For hybrid meetings to be effective and meaningful, it is necessary to bridge the gap between in-person and remote hybrid attendees. Whenever not everyone is able to attend a real-time meeting, organizations need to find ways to encourage employees to attend.
An effective hybrid meeting requires thoughtful planning. If you are looking for a way to deliver a remarkable experience to all participants, you’ve come to the right place.
What Is a Hybrid Meeting?
Hybrid meetings combine in-person and virtual attendees. Virtual components allow remote participants to participate in a physical conference in person with others while being physically present. Attendees can connect, ask questions, and share knowledge using a virtual hybrid conference platform.
Benefits of Hybrid Meetings
Hybrid meetings provide better audience engagement. Virtual attendees can communicate and interact with presenters and other attendees as if they were in the physical office. Furthermore, it can expand the reach of audiences, especially for people who cannot attend face-to-face meetings due to travel restrictions.
Different Types of Hybrid Meetings
1. Micro Experience Event
Micro experiences allow attendees to attend an event together from different locations in real-time. Award shows and sporting events are examples of watch parties. This format allows the audience to stream and experience the event without attending in person.
2. Live Studio Audience Hybrid
Live studio audiences have become increasingly popular in recent years. The in-person experience offers exclusivity, which extends the event experience beyond the general public. Typically, this type of event is used by TV or broadcast productions where talent is on stage with live viewers and an audience at home.
3. Speakers-Only Hybrid Meeting
You can invite multiple speakers to your studio for a live interview or discussion. This setup allows the speakers to provide a meaningful in-person experience while attendees participate virtually.
Best Practices to Run a Great Hybrid Meetings
1. List Down Meeting Priorities
To conduct an effective hybrid meeting, priority issues must be addressed, key personnel must be identified, and the platform used must be chosen. In line with this, it’s essential to list out what you hope to accomplish, like the number of in-person attendees, ways to increase engagement, and how to make the discussion relevant for the everyone-no matter where they work.
2. Set Goals
A list of goals and objectives should be prepared before the event begins. It is best to inform attendees in advance who will be the host, what the agenda is, and what the goal of the project is. This gives them plenty of time to prepare and participate actively in the discussion.
3. Plan Event Format and Accommodate Remote Attendees First
It is vital that you choose the right meeting format for your organization to maximize the impact and attendance of your event, both in-person and remotely. It is important to put the interests of online attendees first because they may have difficulty participating and engaging if their body language is lacking. Meanwhile, in-person participants tend to be more open to exchanging ideas, mediating a discussion, or interrupting politely.
4. Identify Attendees and How They Will Attend
Meeting planners should set clear expectations for everyone at the beginning of the meeting. Because it is a hybrid session, decide who will be working remotely and whether cameras need to be turned on. Instruct attendees to mute their microphones if they are participating from different devices, especially during a presentation.
5. Assign a Meeting Facilitator
It is crucial to assign a facilitator to a meeting to ensure that it runs smoothly without interruption. Remote participants can also provide feedback or comments, making them feel more comfortable sharing their insights into the discussion.
6. Choose a Good Broadcasting Software
Decide whether you need to present informative slides, initiate a poll, or get feedback from the international team in the all-hands meeting. Afterwards, choose a software program that allows you to design, send, and analyze surveys easily.
7. Ask Experts When in Doubt
Be sure to talk to the venue organizers about meeting logistics and ensure you have everything in place to make your meeting a success. Consult the venue team about the hybrid event technology that will be used, how certain elements will be arranged, and if anything else is missing.
8. Be Updated and Check Meeting Recap
During a hybrid event, attendees may be working on other projects or swapping up their work. Thus, appointing someone to take notes during the meeting is essential. Additionally, it is beneficial to send the action items to the team so that they know what steps need to be taken to achieve the goals.
Check the features of your video conferencing software to see if they allow you to record the meeting. The points raised in the discussion will be useful to participants who did not attend but still need to learn from them.
It is essential to communicate tasks to team members quickly and easily in order to collaborate effectively on a project. Using Asana, you can manage action items and meeting minutes to meet deadlines even when you’re at a distance.
9. Stay On Top of Project Management
Each member needs to be assigned a task and a priority. As a result, everyone must be kept informed about the status of each action item. Sending notifications automatically to members will make sure they remember projects that are due or if certain issues arise need to be addressed right away.
Trello lets you organize your team’s projects with checklists and labels that you can drag and drop.
10. Make Important Discussions Online
You can discuss essential topics online through internal communication channels, whether it’s a huddle on a new project or preparing for team building. Make sure to update the team immediately after the discussion if you are unable to do so online.
11. Run Asynchronous Feedback Rounds
Post ongoing projects to your channel, ask around for feedback and upload. Every member of the team has an equal opportunity to learn from others, while any suggestions that could improve the project’s workflow are valued.
With Quip, the team can collaborate on documents and receive feedback on specific items. As a result, people can start a discussion in real-time right within the document itself.
12. Gather Input From Others Before the Meeting Begins
Make sure you collect input from colleagues in advance so that everyone can contribute their expertise and experience. Share the results of a survey or a questionnaire with your internal channels in advance of implementing an easy process.
