How to Run Hybrid Meetings: Adapting to Changing Technological Advancement

As offices reopen, some people are reluctant to return to their desks full time. The current harsh economic times also exacerbate this reluctance due to the high commuting cost. No wonder businesses are pressured to adopt a hybrid work schedule, having hybrid meetings.  

With that said, you too can benefit from adopting a hybrid working concept for your company, business, or organization. That's why, in this article, we will be tackling the topic "hybrid meetings." 

Moreover, learn about:

  • what a hybrid meeting is
  • the importance of hybrid meetings
  • creating effective hybrid meetings
  • hybrid meeting tips to aid you in improving the team's performance

What is a Hybrid Meeting?

The remote members join the session using a web conference or conference call. As for the rest, they will attend the meeting in an event room or an office space.

Conducting team hybrid team meetings is no walk in the park. That's why experts on remote teamwork often recommend the following:

"If anyone is virtual, everyone should be virtual." In other words, if the meeting has people attending virtually, the whole session should be moved entirely into the virtual meeting space. 

Hybrid meetings are not all glitter and gold: They do possess some risks compared to in-person discussions. One of them is the attendees becoming anonymous faces at the conference. This point can leave the remote members confused about:

  • when to participate in the discussion
  • if they are audible to others when speaking or are visible on the conference screen
  • if they are speaking into a void or the attendees are actively listening
  • interacting with physical resources found in the local hosting room

So before creating hybrid meetings, it is best to involve all stakeholders and deliberate on the way forward when it comes to hybrid meetings.

The Benefits of Hybrid Meetings 

Before deciding how to create an effective team hybrid meeting, let's see why they are important first. 

  • They are cost-effective while benefiting both virtual and in-person meetings
  • Creates a more collaborative environment that increases work efficiency
  • Due to the diversity of hybrid meetings, one can customize one to fit into their meeting objectives
  • One can present valuable tools for both promotion and education
  • Webcast attendees can feel like part of the in-person participants
  • Increase the size of the audience from in-house and in the remote workspace
  • Allows those unable to attend in-house meetings due to various (unavoidable) reasons
  • There is an allowance for collective knowledge despite the teammates' location
  • Providing archivable footage for further promotion and education

Remember, hybrid meetings hold more disadvantages for remote participation, especially for junior attendees and minorities of geography, neurodiversity, culture, physical ability, and more. Therefore, consider you engage all relevant factors when creating one. 

Now that you know some of the reasons why hybrid meetings are significant, let's learn how to create them. 

How to Create an Effective Team Hybrid Meeting 

Before creating a hybrid meeting, it is essential to know that not all collaborations require a meeting. Hence, have a conversation beforehand about the shared objective, then choose and balance asynchronous and synchronous collaboration. 

1. State whether the Meeting is Optional for Remote Participants or Obligatory

Workers might work remotely for obligatory reasons like worldwide location or work restrictions. Others might choose to work remotely generally as freelancers or due to situations like avoiding commuting to work daily. 

Either way, obligatory reasons will often require the employee to attend the meetings unless it doesn't involve their scope of work. 

Know the Roles and Numbers of the Remote Attendees in the Hybrid Meetings

The more remote attendees, the more disadvantaged they are in effectively participating in the hybrid meetings. There is also some likelihood that they will experience exclusion.

2. For easier management, consider the following tips:

  • If the organizer or moderator is remote, they are unlikely to be excluded; thus, there is no need to go all-remote
  • If a new hire is remote, the are likely to not have fully grasped how their team members conduct their hybrid meetings. Therefore, it will be difficult for them to identify and engage with other attendees.So guide the new recruits on how to participate in the Hybrid meetings productively and efficiently. 

Hence consider the two factors above and create hybrid meetings that offer the best solutions. 

3. Schedule meetings to have Equalities

Check the remote participants' time zones and their holidays. Then share the burden of either late or early meetings that suit all the time zones. 

Moreover, ensure the meetings start 10 minutes after the hour or half-hour to provide everyone with suitable breaks between meetings. Finally, all attendees should have reasonable lead time, not only the local ones.

4. Prepare for Inclusion and Brainstorms

When dealing with teams with workers of different abilities, have standard procedures for communication and use. For neurodiverse people and those having disabilities, it is vital to have assistive technologies and resources to help them participate effectively.

If the meeting has new people, ensure every presenter says who they are at least the first time they speak. Additionally, if the presenter displays something, ask them to describe what they share explicitly. 

During brainstorming, consider enabling remote and local users to collaborate rather than have them in remote versus local cliques. Enable this collaboration by ensuring all participants use the same conferencing tool(s) version. 

