-bright imagery.
And it’s kitted out with our immersive video conferencing solution that offers ease-of-use for its presenters, so they can focus on their job of engaging the audience.
Naturally, the huge immersive screen is a big plus. The team at Explore Performance made the most of the vast canvas available, using it to beam in the remote participants, display presentation slides, and play the video content, all side-by-side.
“If you don’t have a good display, if you don’t have good AV, that impacts the quality of the session for everyone,” said Tom Cooke, Founder and Managing Director at Explore Performance. “But the Igloo really brought the session to life.”
“I could see it being perfect for other types of sessions, especially sales kick-offs or strategic meetings,” added Axe.
And, of course, be prepared!
For a hybrid event, it’s even more crucial, since you’ve got two audiences to be aware of, and more technology involved.
For Explore Performance, that meant setting aside a few hours ahead of the workshop for preparation time with the technical team behind the Catapult and Team Igloo.
It’s also key to have a facilitator dedicated to the online experience and smooth running of the technical aspects of the event. Your presenter will need to concentrate on presenting. For Explore Performance’s session, Tom and Victoria worked behind the scenes to oversee the online experience.
Fortunately, when it comes to the Igloo technology, user-friendliness and experience are at the forefront of what we do. For example, our Igloo Immersive Media Player is a content-agnostic platform that lets you use whatever video conferencing tools you prefer - whether that’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Webex, whatever. You’re not tied down to a particular provider. And, we are always keen to work with you to get it running as smoothly as possible.
“The great thing about the Igloo platform,” Axe told us, “is that it’s so easy and smooth to work with. I didn’t have to worry about what button to push next, and I could focus on presenting.”
So, we hope this gives you some food for thought on how to approach hybrid events in 2021 - and watch this space for news of a showcase from the Explore Performance team in the new year as well.
And we’d encourage you to check out our white paper on using Igloo virtual, hybrid and multi-location events for even greater depth.
If you’re in the Singapore area, you can find out more about using the Catapult yourself.
And be sure to check out the workshops on offer from Explore Performance too.
A final BIG thank you to Axe, Tom and Victoria as well for all of these valuable insights!
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