The pandemic has ushered in a wave of transformation to the workplace. Working from home is now commonplace, and “can you see my screen” has entered our collective lexicon as meeting preamble. With employers and employees embracing remote work with full force, this trend does not show any signs of slowing down. As more organizations transition to a permanent flexible working model, mastering the hybrid meeting will be a crucial skill.
What is a hybrid meeting?
A meeting is hybrid when it has a combination of remote and in-person attendees. Remote workers join through video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams. The on-site participants are physically present in the same meeting space or conference room and engage with the remote team members in real-time.
Organizations are anticipating the future of hybrid work. According to Accenture, 83% of workers globally want a hybrid work arrangement. Soon, virtual meetings will be replaced with hybrid meetings as the norm. Learning techniques to facilitate a smooth hybrid collaboration session will help you excel in this work environment and effectively work together with distributed teams.
Tips for Successful Hybrid Meetings
Although some of the same rules apply to hybrid meetings as in-person meetings, there are important differences to take note of. Here are some of our top hybrid meeting best practices.
1. Before you book a meeting, think about the purpose and desired outcome. Make sure that you can clearly articulate this. Also, this is a great time to determine if a meeting is the right format for the topic. Perhaps this can be accomplished asynchronously, giving people the chance to collaborate when they work best and accommodate colleagues in other time zones. We all know the feeling after a “this could have been an email” meeting – but really, could it be?
2. Who needs to be there? Invite those who will contribute to the discussion and need to be included. If you’re not sure about inviting someone, you could always include them as optional. Be respectful of people’s busy schedules and extend the invitation if they will benefit from the meeting.
3. So, a meeting is the right format for your discussion. Now what? Be sure to share a tight agenda at least two days in advance. Include the objective of the meeting clearly in the invitation to keep the session focused.
4. How much time do you need? To determine the meeting length, consider how much time you want to dedicate to each item on your agenda. If you happen to book the meeting too short, you may need to abruptly move to another meeting room once another group comes in. Just in case, take note of when the next group is scheduled to use the room.
5. Use the Nspace find a colleague feature to schedule your meeting based on who will already be in the office. This will also help you to find a meeting room that is the correct size for your in-person group.
6. Consider the type of collaboration space and amenities that you will require. Is this an informal brainstorming session where a comfortable space or breakout room may inspire creativity? Is it a formal quarterly planning discussion that requires a conference room? Are you discussing a sensitive matter that requires additional security measures in a meeting room such as a soundproof space or window coverings? Ensure your selected collaboration space will support the purpose of your session.
7. Book your meeting room in advance and share the virtual link alongside to provide relevant details to all attendees. Your room scheduling software should help you determine how many seats are available.
8. Set your meeting up for success! Choose a designated notetaker to keep track of the discussion. If appropriate, share a slide deck or other materials in advance. Don’t forget to include electronic copies of any handouts for virtual attendees.
What do I need to run an effective hybrid meeting?
There are a few requirements for hybrid meeting equipment. At the minimum, you’ll require a suitable webcam and projector screen to see all attendees. You’ll also need a microphone to carry the sound from everyone in the meeting room to the video stream. Avoid relying on a laptop microphone; it may not suffice.
Make sure that your meeting room booking system lists the available equipment in all rooms. It’s important to arrive early to the meeting to ensure that everything is in working order. If your meeting is very interactive, ensure that you have access to collaborative tools like live polling or virtual whiteboarding for engagement throughout the session.
Hybrid Meeting Etiquette
As a rule of thumb, imagine that the meeting is face-to-face. Therefore, treat all employees as if they’re actually in the room with you. So, general conventions still apply, such as: not talking over other people, punctuality, and involving everyone. However, give extra consideration to people joining remotely. These attendees risk feeling like observers (and not participants) if they’re not engaged or given a chance to contribute. Make sure that everyone gets a turn, and that you’re maintaining eye contact with the webcam. This will ensure that everyone gets value out of the meeting. Agree on follow up items, key takeaways, and action items with all attendees before leaving the meeting.
If you need to cancel the meeting, or several attendees can’t make it, make sure that this is communicated as far in advance as possible so that your colleagues can make alternative plans as needed. If your head is spinning trying to remember all these tips, consult this checklist!
Hybrid Meeting Best Practices Checklist
- Send out meeting invitation in advance with meeting room and virtual link details
- Share the agenda and necessary resources in advance with all attendees
- Arrive early to set up technology
- Mute microphones as required during the meeting to avoid distracting audio
- Involve all attendees by maintaining eye contact and encouraging discussion
- Agree upon action items and key takeaways
- Share out these findings afterward and arrange any follow ups as necessary
Learn more about how Nspace can help make your hybrid meetings great by booking a demo.