As the era of the pandemic continues, businesses must continue to push forward. The hybrid meeting has become a lifesaver for companies as mandates are ever-changing. With increasing ingenuity, hybrid meetings are becoming as effective as their former counterparts.
WHAT IS A HYBRID MEETING
Hybrid meetings are meetings that have a blend of in-person and virtual attendees. In-person guests may meet in the same room or be spread through the venue in separate hotel rooms and meeting spaces. Off-site attendees are teleconferenced into the meeting where they can watch speakers and join discussions.
Hybrid meetings are an excellent option during these times because they allow guests to attend from the safety of their home if they prefer. If they desire to participate in person, there is additional space available for social distancing due to fewer on-site guests.
In part one of this series, we addressed several ways to overcome technology challenges for hybrid meetings. Part two was a deep dive into keeping attendees engaged and participating even if they are meeting off-site.
This segment is all about etiquette. Basic manners should be followed for a couple of reasons. First, when one isn’t’ thoughtful, it can interrupt or even spoil the gathering for others or yourself. One specific challenge with hybrid meetings is understanding and communicating basic etiquette. If hosts are unprepared, the meeting could be delayed or, even worse, have to cancel. For attendees, multitasking is a huge issue that should be addressed along with muting, dress codes, and more.
As the host, there are several things you need to do to ensure that everyone stays on track and feels included.
- Check your equipment before you get started. Make sure to work out all technical glitches before the meeting begins.
- Have a mic and a camera that picks up comments from the in-person attendees. Have you ever been to a virtual meeting where you can hear conversations going on, but you either can only hear one side, or it just sounds like muffled chatting? So frustrating.
- Ask questions specific to each audience. Because of delays and muting, when you would like an answer from someone remote, specify your desire.
- Make sure your microphone works for everyone.
In-person attendees should also be aware of proper etiquette. Three things they can do to help keep the meeting moving forward are; keep the chit-chat to a minimum, allow time for virtual attendees to answer questions before jumping in, and alert the host if there appear to be technical glitches. Basically, just be a good team player.
Hybrid meetings are likely new to most of your staff. It is your job to let attendees know your expectations, including common etiquette.
Use the communication trio rule to make sure your criteria are clear. Send an email to all attendees with your expectations clearly explained. Include the same instructions in your meeting packet, and include the etiquette requirements in your opening statement.
Although meeting manners are essential, you don’t have to make it dull. Add some humor to make your points memorable or include a test with prizes before you get started to add some fun to the rules.
To gain the greatest ROI with your hybrid meeting, your attendees have to pay attention. Besides the inability to retain what is taught, a distracted attendee can hold up the meeting with unnecessary questions.
Multitasking might seem like a good way for attendees to spend time while listening to speakers, but the truth is that the message is not typically appropriately absorbed when the mind is distracted.
A list of activities to avoid during a meeting might include:
- Scrolling social media
- Cleaning house
- Taking a shower
- Making a meal
Additionally, outside distractions should be minimized as much as possible. A dog continually barking, kids playing noisily, or even a TV in the background can distract everyone. Encourage attendees to think through all of these scenarios and find a quiet location to listen in.
To help keep your guests’ attention, include interactions like quizzes, conversations, and worksheets for taking notes.
DRESS THE PART
Have you seen the candid videos of people who are only dressed nice from the waist up but need to stand up and reveal sweatpants or less? Encourage team members to dress as though they were attending the meeting in person.
When a remote attendee chimes in, it’s a good idea to have them introduce themselves. Previously sent standardized name placards is one method or depending on the event, have each attendee create their own personalized name placard, giving them a chance to show their personality.
Overall, these general guidelines are standard practice for all meetings, but reminders help keep the discussion on track and keep your business moving forward. Stonewall Resort has trained staff that is knowledgeable in hybrid meeting technology and etiquette.