By doing this, you can obtain input prior to the meeting and make it more productive and informative. It’s also possible to plan ahead and strategize ahead of time when you need to deal with a crucial issue. During the Q&A session, you can even collect questions beforehand.
13. Test the Technology Ahead of Time
It is important to test the meeting’s audio-visual setup both for participants in the room and those participating remotely. By anticipating audio or video glitches, you can prevent them from interfering with a productive discussion.
Scheduling a 10-15 minute one-on-one dry run with remote participants in advance can make them feel more comfortable discussing the topic. In addition, checking the hybrid software solution features that they need is a must.
14. Improve Audio Quality in Meetings
Australian National University researchers found that audio quality is crucial to whether people believe what they hear and whether they can trust the speaker. It is therefore important to pay attention both to the visual and audio aspects of a meeting in order to maintain clear communication.
Make sure the room has high-quality microphones that provide better audio quality, especially for remote participants. Allow in-person attendees to pass around a hand-held microphone before speaking in a group discussion if multiple microphones are not available.
15. Start an Ice Breaker to Set the Mood
The purpose of an icebreaker is to create a relaxed environment in which everyone can share ideas and participate more fully in meetings. Make the meeting start on a positive note with a remote-friendly icebreaker. A virtual or hybrid meeting can benefit from icebreakers to boost engagement and provide a relaxed environment for attendees to participate fully.
16. Ask an Online Colleague
Allow meeting participants more time and space to participate and react when there are multiple attendees. As a result, your online colleagues will feel respected and included in the discussion. I wouldn’t suggest putting colleagues on the spot. You can therefore ask them to speak up by saying: “We would like to hear from our colleagues participating online.” Would anyone like to comment on the presentation?
17. Conduct Strong Facilitation
Keep the conversation on track by assigning a staff member or attendee to moderate. However, in-person attendees dominate the discussion despite the logistics and format preparation. In addition to entertaining remote participants, facilitators should make sure they are always heard and engaged.
18. Assign In-Room “Avatars” to Remote Attendees
Participants may be required to be physically present in a room in certain circumstances. There may be issues, such as a blocked camera view or a broken microphone. Whenever remote participants have problems like the ones mentioned, they should have an “in-room avatar” – a staff member or another attendee who can act as their physical presence in the conference room if necessary. The meeting should be conducted in a private setting so that both parties can communicate privately.
19. Use Universal Language in All Conversations
Speaking in a language that everyone in the room understands is the best practice. Some may feel left out if another language is used that they do not understand — this is unprofessional and not in the employer’s best interests.
20. Remind Meeting Rules to Attendees
At the beginning of each hybrid meeting, mention the ground rules, which all should agree upon. A code of conduct is presented to the team, describing what appropriate behaviour is expected from each member.
21. Start the Meeting in an Inclusive Way
Welcome everyone formally, and make sure to mention remote attendees for participating. Make sure that their cameras are turned on so that they can better connect with each other and engage with one another. Gamification is an effective method of increasing engagement in meetings.
22. Give Shoutouts to Virtual Participants
Create a positive impression of yourself and demonstrate respect for others by welcoming everyone and addressing them by name as soon as the meeting begins.
23. Be Sensitive to Subtle Cues and Understand Them
Keep an eye out for subtle facial cues that indicate confusion, such as looking perplexed. The best way to include them in online discussions is to look out for these cues.
24. Notice People Unmuting Themselves
You can also ensure that remote participants feel appreciated and heard by watching the screen for signs that someone wants to speak up. Video conferencing platforms either allow participants to unmute themselves or to raise their hands.
25. Facilitate a Q&A Session and Mention About It
You should mention at the beginning of a meeting if a Q&A session will be facilitated. Attendees can jot down ideas as they are discussed and be prepared when the time comes to ask a question.
To make the meeting more meaningful, you should also ask individuals in advance if they wish to submit questions. Don’t forget to entertain questions from both in-person and online audiences.
26. Include Attendees in All Activities
Create a sense of belonging among the team members. If you want the online attendees to have a better chance of interacting, you can rely on your platform’s breakout features.
As an alternative to more crowded main events, it’s often used for smaller group discussions. The smaller group can provide some privacy and relief for attendees before they join the larger one.
27. Acknowledge Remote Participants
The monitor should be large enough to show a large number of people in the room. It is important for leaders and presenters to be reminded that they are part of the meeting if the video isn’t available or some employees feel uncomfortable being seen.
28. Show Meeting Presenters and Other Leaders
Employees who work remotely should be able to see their leaders and presenters the most. Ensure both remote and in-person attendees are focused on them. Consider using a second camera to capture the view of the in-person audience, but don’t exclude the presenters and leaders.
29. Understand Attendee Experience Using a Survey
An organization’s performance can be improved through feedback on any initiative. Whether employees work in person or remotely, the employee experience should be a priority. Ask them about their experience during large meetings by conducting a survey. By doing this, sales and marketing teams can produce more relevant and targeted follow-up opportunities for future meetings.
Best Technology Software for a Hybrid Session
FLOOR makes it easy for attendees to access the meeting agenda and presentation. Also, business cards can be exchanged, meetings can be requested, connections can be made, and chats can be held.
During webinars or conferences, they can share their insights with leaders and panellists to improve workplace communication. They can also share their screens with others, enabling them to express their knowledge and ideas clearly and effectively.