This article shares one of the lessons I learned when planning and running a hybrid class reunion event in May 2022. Read the introduction and see the other lessons in this series here.
When the screen you are connected to is at a distance from you, as it often is in a meeting room when conducting a hybrid meeting, it gets harder to control what is on the screen. This is especially an issue when you want to use content that requires interaction, such as websites, documents, and spreadsheets. In a previous lesson I spoke about the issue I had during the reunion event trying to control content on the large screen and how making the cursor and content on the screen larger can help.
My new in-person presentation setup was partly driven by my desire to avoid this issue in future in-person and hybrid meetings. I now have a second screen and HDMI splitter so I have a second screen close to me that is mirrored to the large screen in the room. I can more easily control any apps on that screen because it is close and easy to see. I have a full article and video tour of my new setup so you can see what it looks like and the equipment I am using.
Applying this lesson to your meetings
Consider a second screen as part of your hybrid meeting setup
In the article I link to above I explain how I now use a portable monitor as a second screen when presenting in-person or in a hybrid situation. You can also use a second laptop as a second screen as I show in this video. Yes, this does mean carrying more equipment but I think it will be well worth it. In my first two in-person sessions I had so much better control of what the audience saw on the big screens and am convinced this is the way I will present in the future. Now I may have to buy a bigger bag to carry it all.
Present by sitting close to the screen
If you don’t choose to carry a second screen, consider your position in the room and how it could make interacting with content on the large screen easier. Instead of standing beside the screen, consider sitting at the table where you can more easily see your laptop and the big screen. It may not work with all room setups but look for ways to make the second screen easy to use.
Extend your laptop screen to the second/room screen and Share the room screen in the virtual meeting platform
Whether you use a second screen mirrored to the room screen or just have the room screen, extend your laptop screen to the second/room screen instead of using screen mirroring. Use the settings in the operating system to arrange the screens to match the room setup. Extending your laptop screen allows you to see your speaker notes and access the expert tools in Presenter View on your laptop screen while the audience sees the slides on the second/room screen. Share the second/room screen in the virtual meeting. When you want to use other content, just drag it onto the second/room screen so everyone in the room and everyone attending virtually see it.
With hybrid meetings we add the complexity of managing content on a large screen that is not always close to us or easy to interact with. In order to make the experience better for your audience in the room and those attending virtually, consider using a second screen that is close and easier to interact with.
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.