9 Tips for Hosting a Hybrid Meeting

22 April, 2020

Hybrid meetings—those in which there are attendees in different physical locations—have always been an option for meeting hosts who want to ensure that all stakeholders are able to receive information and provide input. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the new focus on social distancing and remote work, the use of virtual meetings has skyrocketed.

In particular, video conferencing platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, Google Meet, and Webex have enabled participants to stay connected even when they can’t get together. But while these tools are highly intuitive and easy to use, having a successful hybrid meeting involves more than just sending out invitations and having attendees click the link at the scheduled time. Getting the most out of your hybrid gathering requires thoughtful planning and careful execution.

Key Considerations for Hybrid Meetings

In planning for and executing your hybrid meeting, do the following:

  1. Set and communicate your goals. When sending out your invitations, saying, “Let’s get together to discuss the product launch.” may give attendees a general sense of what the meeting is about, but that vague description isn’t particularly helpful. Instead, provide an agenda with a very specific list of objectives (1. Progress update from development. 2. Choose launch date. 3. Select marketing theme. Etc.).
  2. Gather all necessary resources. Too often, meeting presenters think, “I know where that document is on the network. I’ll pull it up when it’s my turn to talk.” Then, when the time comes, they’re shocked to find that someone has deleted or moved the item and the mad scramble to find it begins! It’s much better to make copies of all the necessary materials and put them in a folder created specifically for the meeting. And for items that may be hard to see online, be sure to send copies to attendees so they can open them locally.
  3. Rehearse presentations and test technology. Especially for meetings with multiple “handoffs” from one presenter to another, it’s a good idea to practice these transitions in advance. And just before your meeting is scheduled to begin, launch your meetings platform and ask a trusted attendee or two to log in to the event to confirm that the technology is functioning as expected.
  4. Have a designated facilitator. Without a clear leader, it’s easy for meetings to meander and fail to accomplish their objectives. Choose a facilitator who understands the meeting agenda and knows how to (and is willing to) keep attendees on task.
  5. Incorporate pauses and encourage input. Lags in data transmission can occur even with the most advanced meetings system and infrastructure. Encourage presenters and other participants to pause frequently so that others can contribute as appropriate. Also, remote attendees may be reluctant to chime in at times, so be sure to ask for their input throughout the meeting.
  6. Factor in greeting time, but then stick to the agenda. It’s nice to have a few minutes at the start of a meeting for introductions and casual conversation. However, don’t let this or later chatter derail your agenda. It’s important that meetings are productive.
  7. Leverage the video conferencing system’s tools. If your platform has tools like chat for answering sidebar questions, polls for gauging opinion, etc., consider using them if they will add value to your meeting.
  8. Schedule time for a summary and Q&A. Summing up what’s been discussed and allowing for questions and answers at the end of a meeting can help ensure that the gathering meets everyone’s needs. Be sure that you include that segment on your agenda.
  9. Follow-up with a meeting recap. Even if you include time for a wrap-up and Q&A at the end of your meeting, be sure to send an email summarizing what was discussed and asking for correction or clarification if anything was misstated. This can be a valuable resource for attendees to come back to days or weeks later when the details of the event have gotten a little fuzzy.

In-Person Meetings Are Ideal, But...

Nothing beats in-person meetings when it comes to everything from productivity to consensus building to team bonding. But when that type of gathering is impractical or impossible, a hybrid meeting can certainly be effective. The key is knowing how to prepare for and run these events.

Mazévo can help you manage the rooms and resources needed for hybrid meetings. Contact us today to learn more and schedule an informative live online demo.

Dean Evans

Dean Evans is the Founder and CEO of Mazévo. Check out his articles about event scheduling software.