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Hybrid Meetings Etiquette- 7 steps to keep in mind for a successful meeting

It is no secret that hybrid meetings are the need of the hour. After the pandemic, bringing all the employees to the office every day has become obsolete and traveling can be avoided by making efficient use of the technology. Employees working remotely can be active participants in hybrid meetings along with the attendees sitting hundreds of kilometers away in the office conducting the business, and presentations can be made to the clients at the other end of the globe without having to travel.

Mixing and matching work from home and office from time to time might be a permanent feature for a lot of workers and Hybrid meetings are the only connecting solution moving forward.

However, successful results can be achieved only if hybrid meetings are conducted without disturbance. But hybrid meetings are much more complex than face-to-face or virtual meetings. It’s easy to get it wrong and hard to get it right: remote participants are just one slip away from losing all the enthusiasm and status as direct participants. Just as executives learned how to run great virtual meetings over the past year, they must now learn how to run great hybrid meetings as well. Certain practices and hybrid meetings etiquette need to be adopted for conducting and facilitating truly inclusive and productive hybrid meetings.

Hybrid meetings etiquette: 7 steps for a successful meeting

As with any meeting, a hybrid meeting requires planning, preparation, and execution. Taking into account the differences and peculiarity of the digital atmosphere an extra mile needs to be covered to overcome the hiccups.

1. Preoperational Instructions

As per the requisite of the nature of the meeting a plan should be prepared on how to conduct the meeting by connecting all the participants with the attendees. An agenda is always a good place to start when structuring your meetings for maximum efficacy. Make a list of all the members and their designations and reason for participation in the meeting. Send an invitation to all the members. Knowing your attendees and participants’ technical resources should be top of the checklist, their time zone and space could give you a good start with preoperational work. Get attendance confirmation and their requirement list as well.

2. Technical Administration

Either manage it yourself or have an IT engineer onboard who could set up a system that promotes an interactive environment to ensure that everyone can participate. The main idea that has to be pursued is; what audiovisual assistance do remote participants need to feel full participation from their end? They should be able to see the faces of attendees in the room and the presentations shared. They should be given a full presence in the meeting room with a separate monitor setup. Large images prompt in-person attendees to accept remote employees as full participants and provide a constant reminder to include them in the conversation along with audible sound.

3. Share Information

Share the agenda well in advance with attendees and participants: One of the key elements of hybrid meetings is to be prepared in advance through shared information so that attendees and participants could review it and prepare their notes. During the meeting, they should be able to see shared presentations, physical documents handed out, content created during the meeting on whiteboards or flipcharts, etc.

4. Facilitator

Managing a hybrid meeting is more difficult than holding a virtual meeting. Despite having an immaculate meeting agenda and logistics, disengaged participants could be the fate of any meeting. An administrative facilitator as a moderator, presenter, or host is necessary for the hybrid meeting, who could run the show making sure that the meeting carries on smoothly with attendees and remote participants having their fair share of the meeting. They should be patient with the participants, guide them, and keep them engaged.

5. Define rules and Principles

Start by setting some ground rules and principles for meeting together in a hybrid environment. Distribute the rules before the meeting among all the members such as “Mute Cell phones and other devices”,  it applies to any meeting but for hybrid meetings, it is essential that all such devices are out of sight and mute so as not to cause any disturbance in the network signals. Also, avoid cross-talks and impromptu side conversations as they can be confusing to remote colleagues.

6. Keep more engaging activities

Like in any other meeting hybrid meeting requires the attendees and participants to be engaged and have an active presence. Keep an eye open for individuals who raise hands or unmute themselves. Have polls, quizzes, and Q&A sessions to give an opportunity to everyone to come forward. Encourage them to ask questions.

7. Test the technology in advance

The most annoying setback that destroys the momentum of a hybrid meeting is waiting to fix a glitch in the equipment or the network. Before any hybrid meeting, the last but not the least thing on the checklist should be, to test the audio-visual setup — both in-room and for the remote attendees. Schedule a test session with remote participants to have ground checks on what they will see and hear during the meeting, as well as to review any software features they’ll likely be asked to use.

Hybrid Meetings are here to stay and have become an essential part of running day-to-day organizational work by connecting in-person and remote workers in the same space. With the right planning and execution following established netiquettes, a successful hybrid meeting will be the only outcome.