This post is part of the preparation for CoCreativeFlow’s workshop “Hosting Hybrid Meetings” on 12-13 November near Frankfurt. Are you joining?
What is a hybrid meeting?
Lucid defines them as follows: “A hybrid meeting refers to the physical location of participants. In a hybrid meeting, a subset of the people attending the meeting is located together in the same place. Other participants join the meeting by conference call or web conference.”
Hybrid meetings happen frequently in international organisations and with remote teams. Even if an in-person meeting would be preferred, often not everyone is available to travel – resulting in mixed online and offline participation.
Rethinking hybrid meetings
For regular meetings in remote teams, experts often recommend that if anyone is virtual, everyone is virtual; meaning that any meeting with remote participants should be moved entirely into the virtual meeting space. This, of course, works best in an office and, while equalizing participation, also increases the perceived distance between people.
We want to explore a different approach: instead of forcing everyone onto a web conference, we know that it is possible to increase connection and engagement with mixed online and offline participation. This benefits from the energy in the room and creates community beyond physical distance.
Hosting meaningful hybrid meetings builds on expertise from virtual facilitation, remote work and in-room engagement. Check out the following resources:
Including remote participants
Nancy Settle-Murphy shares eight tips for hybrid meetings, including “Give me different ways to participate in the conversation” and “Cut out the cross-table conversation unless it’s meant for everyone”.
Judy Rees suggests an experiment in which individuals are invited to step behind a divider and try to participate in the meeting from there to increase empathy for the difficulties of online participants.
ETA: Bonnie Koenig’s tips for conducting hybrid meetings include “having designated facilitators for both the virtual and in-person attendees” and “being prepared for when things go wrong”.
Facilitating online meetings
350.org has guidelines for exciting, educational and effective online meetings, including “Test the online system ahead of time” and “Get people engaged as much as possible”.
Sli.do adds tips to facilitate and lead virtual team meetings, including “Prompt people to turn on their cameras” and “Divide the roles in advance”.
Hubstaff summarizes an overview in a handy infographic, starting with “Be prepared” and “Choose a medium”.
Collaboration Superpowers has created a set of cards to use during online meetings, including “You’re frozen”, “Slow down” and “Enough! Let’s move on”. They also have an excellent podcast on the art and science of remote work.
Specific technologies of participation online
Heather Plett shares how circle can work online and summarizes: “consider how the limitations might actually be creative opportunities”.
Training for Change has sorted their toolbox of training methods and indicates which ones translate to an online and hybrid context.
What else can you recommend?