A boardroom meeting with a large screen showing three remote employees on a conference call, symbolising hybrid meetings.
Image: © Gorodenkoff/Stock.adobe.com

How to streamline your hybrid meetings

21 Jul 2022

Hybrid working can provide the best of both worlds, but can make for challenging gatherings. Here are some tips to help you run hybrid meetings like a pro.

Over the years, we’ve shared tips on how to create solid meeting agendas and generally run them well in person.

When much of the world suddenly moved to remote work, we had to dramatically alter our meeting styles and figure out how to keep teams engaged on virtual calls.

But now that many companies have moved to a more hybrid working model, the way meetings are conducted must once again be evaluated.

In many ways, conducting hybrid meetings can be more difficult because you might have half your team in the room with others dialling in from home.

Get the tech right

There are several technology tools that employers can bring into the meeting room to make communication more seamless, such as AI cameras and satellite microphones.

At the very least, your main meeting room should have suitable audio and video capabilities so that your remote team members can be displayed and heard, and a camera and microphone should allow for them to see and hear you in return.

Be sure to test the tech you have from both within the room and from a remote location to ensure everyone can see and hear what will be happening in the meeting.

Set an inclusive agenda

A common thought that people have when it comes to meetings is ‘this could have been an email’. So, the key to any meeting is to make sure you create an agenda that is worth people’s time.

Ask yourself why you’re having the meeting. Write down a list of topics or objectives you need to cover. Decide who needs to be there and think about how you’re going to engage them, especially if they’re remote.

Once you know all of that information, think about how best to include everyone in the meeting and keep them engaged with the objectives.

Learn to moderate well

The meeting moderator is vital to ensuring it is well run, that everyone gets a chance to speak and that the objectives are addressed. As such, the meeting moderator or chair should open and close the meeting and help transition from topic to topic.

However, to ensure maximum inclusivity and engagement in meetings, the chair should also be able to handover certain agenda points to other team members so that other voices are heard.

A good moderator should also ask open questions to encourage others to jump in, express their thoughts and ask questions.

Have a remote co-chair

Ideally, the moderator should be in the room with in-person staff. Depending on the size of your meeting, it’s a good idea to ask someone to be your co-chair on the remote side of things.

One of the hardest parts of hybrid meetings is keeping track of everything at once. It can essentially feel like you’re running two meetings and trying to engage two separate audiences. This is where a remote co-chair can come in. Their job is to act as the remote audience advocate.

Not only can they see the meeting from the remote audience’s perspective, but they can also post questions and add resources to the chat, or help bring the remote audience into the conversation more. The chair should feel comfortable throwing to the co-chair when necessary.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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