According to a recent survey by McKinsey, 90% of organizations will incorporate a hybrid work model as we ease into the “new normal.” With this in mind, it’s likely that meetings will follow suit and also adopt a hybrid format to accommodate remote workers.
Hybrid meetings themselves are not new—even pre-pandemic, it was common to have all-staff meetings with teams tuning in from around the world. So how can we ensure that all-staff hybrid meetings run smoothly and productively heading into this new phase?
Let’s look at a few best practices!
1. Make everyone feel included during hybrid meetings
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, puts it best: “We want to ensure those joining remotely are always first-class participants.”
Making sure ALL your employees feel included in meetings, even if they’re joining virtually, is paramount. That means giving all your staff equal opportunities to contribute and make their voices heard.
According to Owl Labs, one of the biggest challenges for remote workers during hybrid meetings is “being constantly interrupted or talked over.” To fix this, allow multiple opportunities for verbal communication.
If you’re running the meeting, consider giving remote participants the first chance to speak when going around the “room.” However, be mindful of the introverts and extroverts of your team and ensure everyone feels comfortable. You shouldn’t pressure anyone to speak, but by giving everyone a chance to do so, you’re making equal space for participation. (And keep in mind that women and people of colour are less likely to speak up—because they are often ignored or spoken over—in workplace settings.)
Also, rotate meeting hosts and give your remote participants a chance to host, too! Giving remote participants the option to lead a meeting ensures they and other virtual attendees will always be given equal, undivided attention.
2. Communicate your meeting agenda in advance
Another way to ensure your all-staff hybrid meetings are productive is to clearly communicate the meeting agenda in advance. Let’s face it, we would all rather have time to prepare our discussion points in advance rather than being forced to speak on the spot, especially in a hybrid setting.
Keep things running efficiently by communicating a clear agenda ahead of time. Notify staff of upcoming meetings using a channel that is accessible to everyone no matter where they are, such as your intranet.
3. Ensure all your technology runs smoothly
Technical difficulties, from volume trouble to internet connectivity, are a common issue in meetings, particularly in ones involving virtual participants. But there’s no reason to let minor tech troubles derail your meetings!
Take some time to prepare a sturdy, seamless setup that is hybrid-meeting ready. Make sure your meeting room is equipped with high-quality microphones, so remote participants can easily hear everyone.
The good news is that in the last year, teleconferencing tools have advanced to account for the global shift to remote work. Zoom’s Smart Gallery (on track for completion this year) utilizes AI technology to detect individual faces in a shared room and pull them into “panes on the screen,” so remote participants can see them in the gallery view.
Similarly, the Harvard Business Review notes that Microsoft is developing new “meeting room” tech optimized for the hybrid experience. Regardless of what your go-to tech tools are, check for any upgrades that will help make your meetings run seamlessly every time.
Related reading: Here are five signs you should invest in internal comms software
As the pandemic ebbs and we resume in-person office interactions, hybrid meetings will become the new norm for organizations. By leveraging technology and strong internal communications best practices, your employees will feel welcome, valued, and eager to participate, no matter where their workspace may be.
Once you have your productive, engaging, and inclusive hybrid meetings down pat, it’s time to tackle the rest of your employee communication. Our own internal comms software helps you organize your communication efforts, engage your employees, and track your results, creating a better workplace experience for everyone.
Take a free demo today!