Many business owners have concerns about the standards and impact of their hybrid meetings. Meanwhile, they are breathing a palpable sense of relief that they are able to bring their teams back to the office. Whilst most of us have adapted well to remote working, and some firms have switched to it entirely, plenty have missed the creativity engendered when their team works together in person.
The reality though is that people no longer want to come to the office five days a week. So hybrid working is here and, for many firms, it’s here to stay. There are numerous benefits to this approach and employers are often keen to embrace it BUT …
Hybrid meetings are the elephant in the room
Most of us have experienced the dreaded ‘hybrid meeting’ by now and will be familiar with the issues:
- Remote attendees being disengaged, appearing lethargic or, the ultimate faux pas, switching off their camera.
- Meetings being delayed by technical glitches or connection problems.
- Attendees leaving the meeting with differing views of what was discussed and agreed.
The more important the meeting, the greater these problems will become. For businesses who have to run important strategic and board meetings hybrid, these issues can negatively impact their image or ultimately stunt their growth.
Aside from these points, one of the greatest issues of hybrid meetings is the feeling of inequity between those attending remotely and those in the meeting room. You may have found this – where people around the meeting table are engaged in a conversation and those on the TV screen cannot get a word in.
This disconnect is compounded further by the fact that anyone watching a meeting on a computer screen misses out on the behavioural, social and visual cues that you only have with an in-person conversation. Of course, this is a disadvantage of any virtual meeting and a reason why many people are so keen to get back to ‘in person’ business. But when some attendees have access to these ‘cues’ and others don’t, the chances of you having an awesome meeting are pretty slim.
How to transform your hybrid meetings
The obvious solution to the problem is planning your meetings carefully to avoid hybrid virtual horrors. But where this is not possible here are some actions you can take to improve things:
- Invest in technology: Tech absolutely cannot replace the in-person experience – or even get that close to it. However, what is also true is that the less you invest in technology to run your meetings, the worse the experience for those working remotely will be. And remember this is not just the equipment in your meeting rooms – the set-up for the remote workers is equally important.
- Meeting preparation: Preparing for a hybrid meeting is critical to its success. Check that you have a good organiser who can ensure all attendees are prepared both from a content and technology perspective. You should make sure your rules of engagement for the meeting are understood prior to the meeting as well.
- Facilitation: During the virtual meeting the facilitator needs more skills than someone running a traditional meeting. Ensure they have been trained, have experience of hybrid meetings and understand the goals.
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