Running a hybrid meeting has become the norm for many organisations.
But, it doesn’t come without its issues!
“You’re on mute”
“Can you come a bit closer to the screen please”
“Your video is switched off”
Yep, we’ve all been there. And it can be a bit of a headache!
However, the world is changing, and so is our way of working. An increasing number of businesses are leveraging a hybrid working policy, with some employees going into the office, and others working from home.
Some employees are even working from other parts of the world, so there’s a whole different type of dynamic coming into play.
Regardless of this, meetings still need to be held to discuss important issues so that the company can progress. Sure, email is great, but it’s not quite the same as having a meeting with your team where you can all chip in and discuss different ideas.
So, with some people sitting in the office, two people joining from home, and others joining from your office abroad, how do you ensure everyone has the same experience?
In this post, we’re going to identify how to run an effective hybrid meeting that includes all of your employees regardless of their location.
We’ve also thrown in a free meeting agenda template which will help structure your hybrid meeting so that everyone comes away with clear action points.
1. Create a meeting agenda that suits all participants
When you’ve got some people in the room, and others joining remotely, they each require different things.
For example, your employees working remotely might need a gentle nudge to turn their cameras on so that they can be fully present in the meeting. They might also need to be reminded to unmute their audio when they’re trying to speak to facilitate smooth communication.
Similarly, your employees in the office need to consider the perspective of your remote employees. This might involve repositioning their camera when they’re presenting, or making sure to ask your remote employees questions to invite them into the conversation more.
Designing a meeting agenda that suits all parties can be difficult, but it’s important that there are opportunities for all of your employees to get involved.
When creating activities or exercises for the meeting, focus specifically on how remote participants will engage. You should also consider what tools and techniques can be used to maximise their interaction so that they have the same status as in-person attendees.
For example, if you’re putting people into breakout groups, don’t include all the remote participants in a single group as this reinforces their physical absence. Instead, make sure you integrate remote attendees across several breakout groups to give them an equal footing.
It’s about working together to smooth over these issues so that your hybrid meeting is a productive and valuable use of everyone’s time.
2. Work out who will be in the office and who is working remotely
You need to know who is going to be in the office, and who is going to be joining remotely before your meeting takes place.
This allows you to find a meeting room that has the right capacity, as there’s no point booking a huge space if there’s only going to be a handful of in-person participants.
Furthermore, you need to find a room that has the necessary audio and visual equipment, as this allows you to connect with your remote employees without incurring technological delays.
The last thing you want is for your employees who are working at home to be sitting for ages waiting to join the meeting. This can make them feel disengaged and disconnected before the meeting has even begun, as they’re just sitting looking at a blank computer screen.
Remember, if there’s any set-up issues, it’s much easier for your in-person attendees as they have full scope of what’s going on. Never leave your remote participants wondering why there is a delay, as this can make them feel even more isolated. Therefore, maintain good communication and keep them in the loop at all times.
It’s also important to consider the setup of your chosen meeting room to ensure you’re optimising the meeting space for all parties.
Some top tips for a good hybrid meeting set up include:
- Having your main presentation on a big screen in the center of the room so that everyone can see it (either via camera or directly).
- Strategically positioning webcams on tripods around the meeting room to give remote participants a complete view.
- Giving remote attendees a ‘seat’ at the table, with a designated screen for each person dialling in.
3. Test technology in advance
Whatever platform you’re using, it’s important to make sure it works before your hybrid meeting.
The last thing you want is technological hiccups, and whilst these can’t always be avoided, it’s worth choosing a platform that you know will deliver.
Before an important meeting, test the audio-visual set up — both in-room and for the remote attendees, to make sure everything is working the way it should be.
You don’t want to be in the middle of presenting to your big boss or stakeholders, and then realise there’s a problem with your audio or video!
At iVent, we have 12 years of experience delivering both virtual and hybrid events. Our team works directly with you to ensure your hybrid meeting runs without a glitch.