Furthermore, have the activities timed and structured. Do not rely on the cohering effect. Then, spread the brainstorming between synchronous and asynchronous work to maximize the meeting time together. 

5. Set the Expectations

Clearly state the objective(s) of the hybrid meeting. Moreover, have rules of conduct like the CHARMS mnemonic to reduce frictions in the discussions. CHARMS stands for:

  • Chat
  • Hand raising
  • Agenda
  • Recording
  • Moderator
  • Support

6. Establishing Turn Taking to Utilize the Meeting Chat

Encourage everyone to have the meeting chat dialogue box open. Then, encourage them to engage in the discussion using the chat box. Chatting helps in making the meeting more inclusive.Also, remind them they can voice chat by first using the hand raise feature and waiting their turn. The remote participants should go first. 

If anyone can unmute their mics on their own accord, encourage that speaking is for one person at a time. Remember to wait longer for responses than you would typically wait for in-person meetings. 

7. Review important notes documented at the meeting

Tell the participants where to find the meeting notes, transcriptions, and recordings if available. The purpose of this is to encourage the users to follow up on the suggestions or have clarity on the discussion. Hence, it will foster greater collaboration among the teammates leading to more productivity. You can also create sharable clips which turns the meetings into highlights with a productivity tool - Airgram. 

Afterward, give a vote of thanks to the participants and then say goodbye to them. Ensure that all room devices have left the meeting.

4 Hybrid Meeting Tips to Ace your Team's Performance 

To make hybrid work truly equitable, it had to be viable in practice on top of working theoretically. Luckily, remote workers already used this concept: hybrid meetings were easy to build upon due to their workability. So, don’t panic and feel as this is a “recent concept” brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

1. Provide an Equitable Engagement by Setting Norms and Expectations

Like the in-person discussions, you'll need to ensure respect runs throughout the meeting. Furthermore, everyone needs to feel they have an equal seat at the (virtual) table. You can start by introducing the attendees while stating their position in the organization. If the attendees are numerous, you can introduce only those who will be presenting during the session. 

Remember to assure the participants that they are free to contribute (at the designated time). You can start by stimulating the introverted attendees by doing a quick poll or asking questions. You can also ensure the remote attendees are seen full size in the meeting room: Such representation might aid in giving them a more significant presence in the conference room. 

2. Utilize the Appropriate Tools and Technology for an Inclusive Hybrid Meeting

Like any other physical meeting, preparation is essential. So, it is best to research the various online meeting productivity tools that will work best for your organization. You can also test-run them using a mock-up meeting to see if they offer what you want. 

Once you settle on the technology and tools to use in your hybrid meetings, test them out: Machines, like people, have a reputation for disappointing the user in some crucial moments. So, it is best to check them out, ensuring they run smoothly. If you don't, you will waste precious time during the meeting as you try fixing the hiccups. 

3. The Environment needs to be Collaborative for Everyone

When creating hybrid meetings, having a large meeting room that enables video conferencing is essential. Moreover, it is good to have rooms that foster hybrid interactions, connection, and interactivity. 

Remember, these hybrid meetings aim to foster unity, collaboration, and information passing efficiently. So why not create in a viable environment?

4. Customize your Hybrid Meeting

No one thing is indeed the same. 

Due to the changing times and increased pandemic warnings, more businesses are bracing themselves to adopt a hybrid work schedule on top of hybrid meetings. Nevertheless, the organizations differ in their operations, communication, collaborations, and execution. It is best to adopt a customized hybrid meeting that suits your organization's objective. 

So, look for remote work collaboration platforms/tools that will help you in your hybrid working endeavors. One such tool is the Airgram. This meeting productivity tool can record, document, and transcribe a conference meeting. Below is how to go about it:

Using "Related Notes" to Check out your Recurring Meetings Notes  

This feature lets users classify all their Google Calendar events with the exact scheduled time and title as recurring meetings. Such events will have all their meetings centrally organized into one Related Notes category. Thus, the user can check all the relevant data in one click.

Here is how to use this feature:

  • Look for the meeting you want to join and click on it. 
  • In the pop-up window, click on the Related Notes 
  • From there, you'll be able to check out the meeting notes from your past recurring meetings

Having covered the topics above, let's now pen off, shall we?

Final words

With the changing economic landscape and the threat of pandemics looming over, it is wise to adapt to the times before you get caught off guard. This article is helping its readers learn how to conduct hybrid meetings effectively. 

Familiarize yourself with the hybrid meeting practice by learning what it entails, its importance, how to run a hybrid and tips on how to conduct it fruitfully. Refusing to adapt to the changing times is digging a grave for oneself.