hybrid meetings

What Is a Hybrid Meeting? [And How to Make The Most of It]

Hybrid meetings, a seamless blend of face-to-face and digital participation, represent the evolving landscape of collaboration. 

While often they happen circumstantially, hybrid meetings are filled with nuances that can either elevate or diminish their effectiveness. 

There are also pitfalls that can render hybrid meetings non productive. 

In this article we’ll talk about what meetings can be called hybrid and how to make sure they stay productive under different circumstances.

What’s a Hybrid Meeting?

A hybrid meeting is a type of meeting with participants joining both in-person and virtually, either remotely or sometimes asynchronously. Hybrid meetings also can refer to meetings between different company branches when participants are spreaded across different physical locations. 

The format of hybrid meetings helps teams stay flexible with their schedules without the added complication of trying to fit everyone in the same room at the same time. 

Hybrid meetings are most commonly held within companies that allow their employees to work remotely while having a designated office location. 

Let’s cover some best practices to make sure your hybrid meetings are as efficient as fully remote or on-site meetings. 

Best Practices When Running Hybrid Meetings

  1. Check Communication Tech In Advance

Make sure to check your communication channels in advance. If you have a conference monitor that displays remote team members, make sure it works and properly connects to your laptop.

Check microphones. Make sure the internet in the conference room works without hiccups too. If your team members are frequently reconnecting to the conference call due to poor connection, it might become a distraction to other team members, even those present in person. 

  1. Appoint a Mediator

Common issue with hybrid meetings is that onsite and remote team members might be talking over each other as often it’s hard to tell when someone is talking when you’re not in the same room.

A skilled mediator will be able to bring attention to less heard team members as well as keep the meeting focused on agenda.

  1. Make Sure All Presentation Assets Are Accessible

If you plan to share physical assets during the meetings (documents, instruction, etc.), make sure you have digital versions available for remote team members. The easiest way to ensure that is to share meeting digital assets before the meeting starts over the emails or team messenger.

  1. Take Notes & Record Meeting

Taking notes during hybrid meetings is especially important as it’s harder to track who said what when participants are both onsite and remote due to increased number of distractions and multitasking. 

Modern software helps you automatically take notes for fully remote meetings, but with hybrid meetings it takes additional effort to digitize notes from onsite participants. 

Don’t let that discourage you from taking notes altogether and use software such as Geekbot that helps you organize meeting notes in team messengers right after the meeting ends. 

Alternatively, you can record the entire meeting (make sure conference microphone picks up room discussions) or, alternatively, ask onsite team members to bring laptops and join a shared meeting in zoom even though they are in the same room. 

Common Issues With Hybrid Meetings And How To Solve Them

Unequal Participation

In hybrid meetings, remote participants might feel left out or have difficulty participating equally. This can lead to decreased engagement and productivity. 

Solution: encourage active participation from all attendees by using collaboration tools like virtual whiteboards, poling platforms, or chat functions. Rotate speaking turns and ensure that remote participants have equal opportunities to contribute. If the issue persists, appoint a mediator.

Lack of Engagement

Disengagement is a common downfall of many remote meetings, and it gets only worse during hybrid meetings for participants who join remotely. 

For starters, remote participants might experience distraction when they are joining from their homes or public places. Additionally, if in-house participants are more engaged during the meeting, remote participants might feel left out and are even more prone to disengagement from discussions.

Solution: use shared interactive screens for presentations, and always designate time for Q&A sessions. Mediator can encourage active listening and participation by asking questions, seeking input, and providing opportunities for feedback , especially for remote team members.

Security Issues

A persistent issue with hybrid meetings is that it’s almost impossible to implement a data security protocol when you can’t control how remote attendees join the meeting.

Remote team members might be using public WiFi networks that are poorly protected or reside in crowded co-workings. That becomes an issue if your meeting requires confidential data or leads to its sharing. 

Solution: ask the IT department to instruct remote attendees on basic security measures when joining meetings remotely or replace hybrid meetings with asynchronous meetings.

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