The word “meetings” has taken a new meaning in 2020; this is the year in which we all learned how to conduct virtual meetings successfully. But as the world starts returning back to normality, it is clear that the new work model won’t be the same – it will be a hybrid one. Now you don’t have to take my word for it — I’ve stats to prove it. According to an Institute of Directors study, 63% of businesses will now shift towards hybrid working.
As more and more businesses adopt the hybrid way of working, with that comes new challenges. And one of the critical challenges is how to conduct hybrid meetings effectively. Conducting business through hybrid meetings can be daunting – especially if you haven’t figured out how to do them correctly. To help you feel more prepared for your next hybrid meeting, given below are seven tips – that you can implement to make these meetings seamless and inclusive.
Have a Clear Agenda, Communicate It in Advance and Stick to It
Letting everyone know in advance the meeting agenda is going to make your hybrid meetings more productive. Usually, meetings slow things down, and without a clear agenda, people lose focus fast, and they just end up swirling around topics. By setting a clear objective, you can avoid this, and this way, you can assure that your hybrid meeting runs effectively and smoothly.
Even if people don’t end up sticking to the agenda exactly, it still will guide them and help them steer in a clear direction, and the clearer it is, the faster things go. And, yes, don’t just state the purpose of the meeting in the invitation; state it again verbally at the start of the meeting. This way, everyone knows what the meeting is about and where their focus should be directed.
Now, I know many people schedule a hybrid meeting only when they have a clear agenda, but very few manage it well. Most people think that managing the agenda is a simple thing, but it’s quite difficult to do well as in these meetings, some participants are present in person, and some are attending remotely. So, to avoid derailing from the agenda, the person in charge of the meeting (meeting leader) must be ready to pull the ripcord.
Remember, hybrid meetings can prove a boon or a bane to our remote existence; it depends on how you plan and use them.
Use Smart Meeting Technology Tools
We all know hybrid work is the future, and it is here to stay. But do you know a video conferencing system is the lifeline of that architecture? Since video is increasingly becoming an integral part of our daily communication, making these video conferencing tools more important than ever.
Do you know by the year 2025, 75% of the global workforce is expected to be a digital native, whose preferred communication mode is a video?
But when it comes to hybrid meetings, video is not the only thing we need to pay attention to – we need smart technology tools that make these meetings better. Though many things are essential to great meetings, it usually comes down to these four areas—converse, collate, collaborate, and comprehend when it comes to hybrid meetings. Let’s call these the 4 Cs of effective meetings. And a tool that lets you do all this can improve your hybrid meetings’ collaboration, efficiency, productivity, and communication.
In other words, just using a video conferencing tool isn’t enough; you need to make sure while making these conversations, you use smart technology, one that lets you search through specific moments and action items in these meetings. That allows you to record and transcribe these meetings automatically. Let’s create action items during these meetings, create an interactive agenda, mark important notes, etc.
Document Your Hybrid Meetings
Most people assume that if they set an agenda, everything will run according to it. But it is highly likely that during these hybrid meetings, new topics will pop up, or sometimes people will derail from the agenda, or maybe the conductor won’t be able to cover everything on their agenda. Whatever the reason, it’s crucial to document all these things – along with the clear next steps that need to be taken.
Also, you must share this document with every participant to ensure that everyone stays on the same page. And, the next time you conduct a meeting, you can reach a consensus. Without documentation, you won’t be able to tie up these loose ends and won’t be able to get good results from hybrid meetings.
Pick a Convenient Time
When scheduling any meeting, you must pick the right time. But it is especially crucial when scheduling a hybrid meeting as in these meetings; the attendees are spread all over the map. So, it would be best if you kept in mind your attendees’ time zones.
Now, I know it can be a challenge to schedule a time that works for everyone; the easiest way to do that is by holding these meetings at midday. It helps with crossing time zones.
We all know conducting great meetings is not easy; they do not just happen on their own; they are meticulously crafted, and these hybrid meetings are no exception. When planned well, hybrid meetings can make people feel aligned and connected, but they can make people feel disconnected when not planned well.
Use a Facilitator
Managing hybrid meetings is challenging. Why? Because in these meetings, most of the time, the in-person attendees try to dominate the discussion. And the people who are not in the room start to feel left out and anxious – they think that if they are not in the room, they are not allowed to participate. To avoid this from happening, you should use a facilitator.
A facilitator can not only encourage participation, but he can keep these meetings on track too. A facilitator should ensure that every voice in the meeting gets heard. People don’t have to be specifically invited to participate; however, to draw the remote participants in, the facilitator can ask questions from the remote participants to keep them engaged.
Elevate Your Hybrid Meeting Experience with Emotion AI
You probably have heard the old adage that communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal; this means more is conveyed by the nonverbal ‘clues’ than by the spoken words, and meetings are no exception. In meetings, to completely understand our attendees, we pay attention to their facial expressions, eye movements, vocal intonations, and non-verbal cues. But, when it comes to hybrid meetings, we can’t read the emotions of the hybrid attendees taking the meetings from home.
Why? Because our current technology, i.e., our video conferencing platforms aren’t capable of capturing these emotions. That’s where emotion AI can help – by building this technology in all conversations business conduct, we can understand our attendees’ emotions in the way we do in in-person meetings.
Most companies are running on meetings these days, and that’s why it is crucial to improve the meeting experience. You can’t leave any chance for misunderstanding in these meetings, no matter whether someone is attending them in person or from home. And you need to keep your attendees engaged; to ensure that you need to use emotion AI technology.
Ask for Feedback
Since you are reading this blog, we can safely assume you’re serious about upping your hybrid meeting game. With that in mind, here’s one last tip that can help you run top-notch hybrid meetings. Ask participants to share their feedback – once they are done with the meeting. Start asking remote attendees, ‘Tell me about your experience. What was the good part of the meeting? What was the worst part? Then you can ask the same question to your in-person participants. And you can use this information to improve your next hybrid meeting experience.
Also, if you know anyone in your circle who is admired for hosting top-notch hybrid meetings, don’t be afraid to ask them their secret. The more you learn about these meetings, the better you will be able to conduct them in the future.
Remember, there are good hybrid meetings and bad hybrid meetings – lots of time, we just assume that we know what a good meeting looks like. But, in reality, if we haven’t attended a good hybrid meeting, it can be hard to know the difference, and that’s where feedback can help.