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Considerations When Planning a Successful Hybrid Event

Veronica Brundle - Jul 12 2021, 4:39:00 PM

For many years, the workweek has looked vastly the same. Employees performed their 9-5 jobs in a designated office environment, day in, day out. Before the pandemic took over in March of 2020, only a handful of organizations employed hybrid working methods. Yet, ever since the onslaught of COVID-19 cases, people’s work-life hasn’t been the same.

Hybrid work has drastically taken over more traditional work models. This involves a shift in how meetings are taking place. This post will look into what hybrid meetings are, why they're a useful tool for companies, and what you can do to ensure that they run smoothly.

Hybrid models were largely unknown before the pandemic. However, companies quickly established them as a stable work practice ever since. A hybrid meeting is a gathering involving on-site attendees (i.e., attendees joining from the office), and remote attendees (who join the meeting through video).

How this can manifest, for example, is when, out of 4 attendees, 2 of them join via Google Hangouts or Zoom. Such a hybrid meeting may occur because attendees live in different countries. Additionally, companies often opt for hybrid meetings when planning meetings to ensure that they respect regulations around working from home and keeping the distance.

Hybrid meetings have become increasingly common in 2021. Due to the pandemic, people's comfort levels when it comes to going to the office differ. Some people feel more comfortable with going to the office, while a portion of employees would prefer to work remotely.

A few reasons why hybrid meetings are becoming more frequent include:

  • The ability to collaborate and innovate regardless of attendees’ location.
  • The relatively low-cost required to conduct the meeting.
  • Quarantine and lockdown measures. These make it impossible for some teams to collaborate on-site in person.
  • Enhanced flexibility around working hours and location.

Considering that hybrid meetings will become an integral part of our work practices, it’s important to ensure that they run smoothly.  Below, we list things to account for when running hybrid meetings.

When participants are joining meetings remotely, they may forget to share their time zone or location. It's important that you have this information before setting up this meeting. This ensures that the meeting is convenient to attend for most participants. If some people aren’t available during those times, make sure you record the event so they can view it later.

Sharing what the hybrid meeting will include beforehand ensures a successful meeting. Besides giving participants an idea of how their time will be used, distributing an agenda serves additional purposes. Participants can review the agenda and offer feedback or more points for discussion ahead of time. These agendas should list topics covered –– including their pertaining start and stop times.

When planning the meeting, account for greetings and an ending summary into the agenda. This ensures that the meeting doesn’t go past the allotted time. Additionally, summaries are useful in rounding up necessary meeting details that you want to emphasize.

Once you take these prerequisites on board, you can look into employing the tips highlighted below. These will ensure high-quality interactions during the meeting.

To ensure that the meeting is efficient, runs seamlessly, and provides an open space for communication within the relevant boundaries, it’s important to set ground rules.

Such rules can include requiring participants to:

  • Have their camera turned on at all times.
  • Mute themselves when they aren’t speaking. Otherwise, when they want to ask a question, contribute to the conversation, or offer feedback, they can turn their microphones on.
  • Minimize distractions by asking them to not interact with their phones, emails, or other similar diversions during the meeting.
  • Dress appropriately depending on how formal the meeting is and who is present.

While this sounds intuitive, it’s necessary to test both your hardware and software before your meetings. Oftentimes, certain software has settings that you need to arranged beforehand. As such, you may have to set such input and output functions ahead of time so they don’t pose a problem during the hybrid meeting. Additionally, see how this tech works in the specific room you’re going to conduct this meeting. You may find out that the room has a certain impact on the tech or setup you’re using.

If you don’t have an established leader to guide and direct the conversion, it’s easy for hybrid meetings to become chaotic. Additionally, the lack of order may result in missed agenda items. Therefore, it’s important to select a facilitator that is familiar with the agenda and knows how to lead the conversions in a way that covers all necessary subjects.

This facilitator will also be useful in moderating the conversation in a way that ensures engagement between the people in the meeting room and those attending remotely. This way, everyone in the meeting gets a chance to talk and receive an equal amount of talk time.

While in-person meetings are easier to conduct, technology has made it accessible for us to collaborate during difficult times. Although such meetings can be a hassle to set up –– and require more forethought –– they are increasingly useful in today’s workplace. By implementing the tips mentioned above, you can guarantee a productive hybrid meeting that runs seamlessly from beginning to end.

Originally published at Jul 12 2021, 4:39:00 PM. Updated on Sep 28 2022.

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