How to Run Hybrid Meetings
- February 17th, 2022
According to a recent McKinsey report, 90 percent of companies would use a mix of remote and on-site labor if they are free of Covid constraints. This new paradigm will result in a significant shift in how we meet, with a hybrid mix of in-person and remote meeting participants seeming to be an unavoidable element of our “new normal.”
These stumbling hurdles are becoming increasingly common as hybrid meetings grow more common. Bridging the gap between in-office and remote employees is an important part of today’s collaboration. Leaders must evaluate how to establish an egalitarian experience for their dispersed workforce to implement a hybrid work approach successfully.
We have compiled a list of 11 top practices to make your hybrid meetings more productive:
1. Think about your meeting agenda from all angles.
When holding hybrid meetings, you must account for all attendees. Facilitators may need to urge virtual participants to unmute and join the chat gently. In order to present successfully, in-person attendees may need to be reminded to consider camera location and audio equipment arrangement.
At the start of the meeting, try to address any possible issues. Let your employees know that glitches are to be expected, and experiment with different techniques to smooth them out. For hybrid meetings, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; you must find out what works best for your team. What is the best place to begin? I am going to ask them.
2. Know who will be at the office and when they will be there.
Do you have any idea who will be at the office on any given day? What kind of meeting room space is available that meets your requirements?
Understanding who will be there and when is the first step in making hybrid meetings more productive. You should be able to readily establish who is in the office and where they are seated if you use work experience software.
Once you know who will be in the office for the meeting, you can choose a meeting that accommodates everyone and has the technology necessary to assist team members who will be phoning in.
3. Invest in audio and video equipment.
Technology undoubtedly plays a significant part in more productive meetings. Investing in your team’s room equipment is an important component of enhancing the overall experience. The music and graphics should be the main emphasis. You want to make certain that everyone on your team can see and hear each other.
Do not panic; this does not imply that you must invest millions in a brand-new system. Begin with the fundamentals, such as video conferencing software, room displays, and audio systems.
Pro-Tip: Always check your audio before starting a meeting. Nobody enjoys the frantic tech rush at the outset of a meeting.
4. Provide options for your teams to choose from.
One of the most appealing aspects of hybrid employment is the ability to fit work around your schedule. There will be less friction when your teams have a say in getting information.
Support flexibility wherever feasible by:
- Team meetings are being recorded and posted on team channels.
- Sharing meeting notes and session summaries.
- Individually tagging team members in action items.
Participants, both remote and in-office, may utilize these shared places to ask questions, do follow-ups, and publicly affirm that they have all the information they want.
You guarantee that the correct information is conveyed regardless of any glitches by allowing flexibility in how your team receives the information they need.
5. Appoint a competent facilitator.
There will always be blunders in hybrid meetings, no matter how well-planned they are. As a result, assigning a single facilitator to your meetings is an excellent idea.
This individual will be in charge of ensuring that all voices are heard in the discourse. Even when everyone is in the same room, it may be difficult to keep everyone engaged in a meeting. Facilitators should be responsible for ensuring that everyone gets what they need to engage completely.
This may need urging distant players to raise their hand remotely. It might also be a matter of instructing in-person participants to talk closer to the microphone. Facilitators will play a critical role in effective hybrid meetings, regardless of the technique.
6. Make use of producers.
Have one “producer” in the actual room and another at a distant location for bigger sessions. They should be familiar with both the meeting’s technology and how to assist with the actual gear in the room (e.g., cameras, laptops, etc.) as well as the internet platforms (video conferencing and/or audio dial-in systems). Ascertain that these two producers (also known as facilitators, assistants, or other roles) are on the same page on all expectations and individual duties for the meeting’s success.
7. Turn on the chat feature.
For those who are remote, make sure the chat feature is switched on in Zoom, WebEx, and other similar programs. Having a chat backchannel is the most effective method to keep virtual participants interested, and it is perhaps the most important advantage of attending remotely that in-person attendees will miss.
In a manner that cannot be done in person (since individuals in the crowd chatting would distract the main speakers/leaders), chat enables peer-to-peer remarks, learning, exchange of links, and so on. Because using the chat is so beneficial, you should explore allowing in-person participants to log in and engage in the backchannel using their cellphones or even computers if it will not be disruptive.
8. Equalize the Q&A session.
If the meeting format includes a question and answers component (in real-time) or segment (a predetermined Q&A session), it should be mentioned at the start of the meeting. This allows participants to jot down thoughts as the debate continues, so they will be ready when it is time to ask the remote audience for questions.
It is also a good idea to ask people ahead of time if they would be interested in submitting a question during the meeting to help kick things off. Finally, be sure to alternate between questions from the two audiences—ask in-person questions first, then online ones, and so on.
9. Participants from afar are shown.
If feasible, place a large screen at the front of the room with as many remote attendees as possible appearing on video (e.g., Zoom supports up to 49 people at a time in a gallery view on a big screen). If video is not available or some workers do not want to be visible, showing their static photographs or names is a useful approach to notify presenters/leaders and all other guests in the room that remote employees are there.
10. Showcase the speakers and leaders.
On the other hand, make sure that the remote workers view the in-person leaders/presenters as the major images. After all, it is where the in-person attendees’ attention is concentrated, so provide remote guests the same experience. If you have a second camera, providing a view of the in-person crowd is good, but not if it means losing sight of the leaders/presenters. Avoid showing an audience staring off-camera at a disembodied speaker.
11. Participate in activities with everyone.
Make sure that all meeting activities involve the remote attendees. Use your platform’s breakout capability for the online attendees if there is a time when participants split into small groups. If you brainstorm on flip charts, utilize your platform’s whiteboard/annotation features to do so online. Almost every in-person activity may be virtualized in some way—ask your instructional designers for help since they are experts at developing activities for not just training and webinars but also corporate meetings.