As some parts of the world start to see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding the novel coronavirus, organisations are planning the ‘return to normal.’ According to recent polls done by Global Workforce, 98 percent of meetings include at least one remote participant. Hence marking Hybrid events the future of the event industry! Due to COVID-19’s current effects on the workplace and its employees, many companies took a hard decision to permanently switch to a ‘remote only’ work environment. However, there are a few companies that have decided to return to their respective offices and follow all the health and safety measures. In response to bringing people together in one frame, event organisers started taking advantage of hybrid events as it provides comprehensive experience that organisations may find valuable while promoting their meetings. As meeting organisers, it is our sole responsibility to step out of our comfort zones and explore new tactics and technologies to engage and empower audiences and deliver a positive and productive hybrid meeting experience. But how to make the most out of your hybrid meetings, is that what you are wondering? Worry not! You have landed in the right place to find your answer. Before we head to that, let us first know the definition of hybrid meetings.
What are hybrid meetings?
Hybrid meetings are those in which some participants attend from a distant location while others attend from a physical place.
Connect and network with global prospects over hybrid meeting platforms. Upscale the power of networking and boost your interaction with both sides of the audience.
What is the best way to run a hybrid meeting?
Here we have gathered a few dedicated lists of practices that may be considered for running smooth, productive and inclusive hybrid meetings. Time to get started!
Make the most of asynchronous communication
If a large portion of your teams are attending the meeting from the meeting venue, it is possibly easy that your virtual audiences may feel distracted or left out during the essential conversation. Oftentimes, people find the office more indulging and interactive as compared to interactions happening online. You may prevent this friction by adopting an asynchronous mind set: everything that can be done asynchronously should be done online instead of in a meeting. Create an online presence that allows your co-workers to stay in sync and actively participate. You may prepare for your meetings using this asynchronous mode of communication so that when you do meet in a video conference, you can make the most of your time.
Gather all of the supplies you’ll need:
Make sure that you gather all the relevant information and folders before initiating such meetings. Last minute finding out has always been a disaster. It is much preferable to make copies of all relevant materials and place them in a folder that has been made specifically for this purpose. Also, often there are files which cannot be opened virtually. Try sending those files to the attendees before the event takes place, so that they can open it as soon as the event starts and there is no confusion.
Practice your presentations and put your technologies to the test:
In a hybrid event it may happen that a whole team of persons have to give a presentation. It might happen that there is a particular chronological order of people that has to be maintained as the presentation is taken ahead. In that case it’s a good idea to practise the transitions ahead of time, especially for meetings with several “handoffs” from one presenter to another. Launch your meetings platform soon before your meeting is set to begin, and invite a trusted participant or two to log in to the event to validate that the technology is working as intended.
Assign a facilitator to the meeting:
In large hybrid events, there is a lot to handle. So for an easy-going hassle free event you must assign a particular personnel who will handle all the logistics of the hybrid meeting. It’s easy for meetings to go off track and fail to achieve their goals if there isn’t a clear leader in place. Select a facilitator who is familiar with the meeting agenda and can (and is willing to) keep attendees on track.
Include pauses and ask for feedback.
Even with the most modern meetings system and infrastructure, data transmission lags can occur. Encourage speakers and other participants to take regular breaks so that others can speak out when needed. Additionally, remote attendees may be hesitant to speak out at times, so make sure to solicit their feedback throughout the meeting.
Allow for welcome time, but stay to the schedule:
A good warm up is essential for every hybrid meeting. It makes the attendees from different remote locations comfortable. It is helpful to have a few minutes at the beginning of a meeting for introductions and light banter. But don’t allow this or later chit-chat ruin your plans. It’s critical that meetings are fruitful.
Take advantage of the video conferencing system’s features:
All hybrid meeting platforms come with some mind-boggling engagement and team building resources. Try and leverage them to the full. Consider using technologies like chat for addressing sidebar questions, polls for gathering feedback, and so on if they will add value to the meeting.
Set aside time for a summary and Q&A session:
A generous hybrid meeting always welcomes feedback from its attendees. At the end of a meeting, summarising what has been discussed and leaving time for questions and replies can assist guarantee that everyone’s requirements are met. Make sure to include that part in your schedule. This can make the attendees feel that they are an equal part of the event and make them return attendees when you organise an in-person event.
Send a newsletter summary as a follow-up:
Even if you leave time at the conclusion of your meeting for a wrap-up and Q&A, write an email summarising what was discussed and requesting correction or clarification if anything was misrepresented. It helps you to keep a track of what exactly happened in the hybrid meeting. This also might be a useful resource for participants to refer to days or weeks later when the event’s specifics have become hazy. This is a source that your attendees might refer to when they attend in-person meetings.
OVER TO YOU
Hybrid meetings are the talk of the town in the times of the pandemic. Organising one such meeting is not that difficult. It is just that, you need to streamline a few resources and you are good to go. You need to check on the bandwidth of the attendees as to how comfortable they are in attending these meetings. The next step includes the resources, the platforms that you will be needing to organise a hybrid meeting. Then you need to see that you have chosen an interesting topic to keep the audience awake and engaged during the meetings. The main challenge that comes while organising such meetings is the engagement of the attendees. To ensure that your audience is fully-inculcated in your meeting, make sure you take full advantage of the tools available on various virtual platforms to keep the audience engaged. You’ll need a few effective facilitation strategies in your toolbox.
Use the above recommendations wisely, and you will organise an amazing hybrid meeting.