As more professionals return at least part of the time to offices, hybrid meetings, where some attendees are in the room and others are remote, will become the norm for quite a while. Here are six ways presenting in a hybrid meeting is different than what you did when everyone was in the room or when everyone was virtual.
You won’t be standing beside the screen in the room
In a hybrid meeting you need the video of the room to be broadcast to the remote attendees. This will be done usually by some sort of room system that has a single camera above or below the screen in the room. If you stand beside the screen, the virtual attendees won’t be able to see you on the camera. Instead, you will be sitting at the table in the room like the rest of the attendees.
Select a seat that is close to the camera
You want people to be able to see you clearly when presenting. Select a seat in the room that is close to the room camera so that remote attendees can easily see you, your gestures, and your facial expressions. People do look at the presenter’s small video even when you are sharing slides (that’s what people told me in this survey), so you want them to be able to see you on the room camera.
Think about the background when selecting a seat
Since the remote attendees will sometimes be looking at your video while you are presenting, you don’t want the background behind you to make it difficult to see you or to be distracting. Don’t select a seat in the room that has a window behind it because the light from the window may make you appear dark on camera. If the meeting room has a glass wall, decide if people passing by or other movement outside the room will be distracting on camera.
Remember to look at everyone, including the camera
When everyone was in the room, it was easy to look at each person to include them in the conversation. In a hybrid meeting, you will have to remember to include those who are not in the room by looking at the camera as well. This will take some practice as it is not something we are used to. The camera may not be obvious in some setups. If it helps, prop a picture of a person below the camera location so you remember to look at all the people.
You can’t point to the screen
Many presenters would interact with their slides by pointing to the slide on the screen in the room. In a hybrid meeting, the remote attendees won’t see the gestures because the camera doesn’t usually show the screen. Instead, use callouts on your slides or the annotation tools in PowerPoint or the meeting platform to direct the attendee’s attention to a specific spot on the slide.
Where you direct your voice will be different
In addition to looking at the camera so remote attendees see you, you also need to be aware of the location of the microphone(s) in the room. There may be one or more microphones in the room. If there is only one, you need to be aware of where it is as it may not be with the camera. You will have to remember to direct your voice to that spot as well as to the in-room attendees. With multiple microphones it is more likely that your voice will be picked up when you speak to the room in general.
The planning and equipment setup for hybrid meetings will also be different than in-room or virtual meetings. I have also written articles on how the equipment setup will be different and the planning will be different.
Dave Paradi has over twenty years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written nine books and over 100 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of less than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel and PowerPoint communities. He regularly presents highly rated sessions at national and regional conferences of financial professionals.