Why Hybrid Meetings are the Way Forward

    Why Hybrid Meetings are the Way Forward

    Hybrid working has been adopted by a large number of businesses since the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, a recent survey found that 84% of the workers who had to work remotely during this time planned to take advantage of the hybrid working model. 

    Although this way of working boasts a huge number of benefits, it can make things more tricky when trying to plan meetings, both with colleagues and external clients - especially with the rise of people opting to work from offices closer to home

    However, with a little planning and the right equipment, it is possible to carry out successful hybrid meetings, which are beneficial to both those in the office, and the ones dialling in remotely.

    What is a Hybrid Meeting?

    As the name suggests, a hybrid meeting is one that takes place with a mix of both in-person and remote attendees. 

    Naturally, those physically attending the event will normally be situated in one meeting room, whilst those dialling in remotely will do so via a virtual meeting platform. 

    What are the Benefits of Hybrid Meetings?

    Hybrid meetings boast a number of benefits, both for employers and employees. Some of the main advantages include:

    By giving people the option to join a meeting remotely, it can help to reduce their carbon footprint, as they don’t need to commute for the event, which could even feed into the overall sustainability strategy for a business.

    Additionally, one of the main benefits is that meetings are easier to arrange - especially for large numbers of people. This not only ensures that the attendance rate is high, but makes it a lot more simple to get busy calendars to align.

     What Equipment is Needed for Hybrid Meetings?

    When it comes to running a successful hybrid meeting, it’s incredibly important to ensure you’ve got all of the equipment you need, including: 

    • Seating for in-person attendees 

    • High-quality video and audio equipment

    • Reliable internet connection 

    • A hosting platform, such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Zoom

    • A computer 

    • A screen for presentations 

    Depending on the agenda for the meeting, some additional equipment may be required, however, the items in the checklist above are all vital in order to ensure a hybrid meeting runs smoothly.

    How to Conduct a Hybrid Meeting

    With this new way of working comes some real learning curves. From changing your management style to suit remote workers, to implementing new processes to ensure the seamless management of both internal and external clients - there are a few tweaks that need to be made. 

    Knowing how to conduct a hybrid meeting may not come naturally to everyone. However, gone are the days when the whole team are required to be in the same place at the same time, so it’s important to adapt to this new way of working.

    With just a few process changes and the right equipment, conducting hybrid meetings can be incredibly easy. 

    Hybrid Meeting Ice Breakers

    Quite often, hybrid meetings can feel a little bit awkward at the start. This is mainly due to the fact that it’s difficult to pick up on cues, such as body language, when not everyone is physically present.

    Additionally, they also allow people to join who may not have met those attending the meeting before, such as those working in different offices or overseas clients. 

    With this in mind, it’s important to ensure everyone feels at ease so that the meeting can run as smoothly as possible. Hybrid meeting ice breakers are the ideal solution. That doesn’t mean you need to go round the group and get everyone to introduce themselves (although that can sometimes be useful), instead, fun ice breakers can help all of the team to feel a little more relaxed and ready to actively participate in the meeting. 

    Depending on the size of the meeting, it may be counterproductive to implement virtual icebreakers that require everyone to participate individually. However, there are plenty of virtual meeting software plugins that enable you to create interactive features such as polls and quizzes, or the chat function can also be used, allowing everyone to join from their laptops. 

    Some ideas for this include:

    • Would you rather 

    • Two truths and a lie

    • Word associations

    • This or that 

    • Random question of the week

    As well as helping to ease participants into the meeting, this is also a great strategy for keeping people engaged when waiting for everyone to join the call and helps to negate the need for any awkward small talk! 

    The Importance of a Good Hybrid Meeting Room Setup

    The setup of the room will greatly contribute towards the overall success of the meeting. Even with all of the correct equipment, the way it is set up is what will help to ensure all participants - both in-person and remote - are able to fully engage. 

    With this in mind, the room should be set up to help all attendees to: 

    • See the screen/presentation

    • Hear/be heard by other participants 

    • Participate in online chats/activities, such as icebreakers

    By putting thought into the setup of the hybrid meeting rooms, they will be as inclusive and collaborative as possible.

    Hybrid Meeting Etiquette

    The final point to bear in mind when hosting or attending a hybrid meeting is your etiquette. Whilst you’re able to rely on social cues and body language during in-person meetings, you may have to learn slightly different rules in order to remain courteous to your fellow colleagues. 

    Whether you’re hosting the meeting or simply participating, some hybrid meeting etiquette tips include: 

    • Try not to dominate the meeting - give others a chance to speak, or regularly pause to allow for questions if presenting 

    • If attending in-person, ensure you speak to both those in the room and virtual participants

    • Mute your microphone when not speaking to avoid distracting background noise

    • Only share your screen when necessary to allow virtual attendees to view the room

    • Don’t forget about those joining virtually and try to get them to actively participate

    • Define how people should join in, for example, by using a hand-raise function 

    • If hosting, familiarise yourself with the equipment and room setup prior to the meeting

    • Circulate notes after to ensure nothing was missed by those attending virtually

    By following a few simple steps, you can ensure that your hybrid meetings run smoothly and that all participants feel engaged.

    Whether you’re hosting regular hybrid meetings, or simply need to arrange a one-off conference - the meeting rooms at Bruntwood have everything you need. 

    From HD wireless presentation screens, to superfast Wi-Fi, each meeting room is equipped with all of the must-have technology to make your next meeting a success. Get in touch with us to discuss your requirements and book a meeting room at your desired location today!

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