Toptal recently contacted me because they came across my page on hybrid meetings. They agree that hybrid meetings will be the norm in the future and recently published an article by Sacha Connor on hybrid meeting best practices. Sacha is one of the few people who have a lot of real-world experience participating in hybrid meetings for over ten years. She gives good advice in the article and I wanted to comment on a few of the ideas she shared.
Her identification of distance bias in hybrid meetings is real and leaders need to take this into account. Because most of us have not run many meetings with a mix of people in the room and remote, this is an area we all have to become better at. That’s why I wrote an article with three ideas that can help leaders make sure remote meeting attendees are included.
Many versions of hybrid
Sacha shares from her experience of usually being the only remote attendee in a meeting, so I found some of her advice geared to this situation only. In the future there will be many different hybrid situations with a mix of people in the room and attending virtually. Think through a number of these possible scenarios and take some time to plan each meeting because each situation will be different (this article shares 6 ways planning a hybrid meeting is different than an in-person or virtual only meeting).
Encourage the use of group chat
I agree with Sacha that in-room side conversations can make remote attendees feel excluded. As a leader, encourage the use of the meeting chat so that everyone sees the conversations that are going on around the main discussion or presentation. By including everyone it actually makes the side conversation richer and more productive.
Use software for collaboration
We will all need to become much more familiar with using software to collaborate in meetings instead of whiteboards or sticky notes in a room. While you can invest in collaboration solutions, I suggest you check out the potential of the software you already have. PowerPoint has some great collaboration possibilities and I wrote an extensive article and video on how you can set up and use PowerPoint to allow people to annotate on a screen and work on diagrams together no matter where they are located.
I’m glad Toptal let me know about Sacha’s article and I hope you can add some of my comments to her suggestions in order to improve your hybrid meetings in the future.
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 3.5 million times and liked over 14,000 times on YouTube.