Hybrid work is the future of businesses and there is no denying that. Nine out of ten executives envision a hybrid model going forward as this model caters to both parties – in-person and virtual attendees.
But, these meetings are hard to pull off — Managing in-person and virtual attendees, coordinating with different teams, setting up different equipment, and much more. In such a complicated environment, the attendees’ engagement takes a back seat, defeating the whole purpose of the meeting.
But, with a strategic plan and hybrid meeting best practices, you pull these meetings off with flying colors.
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What is a hybrid meeting?
A hybrid meeting is a mix of in-person and virtual attendees. The in-person attendees join the meeting at the chosen venue, while virtual attendees join through virtual or hybrid meeting solutions such as Nunify, Microsoft teams, Zoom or Google Hangouts.
Any meeting, be it a team meeting, online demo, town hall, product onboarding, association member meeting, or board meeting, can be hybrid if the attendees join in person and virtually.
Hybrid meeting best practices for hosts
As a host, the spotlight is on you. Ensure that you are delivering an interactive experience for all the attendees.
1. Communicate the meeting agenda beforehand
Always share the meeting’s agenda beforehand to ensure that attendees don’t feel confused or scratch their heads when you start talking. Doing so will also help people to decide if their presence is required. Mention in the agenda if you need necessary stakeholders such as team leaders, CMO, or Product managers in the meeting.
“One common mistake I have encountered is not properly setting expectations with the virtual audience. It’s essential to communicate logistical details such as time zones, dress code, and technical requirements beforehand so that attendees feel prepared to participate fully in the event.”
Will Yang, Head of Growth at Instrumentl
A meeting agenda should clarify the following:
✅ Brief points you’ll discuss in the meeting
✅ Dress code (if any)
✅ Guidelines to maintain decorum during the session
✅ Any other relevant details for smooth delivery of the meeting.
2. Practice presentation before camera
Unlike in-person meetings, a hybrid meeting involves presenting to two different audiences – ones who’re physically present and others who join remotely. Hence, delivering an engaging meeting cannot be easy. Here are some tips you can use to practice your presentation skills:
- Talk in a way that’s also catered to a virtual audience.
- Ensure your body language aligns with your verbal communication.
- Learn and use hand gestures to deliver your message with more impact.
- Welcome and quickly brief the attendees about the meeting’s agenda.
3. Test all the hybrid meeting equipment beforehand
A technical glitch can kill the focus and momentum in seconds. Ensure every piece of equipment is in working condition.
- Check the connectivity: Wi-fi, cables, LAN.
For a glitch free demonstration use a reliable high-speed internet connection that doesn’t interrupt the meeting flow. Besides, ensure that all the cables of Wi-fi broadband are well-connected.
- Don’t compromise on the audio-visual quality
Test the audio-visual setup — both in-room and for the remote participants. One way you can do this is through a 10-15 minute test run to see how and what remote attendees will hear and see during the meeting. You can ask someone in your team to join the meeting through your chosen hybrid event platform and check the visual and audio quality. This mini-test run will be worth it as virtual attendees will have a good experience through high audio and video quality of your presentation.
4. Work with a meeting facilitator
Appoint a colleague as the meeting facilitator to ensure you deliver your message to both parties without any feeling of disconnectedness or isolation.
The facilitator should maintain the interaction between both parties. Some way a facilitators can help:
- Engage remote participants in the conversation.
- Ensure everyone’s points are heard.
- Create adequate opportunities for more attendees to interact.
5. Keep your presentation engaging to both the attendees
A report by Markletic suggests that keeping participants engaged is one of the biggest challenges faced by 71.1% of meeting organizers.
No doubt, you shouldn’t make the mistake of focusing entirely on a single audience because that would be disastrous for the hybrid meeting. To avoid such hybrid meeting mistakes, follow these amazing tips:
✅ Use interactive elements such as polls, Q&A, puzzles, etc
For the visual audience, share gamified elements such as polls, puzzles, photo contests, and video content to keep them pumped throughout the session. For in-person audiences, plan a scavenger hunt simultaneously.
“We incorporate gamification elements to keep the audience engaged and incentivize participation. For example, we have virtual attendees compete in a trivia game during the event for prizes.
Additionally, we ensure speakers and panelists who are dynamic and can capture the attention of both the in-person and virtual audience.”
Thomas Simon, Marketing Manager from Monitask
✅ Create small groups, kiosks, and breakout rooms to let both attendees interact.
Divide in-person attendees into smaller groups and give them prompts to discuss with each other. For remote attendees, some event marketing platforms offer breakout rooms that work the same as small in-person groups. Leverage them by hosting a short Q&A or collecting feedback on meetings. As this is a more personal space, attendees will be more inclined to engage with others.
6. Create an in-person environment for the virtual attendees
Virtual attendees feel left out more than people who are physically in the meeting. So, focus more on creating the best experience for them. Nunify’s Hybrid meeting solution helps you do just that in the following manner:
- Broadcast high-quality, glitch-free live stream from the meeting venue using Real Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP).
- Live at-venue projections to get remote attendees on-screen, making them feel a part of the in-person meeting.
Hybrid meeting best practices for the attendees
As an attendee, you can also contribute to a successful hybrid meeting by following the right practices.
1. Limit your fidgeting
Fidgeting can show your disinterest in the meeting, which can be a turn-off for the other attendees. This doesn’t reflect well on you, so avoid fidgeting. Remove equipment that can lead to such a situation, such as your mobile phone, stationery items, magazines, or kitchen equipment.
2. Keep yourself on mute when you’re not speaking
It’s one of the best practices to keep yourself on mute if you’re not contributing to the conversation, as it helps reduce the background noise. By doing so, the attendees’ focus remains on the people speaking, leading to much clearer transfer of message throughout the meeting.
3. Ensure your internet connection is speedy
Have steady internet connectivity to ensure you don’t miss anything during the meeting due to connectivity glitches. It would also help during the QnA because a steady internet ensures your voice is audible to the person you are talking to.
4. Use a custom video background
If your background is not clean or if you are in a remote location, it would be best to use a custom background offered by Zoom, Google Meet or Nunify. A clean background prevents other attendees from getting distracted from the meeting.