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In person or online? Making the most out of hybrid meetings

Since the pandemic, a huge amount of businesses have made the decision to move to a hybrid working model permanently. Despite this transition proving beneficial for balancing work and home lives, caring responsibilities, and health, it has presented some challenges; particularly when it comes to meetings. If you’re looking to get the most out of your hybrid meetings, we have some tips and tricks to take it to the next level.

What are hybrid meetings?

Hybrid meetings are business meetings where you have some people attending in person, and some people attending remotely. Typically, these meetings take place in a conference room, with in-person attendees sitting around a table, and remote attendees connecting via either a phone system which allows for call conferencing, or an application which allows for video calls. 

Although some businesses frequently utilised hybrid meetings prior to Covid-19 (businesses which work across different time zones, or have different offices, for example), many businesses only had to get to grips with the possibilities and difficulties of hybrid meetings after it was possible to return to the office.

There are a number of benefits to hybrid meetings. Allowing people to attend remotely means that your meeting is much more accessible. You may find that hybrid meetings encourage turn-taking, as interrupting and talking over people is more difficult on audio and video calls and therefore easier to discourage. 

However, there are also drawbacks; social cues may be harder to pick up on across in-person and remote attendees, for example. Physicality can be reduced; sharing a resource or looking at physical notes can exclude remote attendees.

How to make your hybrid meeting successful

Get your meeting skills up to scratch 

A hybrid meeting does require some of the same skills, planning and execution as an in-person meeting or a remote meeting. As such, it’s worth thinking about the invite list, the goal, the roadmap, and how you plan to facilitate. 

If you often find that your meetings get a bit messy, check out our guide on how to stop people dominating business meetings. Learn how to help out your quieter attendees, keep everyone engaged and get the outcome that you want.

Invest in good software and hardware

A hybrid meeting is only as good as the application that you’re using. To encourage and facilitate good conversation, you need to be able to provide a platform that can handle a hybrid meeting. 

We recommend Microsoft Teams, as we’ve found it to be the most comprehensive and user-friendly conferencing application available. Features include the ability to record meetings, screen share, blur your background and it compiles everything from the meeting in a single location after it has finished (perfect for those who can’t attend and will need to catch up. 

To find out more about how Microsoft Teams could help your business, check out our article on how to take your meetings to the next level with Microsoft Teams.

Think about your hardware

For hardware, consider the microphones, speakers, webcams and screens that you’re using. Think about how easy it is for remote attendees to hear in-person attendees, and vice versa. Investing in webcams for your remote employees is great, but can remote attendees see the room of in-person attendees? Adding a camera which looks at your conference room can help in-person attendees feel more connected to those online, and remote attendees feel more physically present. 

If you’re looking to improve your hardware, Transcendit can help. Our IT support engineers are happy to take a look at your systems, identify where things could be improved, and recommend products that will suit your business needs. 

Test it first

There’s nothing worse than technology issues at the start of a hybrid meeting; it can bring the meeting to a grinding halt, or worse, the subject matter can start to be discussed between in-person attendees, leaving remote attendees feeling unnecessary. 

In order to keep technological disruptions to a minimum, test out your system ahead of time, remotely and in-person. Not only will this give you a good understanding of how the meeting will feel for all of your attendees, regardless of where they are, but it also allows you to find any problems and fix them. Internet connectivity, sound, image quality and application difficulties can then be addressed, before you have staff, management or customers in front of you.

Need a little extra help going hybrid? Give us a call on 0191 482 0444

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