As hybrid work models become the norm, we are all adjusting to this new way of work and having to relearn how to behave in the workplace.
One of these areas is hybrid meetings, do you know the proper etiquette for a hybrid meeting? Making meetings valuable for all attendees regardless of location is essential for productivity and morale.
Fear not, we’ve come up with this clear guide on how to facilitate hybrid meetings with our top seven tips.
We’ll take you from start to finish on how to run a successful hybrid meeting, right through from the planning stages, to the conference room set-up to the post-meeting.
What is Meant by a Hybrid Meeting?
A hybrid meeting is a meeting where participants are both physically in the room and others are virtually present via video calls.
Hybrid meetings are common in hybrid work as you will have some co-workers who work remotely and others who regularly come into the office. Those who work remotely might live too far away to attend an in-person meeting, and so will attend virtually, hence the term a hybrid meeting.
Hybrid Meeting Advantages
The obvious advantage of hybrid meetings is the ability for anyone to attend no matter their location.
Your meetings will see an increase in participation, which can result in feelings of increased engagement from remote employees.
As virtual meetings become more common, the need to invite potential and existing clients to a meeting is lessening.
It is no longer seen as a sub-standard option if a hybrid meeting is proposed. This can be a great cost-saving technique for smaller organisations that can’t afford to hire a co-working meeting room or expensive catering costs.
Record And Replay
As most hybrid meetings will be at least on one person’s webcam, there is the option to record the meeting.
This is great for anyone who can’t make it to the scheduled time as recordings will be a lot more beneficial than trying to read someone else’s hurried notes.
Hybrid Meeting Challenges
Unfortunately, we are all very much reliant on electricity. If the internet goes down or a power cut happens, then your hybrid meeting obviously will be a failure.
However, considering how rare these events are in the UK, it’s safe to say you can schedule hybrid meetings without too much of a thought to the internet going down!
However, there do always seem to be technical issues when there are a group of laptops involved. Therefore, before a meeting starts, take time to run a check and make sure everything is working smoothly!
Harder To Concentrate
As hybrid meetings take place mainly via webcam, it is a lot easier to become distracted by your surroundings. Meaning it can be harder to keep everyone’s attention for the duration of the meeting.
This is even worse for remote attendees, people logging in from home will find it a lot easier to mentally checkout, or even worse, turn their camera off and start doing something else!
With a multinational workforce, you will probably find it difficult to find convenient times for everyone to attend a hybrid meeting.
However, there are lots of useful hybrid meeting tools that can suggest the best times or days for a hybrid meeting. Looking at everyone’s calendars, when they are in the office and when they are available for a meeting.
7 Tips For A Successful Hybrid Meeting
1. Is Your Meeting Suited To Hybrid?
Not all meeting purposes will suit a hybrid style, as there are always going to be some instances that require everyone to be physically present. Before you even start planning your meeting, double check it will be successful with a hybrid approach.
Although, most meeting purposes like collaboration, decision-making and reviews will adapt well to a hybrid style. But, when it comes to building social bonds between co-workers, then that is where in-person events shine.
2. Send Out Agenda
Planning meetings is essential for a successful collaboration. Hybrid meetings do require less planning as you will likely need less catering, a smaller venue etc., but don’t be fooled, you would be wise to spend that extra time on the agenda.
Give all participants time to prepare for the meeting by sending out the agenda a few days in advance. This is especially important if the meeting’s purpose is to make a decision. People don’t like to be caught off-guard and opinions will be better voiced if they have time to gather their thoughts beforehand.
3. Meeting Setup
Another top hybrid meeting tip is your set-up. You’ll want to review your hybrid office’s design as well to ensure your meeting space or conference room is conducive for hybrid meetings. Will remote attendees be able to see visual aids such as whiteboards or projectors?
The seating arrangement will also need to be planned in advance to avoid any blind spots.
Most important in the set-up is hybrid meeting technology. If your organisation is lucky enough to have a dedicated conference room with specialised camera systems designed for hybrid meetings then this will be easier.
For lower-budget operations, the key principle for a successful hybrid meeting is everyone to bring their own laptop to create an equal playing field for all attendees.
With laptops, everyone can turn on their own webcam so that everyone has the same view as remote participants, avoiding anyone being isolated or missing certain aspects. Of course, configuring the sound system is a must to avoid a cacophony of feedback from all the laptops!
If you have visitors attending, you will also want to make sure they have a laptop and the right log in to avoid any delays.
4. Refresh training
If you preempt there being possible issues with the hybrid meeting, why not suggest your hybrid team partakes in some training or upskilling designed to help them follow hybrid work best practices and how get the most out of meetings?
Topics like body language and tone of voice could become even more important as video calls can make it easy for misunderstandings to happen, as minute body language cues are missing.
This could involve training in how best to use your organisation’s technologies as well including how to arrange a meeting, and learning how to coordinate everyone’s schedules to find the best time for hybrid meetings.
5. No Conversations Before It Starts
An important aspect of hybrid meetings is the extra interaction that in-person attendees get over remote participants. Avoid any disadvantages by not engaging with any co-workers about the meeting’s topic before it starts.
The same goes for post-meeting etiquette, if you want to discuss something about the meeting then do it with everyone involved using your team’s messaging platform.
6. Raise A Hand
For successful hybrid meetings, there needs to be special attention paid to keep things fair for all attendees. Unfortunately, research has consistently shown that remote employees feel left out from their co-workers and the company culture in general.
Make sure that everyone gets their time to talk and voice their opinion by using a standard method to signal if someone wants to contribute.
This could be something as simple as raising a hand or using your virtual meeting technology’s chat function.
7. Be A Facilitator
As a hybrid team leader, ultimately it will be your responsibility to facilitate the hybrid meeting and ensure it is successful.
You will get out your employees what you put in; take the time to carefully plan a structured meeting with a clear purpose.
Double-check your set-up prior to the meeting paying special attention to technology. During the meeting, check that everyone gets the chance to share and speak up and keep in-person attendees focused on the task at hand by keeping their cameras on.
Hybrid meetings are here to stay and so it makes sense to spend a little time learning how to improve them.
Quality meetings that lead to productive outcomes and solutions will mean less time wasted in surplus meetings.
Graham Joyce is co-founder of DuoMe, a flexible working advocate and a frequent panellist/commentator on the issues of flexibility or hybrid working.