Many businesses are shifting from Virtual First to Hybrid with many interpretations of Flex working environments. This means work meetings where some participants may be online and others are in person.  This is a Hybrid Meeting and it requires some thought to ensure it is a productive meeting. 

What is a Hybrid Meeting?   

Hybrid meetings provide all participants (onsite and online) with the opportunity to communicate with each other and with presenters, ask questions, shape the conversation, participate in breakout sessions, chat and networking events, no matter where they tune in from. 

Typically, they include:

  • A physical and online component 
  • Equal access for all attendees 
  • A live element 

An effective Hybrid meeting combines the best elements of each type of meeting in order to deliver the most value to attendees. A hybrid meeting strategy requires mufti-channel planning in that the goal is to create a totally integrated experience. Any in-person meeting can be turned into a hybrid event.  

 Combining Virtual and In-Person Strategies for Hybrid Meetings 

 Hybrid meetings offer multiple ways of consuming content — meeting goers may have the option to attend workshops or presentations in person, online, or a combination of the two. The goal should be to provide equally rich experiences for in-person attendees and virtual attendees, without either having limitations 

 Hybrid event best practices include:  

  • Offering ways for attendees to participate and ask questions during live sessions, whether they are joining from home or attending in person 
  • Providing any materials, agendas, downloads, worksheets, or speaker handouts digitally to all attendees
  • Creating a virtual space for networking and easy access for those in-person to connect

Asking questions requires accommodating both types of attendees.  Posing questions online first, and asking by name for input, as well as utilizing the chat feature make this easier. 

 Invest in the right tools 

 There are many tools out there that you can use to host Hybrid meetings, but many of our client organizations prefer to utilize Microsoft Teams as their primary virtual meeting option. This is because there are many features already in TEAMS that make it easy for you to meet Hybrid meeting requirements.  

Sync the in-person and at-home experiences  

 Since there are more components to a hybrid meeting, overcommunicating with attendees is critical. Give them a heads up of the chosen the virtual platform, share meeting schedule and agenda ahead of time, and make sure both in-person and virtual attendees understand how to join your meeting when the time comes.   

 4 Tips For Hosting A Successful Hybrid Meeting:   

  • Offer 1-1 networking using Breakout rooms. This will give everyone a chance to randomly check-in with one of their work colleagues in a fun and fast-paced way. 
  • Consider turning on Transcripts.  
  • Record the meeting for those who are unable to attend or who might wish to go back and review. Always inform and request group permission before recording.  
  • Choose a meeting support person.  It can be overwhelming for the facilitator to manage both in person and online attendees. The meeting support person will help the facilitator mange the chat, questions and other meeting tasks.  

 All of these elements will help distant attendees feel part of the action. Plus, in-person attendees will be excited by the additional activity options, and the idea that they’re present to everyone in the "room". 

Want More Help Planning Successful Hybrid Meetings?

Consult with one of our learning solutions experts or register for our WorkingSm@rt in Meetings Workshop where we'll help you through the planning process you need to build your Meeting Strategy, including your Hybrid meetings. 

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