We have a variety of support plans available to suit your needs, and our team will always be on hand regardless of what timezone you are in. So, if you’re experiencing any technical issues, our experts are with you every step of the way.
However, the best thing about the iVent platform is its simplicity. There are no complicated plugs in or downloads required, meaning it’s really easy for you to run and manage your own hybrid meeting.
You can add your own content, control live sessions, and create agendas to ensure your hybrid meeting is an immersive and engaging experience for all parties.
You can also record the meeting for attendees who can’t be present, either physically or virtually, to ensure they can access the content at their own convenience. This lives in our digital hub, giving people access to it 24/7, 365 days a year.
4. Give your team’s choice
As we discussed in the intro, our way of working has drastically changed.
One of the biggest changes post-pandemic is allowing employees to have more flexibility.
This is one of the biggest benefits of hybrid working, as it allows people to fit work around their other day-to-day commitments.
For example, if an employee has no childcare cover, they would traditionally miss the meeting and sacrifice their input on various important topics. However, with hybrid meetings, they can join from the comfort of their living room.
It’s a win-win situation for both employers and employees and means no one is missing out.
You’ll find that when your teams have more choice, there is inevitably less friction as you’re giving them more control over their workload.
As such, where possible, you should:
- Record meetings and post them on the business’ intranet
- Share meeting notes and action points
- Tag individuals into action points so they know their next steps
The main priority is making sure both in-person and remote attendees have access to the information they need.
Whether they’re attending physically, virtually, or watching the session on-demand, it’s imperative they understand their own action points and what the next steps are.
This means that no projects are delayed as everyone understands what is required of them, and how the business plans on moving forward.
5. Designate a facilitator
To ensure every voice is heard in your hybrid meeting, it’s a good idea to assign a single facilitator.
This person will be in charge of directing the conversation to ensure everyone has their say, regardless of how they’re joining the meeting.
Making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to speak can be very challenging in a hybrid setting, as despite your best efforts, in-person attendees tend to dominate the discussion. This makes having a facilitator key, as they can draw the remote participants in and keep them engaged.
It’s important remote attendees are not interrupted or talked over, which happens often when they aren’t physically present.
The facilitator should be a confident individual who is capable of giving people a gentle nudge when it’s their time to talk. For remote participants, this might be asking them to virtually raise their hand so that every one is not talking over each other.
For in-person participants, it might be asking them to speak closer to the microphone so that everyone can hear them presenting.
The facilitator should also recognise and step in when someone is talking too much. It’s important everyone has their say and that it’s not left to one single voice to dominate the discussion.
Whatever their approach, facilitators will play a key role in successful hybrid meetings.
Your Hybrid Meeting Agenda Template
Still struggling when it comes to running your own hybrid meeting?
That’s okay! Hybrid meetings can be challenging, and it takes time to get more comfortable with this way of working.
To help you conduct more effective hybrid meetings going forward, we’re giving you the ultimate hybrid meeting agenda template – for free!
This will help you structure your hybrid meeting to ensure you’ve covered all bases.
Take advantage of this free resource, and create a valuable and engaging experience for all parties.
How to Run an Effective Hybrid Meeting (With Free Agenda Template)
Running a hybrid meeting will inevitably come with some challenges.
Being able to blend your in-office team members with your remote employees can be difficult, as each group has their own requirements.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting your in-person employees dominate the discussion, as a hybrid meeting has to be a productive use of everyone’s team. The experience of your remote attendees shouldn’t suffer, only because they’re not in the same room.
You need to find a way to draw them into the conversation so that they are motivated and engaged. Otherwise, what’s the point of them being there?
Developing a hybrid meeting agenda will allow you to structure your meeting in a way that caters to all attendees. From outlining how people are joining, to assigning action points for the next meeting, this document keeps everyone on the same page.
Make sure you download our Free Hybrid Meeting Agenda Template and start enjoying more effective hybrid meetings.
If you need help with any aspect of your hybrid meeting, get in touch with the team at iVent. Our experts know what it takes to create an engaging experience for all those involved, so that your team is motivated and productive.