The way we work has evolved but so too has the way we meet with colleagues or clients.
A huge percentage of businesses have moved to agile working. People working from home at some point during the week has become the “new normal”. On any given day, some people will be in the office whilst others will be working from home. This has given rise to the hybrid meeting meaning some people are physically in the room and others are dialled in from a remote location.
During the height of the pandemic, we all became adept at the virtual meeting. We got used to appearing on camera, remembering to mute/ unmute at the appropriate time, share content on our screens and share a joke when pets or children appeared in the background by accident. We are now adapting to the hybrid meeting and this is a new challenge for businesses.
The key to running an effective hybrid meeting is to ensure that those who are dialled in are not forgotten about and are encouraged to get actively involved in the meeting.
It’s not uncommon for hybrid meetings to involve the people in the room chatting happily while waiting for the meeting to begin, while those on screen sit there politely, on mute. A simple solution is for the meeting chairperson to address those on screen, say hello and welcome them while waiting for the meeting to start. This creates a better dynamic from the outset and gives those on screen an opportunity to engage with the attendees who are in the room.
Sound quality is another common issue with hybrid meetings. If the meeting involves a boardroom with physical attendees sitting around a table, make sure that there are clear microphones and speakers in the room so everyone can hear/be heard.
Often, the built-in mic and speakers in a laptop are not good enough and dialling the remote attendees in via a phone on loudspeaker often provides better audio quality, otherwise, remote attendees may struggle to hear what people are saying around the table.
If there are lots of remote attendees, it’s best to have a big enough screen in the room so that all remote attendees can be seen at the same time. Finally, make sure the camera in the meeting room has a wide-angle lens so that remote attendees can see the face of everyone around the room. Making small changes like those described above can make hybrid meetings much more effective and helps to ensure that everyone in the meeting, whether remote or in the room, is engaged.