Hybrid Meeting

Hybrid Meeting

The best of virtual and in-person meeting experience

Over the past 2 years many of us have adopted a new hybrid working culture. As we start to see phased reopenings of countries across the globe and a sense of normality creeps back in, many workers remain in full favor of continuing to embrace this hybrid solution for its obvious benefits associated with increased flexibility and a better work-life balance. The move to hybrid - a blended model where some employees return to the workplace and others continue to work from home, is a stepping stone towards creating a more comfortable work dynamic.

With the successful implementation of hybrid environments in many organizations, one thing is for sure, the future of work is hybrid.

Now, at times, it’s even hard to remember how areas of our work like meetings were conducted pre-covid. Results from the recent Global Workforce Survey predict that a staggering 98% of meetings will include at least one remote participant, it is likely we will never go back to a time where all in-person meetings are required. Hybrid meetings cater for both in-person and virtual attendees simultaneously. It gives people a choice between being physically present in the meeting room or attending the meetings online depending on their own personal preferences and situation.

Master your hybrid meetings

Managing meetings is an art and also a science. Conducting smooth hybrid meetings could be challenging but also highly rewarding. So how do you ‘do hybrid’ well, so that everyone feels included and is able to contribute?

  1. Empathize with the remote participant
    When setting up a meeting room, the priority should be the perspective of colleagues attending remotely.  Set up the camera equipment in a way that they are able to view the faces of all the in-room attendees. We recommend avoiding asking the in-room attendees to join the meeting via their own laptop and muting themselves which is commonly done. By requesting this, everyone in the meeting room might as well attend virtually.  Try to remember those attending in-person likely made a choice to do so as that is their preference and may prefer to enjoy the real world meeting environment.
  2. Design meetings for all the attendees.
    While preparing for a hybrid meeting, you should continually look into the blockers the remote participants might face when they are trying to fully engage in the meetings. For example, access to documentation being circulated in the room. Co-create the meeting agendas to ensure that everyone is equally heard. If there is a vote round during the meeting, then how are these responses recorded and when creating content on flip charts or whiteboards, how is this content portrayed. Meeting facilitators should do some preparation before a hybrid meeting by reviewing each activity or exercise intended to be completed, focusing specifically on how virtual attendees will best engage with this.
  3. Try out the ‘Buddy System’ 
    Assign an in-person meeting attendee to be a remote person’s ‘buddy’. The buddy forms a one-on-one connection with the remote participant. If your remote worker has a question or missed something, the ‘buddy’ makes certain that they are involved and heard.    This is something that should happen naturally within the social dynamic but no harm to let people know that this activity is encouraged and supported. 

Besides this, always start hybrid meetings on a casual note and perhaps use some light-hearted ice breakers to get everyone comfortable. With the hybrid environments, icebreakers can help make your calls more personal and allow your colleagues to get to warm up, energize and drive lively-discussions.
Some interesting virtual icebreaker questions to open your hybrid meetings -

  1. If your teammates are joining from across the globe, kick off your meetings by flashing a whiteboard screen with questions like - “Where are you joining from?”This is one of the best virtual icebreakers for large meetings or virtual events – the more locations, the better your white board would look.
  2. Mood check questions like ‘How are you feeling today?’The classic “So, how are you folks doing?” usually gets you only a couple of reluctant answers. Ask your team how they are different today and you can even try an online poll.
  3. Capture a group photo! This one’s just as much fun through a video chat as it is in real life. You can repeat it time and again by taking differently themed pictures each time — make funny faces, virtual participants can bring in their pets, do crazy gestures, be creative. 

Hiccups are to be expected at the start of the hybrid culture, but in the long run once the proper structure is in place, hybrid meetings can give you the best of both worlds so it’s worth persevering!fgdh



Hybrid Meeting

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