How to Design and Deliver the Best Hybrid Meeting Experience, Part 4: Best Practices
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.

 

Overview

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.

 

Key Considerations

Planning

  • 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

 

Preparation

  • 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

 

Inclusion

  • 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

 

Ground Rules

  • 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.