After 50 years in business, this medical technology distributor had outgrown their footprint. Conference space, in particular, was limited. It was time to move to a more appropriate workplace where they could meet more effectively as a team. As a medical device company, it was also necessary to convey a modern brand identity to their clients.
MTG brought a full team of project management and design resources to address the full scope of this project. They reviewed several options with the company to find the right solution: simple, quick, modern technology that was intuitive and easy to use. MTG would provide:
- Upgraded data infrastructure
- Physical security including an intrusion alarm, access control and video surveillance
- Audio/visual systems that included sound masking and high-tech hybrid meeting capabilities throughout their space
The new office was in a recently renovated commercial space in Northeast Minneapolis. MTG collaborated closely with the principal architect, a construction contractor and an IT implementation firm throughout the project. MTG helped the medical device company move into a sub-leased warehouse and set up a temporary data infrastructure to enable a smooth transition with no lapses. Unexpected challenges often arise with complicated endeavors like this one. Because the new space was a historical building, environmental concerns could have resulted in delays. However, MTG managed the timeline to meet the targeted deadline.
“Moving the data infrastructure without a hiccup was a huge challenge, but this project went very smoothly,” said Travis Linn of MTG. “We worked collaboratively with the contractor to hit the deadlines and with the property manager to be sure they met the guidelines.” The collaboration was a success, and the project partners asked MTG to be a part of their next project.
Feedback from the client was positive. They valued having one partner address all their technology needs in the new space. They were able to spend less time worrying about changes to their new facility and focus on their growth. Today, the new workspace is an engaging new environment for their team as they continue to expand their business.
A hybrid meeting is a gathering that features at least one group of in-person attendees connecting virtually with other meeting attendees. This series offers insight into designing and delivering the best hybrid meeting experience for your users or clients.
In Part 1, we summarized the factors to consider when designing a hybrid meeting space. Part 2 addressed specific space factors. Part 3 spoke of the latest technology considerations.
This chapter will summarize best practices for conducting a hybrid meeting.
The increase in demand for hybrid meetings for businesses has driven advancements in meeting room technologies and software platforms such as Zoom and Teams, making them much more straightforward to use than ever before. This development is good news for all of us, particularly meeting facilitators or leaders.
Even with the latest technologies that allow all in-person and remote faces to be seen and voices to be heard, there are some human factors to consider to conduct a successful hybrid meeting.
- Be respectful of people’s time by:
- Substantiating that a meeting is truly necessary
- Including only those who are in the best position to contribute to the desired outcome
- Sending out an agenda beforehand
- Schedule an appropriately sized meeting room for in-person attendees and with proper technology for remote attendees
- Include the “click to join” link for the platform you will be using in your invitation
- Be prepared for every meeting. It is a show of respect for those you have invited.
- Do whatever it takes to make sure your technology is ready to go:
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s meeting technology tools
- If you are using an unfamiliar room, conduct a dry run beforehand – or at least show up early enough to have everything operational for you and your guests
- Solicit a teammate to join the meeting remotely ahead of time to verify the room camera view, confirm audio levels and practice navigation for remote attendees
- Run through your presentation to ensure your intended screen shares will be fluid
- Consider turning off notifications on your PC to prevent emails that might be private from being shared in the meeting
- Practicing in a meeting room will prevent that embarrassing panic run to IT or a support person to drop what they are doing to save your day
- Be sure the meeting room is welcoming
- Show up early to check the room and do any necessary tidying up and check stock on any desired consumables
- In hybrid meetings, live meeting participants share the benefit of face-to-face interaction, which can leave remote attendees feeling disconnected and less likely to participate
- As the leader of the meeting, make a conscious effort to encourage engagement and inclusion with virtual participants
- With the dramatic increase in hybrid meetings, many companies have adopted ground rules for remote participants. Some examples are:
- Setting up in a location with minimal distractions and an appropriate background
- Encouraging participants to have their cameras on and mics muted (when not talking)
- Recommending appropriate attire
- Encouraging participants to abstain from other work during the meeting
- As stated above, the meeting leader should promote engagement with the virtual attendees. It is fair to expect remote participants to be focused and engaged as well
The world has changed significantly in the past two years, but meetings remain an essential tool to move your business forward. By following these best practices, you can adapt to the changes in behavior, technology and attendance and get more value from your meetings.