Hybrid events come in all shapes and sizes. What will work best for a large annual conference won’t ideally suit a new hire orientation. Today we start to look at how all types of meetings can adapt to this new hybrid model.
Working with a team spread across different locations isn’t new. Most global companies have been collaborating across geographic boundaries for years.
What COVID brought to the table, however, was further dispersion. Headquarters’ auditoriums and onsite conference rooms emptied, placing most employees on equal, remote footing. As organizations return at least some staff to building, communication strategies and tactics must be improved with an eye to equity.
After months living on laptops, technology will become just as important for in-person attendees as for those in other locations. Whether taking notes, responding to a poll or interacting with other participants, staff in the room will likely require some screen time, and conference room set-ups should reflect that need.
The need to create equitable interaction and engagement – for and between onsite and remote attendees – will be paramount. Sharing slides before the meeting enables you to shift focus from the presentation to participant videos, live polling, or demos while participants reference slides locally only when needed.
With video having become the norm, remember that it applies to onsite as well as remote staff. Remote presenters being fed into a conference room will benefit from reciprocity – with a live feed of the conference room attendees helping foster collaboration and keeping all locations connected to their teammates. But consider switching periodically to avoid video fatigue. Depending on the agenda you can move to a project management board, slide deck or collaborative whiteboard.
It goes without saying that if people can’t see and hear each other and the content not much will be accomplished. Make sure to have someone on hand dedicated to monitoring audio, visuals and content, letting your team leads focus on the work rather than the technology. (Intellor Event Producers cover these responsibilities all day, every day.)
If the meeting topic and format is right, considering encouraging everyone to speak freely. Using the push-to-talk feature available in most conferencing applications – which keeps lines muted until engaged – can foster collaboration.
Record the meeting and have it available in your team space shortly after you adjourn. This is not only beneficial for those who were unable to attend but provides clear documentation of what was accomplished or what decisions were made.
Consider your team and how best to engage them and try to pair visuals or collaboration tools with agenda items. With just a little extra planning, internal meetings can be flourishing spaces for all employees, regardless of whether they’re in the office or not.