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 planning for a hybrid meeting is different than what you did when everyone was in the room or when everyone was virtual.
You will need to know the facility requirements
As organizations allow more people to return to the office, the protocols for each facility will be different due to the local regulations and the company policies. You will have to be aware and keep updated on requirements for masks, distancing, vaccinations, use of PPE, and any other specific requirements in each facility. You will also need to be aware of exceptions to the requirements and how to handle non-compliance. As these change over time you will need to keep updated on the current requirements.
Room availability may be limited
Facilities may not have the same meeting room availability as before. Some rooms may have been converted to work spaces to provide more distance between staff. There may be new requirements for cleaning between scheduled meetings which will reduce the number of meetings a room can be used for in a day. And with many organizations reducing their office space, there will simply be fewer rooms available.
Room capacity will be limited
Rooms will also likely have more limited capacity than in the past. It used to be that the capacity was how many people you could jam into the room. That is not likely going to be the case in the future. You will have to know the capacity of the room you have booked. You will have to decide who the priority people are to attend the meeting in person. You will need to communicate this to the attendees and let them know whether they can attend in person or not. Attending in person may not be a function of whether the person is in the office that day, it may be based on the limit of the room and whether that person should attend in the room or not. These room capacities may be centrally monitored by the meeting room systems so bringing more people into the room than allowed may result in consequences.
Room equipment will vary
The equipment in each room will be different. The room may or may not have a meeting room system. The systems may be different in terms of functions, number of cameras and microphones, and location of cameras and microphones. And the capabilities may change regularly due to system updates. I wrote an article on the equipment setup for hybrid meetings that contains more details on the differences you need to be aware of.
Decide on the meeting platform and meeting options
Depending on whether your organization offers different meeting platforms and whether there are any attendees outside the organization, you may need to decide what meeting platform to use. The different platforms offer different types of meetings which may also be a decision you need to make. Meetings offer different options, such as whether attendees are admitted automatically, what features they have available, and what options there are for accessibility assistance such as closed captioning. These features and options will change regularly so you will need to keep up with the changes and new features.
Communicate logistics to all attendees
A lot more information needs to be communicated to attendees than for in-room or virtual only presentations. You will need to let attendees know about the facility requirements, how they can attend the meeting, and what to do if they change between attending in the room or virtually. I have a template for these pre-meeting instructions that can help you create more standardized communication to hybrid meeting attendees.
The equipment setup and presenting for hybrid meetings will also be different than in-room or virtual meetings. I have also written articles on how equipment setup will be different and presenting will be different.
Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 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 fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 4.8 million times and liked over 17,000 times on YouTube.