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Tips for running hybrid meetings

Today I am going to take a look at “hybrid” meetings. For many of us this has become a common way to attend meetings.

Hybrid meetings are a great way to get more flexibility in your workday. Hybrid meetings can also be run from the comfort of your own home, saving you even more time. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you start running one.

Let’s take a look at hybrid meetings, what they are and how to run them effectively. 

What is a hybrid meeting?

Before we get started, let’s quickly define a hybrid meeting.

Hybrid meetings are a powerful blend of in-person and virtual collaboration. They are characterised by attendees joining the meeting both in-person in the office environment as well as by people who join virtually through a video call or by dialling in on a call.

These types of meeting have become extremely popular as a way of connecting remote working staff with their office-based colleagues.

Why you should run hybrid meetings

Hybrid meetings are a great tool for getting the most out of teams and to help them collaborate effectively, even if they are not in the same physical location.

Some reasons why you should run hybrid meetings are:

  • to connect people who are working from home with the office
  • to connect people who are away on business with the office team
  • to allow people more flexibility on where they work from
  • to keep people in the loop and maintain the sense of community and camaraderie
  • to expand your teams and your business without investing in additional, often expensive office space
  • to cut down on commuting and contribute to less global warming
  • to help employees achieve a healthy work and personal life balance, for example when parents need to stay home with sick children

How to get the most out of your hybrid meetings

In the next part of this episode, I would like to share with you some tips on how you can get the most out of your hybrid meetings.

The AOBE team run both weekly hybrid meetings as well as hybrid classes, so we really know what we are talking about and that’s why we are sharing with you what works and doesn’t work as we have learnt first-hand.

  1. 1
    Make sure you login to the meeting 5 – 10 minutes early. Because online meetings are so convenient, we tend to login at the last minute, this is a bit of a trap. If things go wrong, then you will inadvertently arrive late and this is never a good look

    If you are leading the meeting, then you should also login ahead of time to welcome the online participants as they start to arrive. Here you can engage in some small talk. This makes everyone feel part of the team.
  2. 2
    It’s a good idea to have your camera and audio activated as soon as you login. Make sure you test everything by saying a quick hello. If you get no response, you will be able to quickly check what tech problem you are facing.

    Furthermore, I don’t know how many times I have seen people login with a black screen, and no audio and not say anything until asked. This is very rude, I mean, would you walk into an office meeting with a bag over your head and completely ignore the other people in the room?
  3. 3
    Ensure your office is properly equipped to run hybrid meetings. This means investing in a smart projector or a large tactile screen/TV. These are great for getting the most out of meetings.

    Smart projectors/TVs are tactile and/or have a pen, or you can invest in a USB digital writing pad, this means you can use them as a digital whiteboard for brainstorming. They are then equally visible to both online and offline participants. Additionally, it is essential that you have a wireless Bluetooth microphone that everyone in the in-person meeting can get close to. If not, it will be difficult for the people online to hear properly. Conversely, the office will need decent speakers, so that the audio from those online is clearly heard in the physical meeting room.
  4. 4
    Whenever possible, use two monitors and “extend” your desktop, this will allow you to see all the documents you need, plus the participants. The more screen real estate, the better with hybrid meetings.
  5. 5
    If you are running the meeting, be sure to include everyone when asking for comments and feedback. Make an extra effort to include the people who are connecting to the meeting remotely.

    Try getting into the habit of looking directly at the camera from time to time. This will be great for the people who are connecting remotely. 

Things to watch out for when running hybrid meetings

Finally, let’s take a quick look at some of the top things you need to be on the lookout for when you are running hybrid meetings.

Here is my list:

  • Make sure you are close to a good Wi-Fi signal, or even better, go for an ethernet cable.
  • Make sure you understand how to switch quickly between audio sources. People often have the wrong default audio setting set and then it takes them 5 minutes to fix their audio, holding up the meeting and making them look stupid.
  • Make sure you have your camera at eye-level and not pointing up your nose.
  • Ensure you have decent lighting; web cameras are notoriously bad in low light conditions.
  • Be sure to mute your mic if you have a lot of background noise, especially if you are working from a public place such as a café or airport lounge.

Do you want to run better meetings? 

Most people don't like meetings, they feel they are a waste of their time. To be fair, they are usually correct. But why? Well, most meetings are run poorly, they run over time, are ineffective and have unclear outcomes. 

Participating in and running meetings does not have to be hard work. If you want to run effective, goal orientated meetings which get results AND save time, then why don't you check out a free sample lesson from my course "Confidence in business meetings". 

This online course is designed for English language learners who want to excel at meetings and participate confidently. 

Final thoughts

I hope you found a lot of value in this week's episode. Remember, hybrid meetings are the new norm and you should aim to get the most out of them and ensure your remote teams are connecting and staying productive. Help them help the organisation by ensuring your organisation is hybrid meeting ready.

Please leave me your comments below, I would love to hear your thoughts on hybrid meetings and if you have any tips too. 

See you all next week. 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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