Use a phone as a participant to broadcast the room to others in a hybrid meeting

If the meeting room you have booked does not have a room system that connects to the virtual meeting platform, one option you have to share the room audio and video with the remote participants in a hybrid meeting is to use a phone as a participant in the meeting.

Set up a phone on a tripod at one end of the room (here’s the tripod I recommend: https://amzn.to/3i7jG1b). It is likely easiest if you face the phone screen towards the room and use the front camera. This allows you to more easily operate the phone and see what the meeting attendees see. You can use the camera app on the phone to check and adjust the position so the phone captures the full room.

Since broadcasting video is more battery intensive, make sure the phone is fully charged or plug it in to a charger. Video can also use a lot of data so make sure you are connected to the facility wi-fi and not using your cellular data.

Use the meeting link to join the meeting on the phone as a guest. Meeting platforms can get confused if you join the same meeting from two different devices so make sure you are not logged in using the ID you are using to connect to the meeting from your laptop. It is best to join using the meeting app instead of through a web browser so make sure you have downloaded the app in advance. Set the name in the meeting to be “Meeting Room” or a similar name so it is clear to all what this connection is.

When connected, turn on the sharing of video from the front camera and turn on the microphone. Turn off the video and microphones of all other devices in the room because it will cause voices to be picked up twice if more than one microphone is on. Check that remote attendees can hear the people in the room and see them.

To hear the remote attendees, use the phone’s speakers so that there is no feedback created from another device broadcasting the sound and it being picked up by the microphone on the phone. If the phone is not loud enough, you can connect speakers to the phone either by wire or via Bluetooth connection.

During the meeting, the only video or audio being transmitted from the room should be from the phone. All other participants should have their webcams and microphones turned off. As the meeting organizer you should spotlight the video from the phone when you want the remote attendees to see the meeting room large on their screens.

If there is a large screen in the room, connect to it as usual and share content through that screen and show the videos to the people in the room using that screen. If there is no large screen in the room each person will have to view the video of the meeting on their own device.

When people in the room are speaking, they should be aware of the location of the phone so they can include looking at the phone camera when speaking. This will make the remote attendees feel more a part of the meeting.

When the meeting is done, make sure to leave the meeting on the phone instead of just closing the meeting platform app. This ensures the connection is closed and the phone won’t stay connected to the meeting.

You can also use an iPad instead of a phone to transmit the room audio and video. If you do so, make sure you have a secure way to hold the iPad, especially if you are putting it on a tripod. I’ve shown how to create a simple iPad holder from cardboard and I recommend an iPad holder for tripods that I use. iPad cameras tend to be lower resolution than the cameras in phones but their larger screen is easier to see and use.

By Dave Paradi

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 1.2 million times and liked over 12,000 times on YouTube.