With vaccinations and CDC guideline updates, we’re well on our way to the return of workplace normalcy. While this is encouraging for most, the “return to normal” can feel a bit overwhelming to others. One way to accommodate a spectrum of preferences and levels of comfortability is to host a hybrid event – where team members attend both in person and virtually. Hybrid meetings are incredibly accommodating for participants; however, they do require significantly more planning, effort and intentionality from the facilitator and meeting planner. Want to ensure you’re prepared and equipped to execute a successful hybrid event? Keep reading for tips on how to plan and host a meeting that is productive and engaging for in-person participants and virtual attendees.
Consider all attendees
Considering each attendee and their unique needs is the most challenging aspect of hosting a hybrid meeting. It’s important to take into account each participant’s environment and their corresponding experience. Not all team members will benefit from a distraction-free meeting environment or the luxury of seeing coworkers in person. Design your meeting with those insights in mind to ensure your meeting is engaging, productive, and worthwhile for all attendees.
Create an experience – for everyone
In-person meeting attendees have an inherent advantage over those tuning in virtually. They have the opportunity to interact with one another during breaks and enjoy additional event amenities such as catering and beverage services. So how can you create a thoughtful experience for virtual attendees as well? To make sure everyone is on equal footing, consider using a delivery service to send at-home participants coffee or lunch during the meeting. Or ship team members a meeting survival kit before the event with supplies to keep them engaged. If you’re not sure where to start, allow our team to help! We’ve curated a selection of hybrid meeting packages that can be shipped to remote participants and prepared day-of for in-person attendees. These a la carte meeting add-ons are a fun and easy way to delight your team and make those at a distance feel included. Simply let us know how many attendees we should plan for, and our team will handle the rest. Want to learn more about Roam’s hybrid meeting packages? Send us a message for detailed package options and pricing!
Ensure you’ve got the right technology
Technology and the virtual environment can make or break a meeting. With countless options, platforms, and services on the market, it’s important to find the solution that works best for your team and the type of meeting you’re hosting. Who and what will virtual attendees need to see? Will you be engaging in two-way conversations between virtual attendees and in-person participants? Or will a series of speakers be presenting for most of the meeting? These questions and more are pertinent to determine what equipment and technology is necessary for a seamless meeting experience. And don’t forget, room setup is just as important. The proper placement of screens, webcams and microphones is critical to ensure both in-person and virtual attendees can see, hear, and participate appropriately.
Feeling a little tech stressed and not quite sure where to start? We’re here to help when you host your hybrid meeting at Roam! During the planning process, your personal Roam Meeting Coordinator will gain a better understanding of your meeting structure and audiovisual needs. We’ll then work to ensure the room and technology is setup, tested and ready to go before your arrival. We’ll take care of the technical details and leave you to focus on what’s most important – the content of your meeting!
Give clear direction
If there are pre-meeting instructions such as how to access the virtual meeting, be sure to communicate those ahead of time so remote attendees can plan for the online meeting accordingly. To ensure all meeting attendees feel comfortable and understand the format of the event, kick off your time with ground rules and expectations. It is also important to outline collaboration tools to utilize during the hybrid format meeting. Make sure in-person meeting participants and virtual participants understand audio, the placement of webcams and any rules about “muting audio” or when and how is an appropriate forum to provide feedback and commentary.
Remember – you have the ability and opportunity to set the tone for your meeting. It’s okay to make light of technical issues, like the fact that the screen froze again, the Wi-Fi went out or multiple people started talking at the same time. Set attendees at ease by embracing imperfections and having fun. Incorporating pre- and post- meeting icebreakers or activities is a great way to make the meeting more approachable and inclusive. If you’re in need of ideas for how to execute or host hybrid team bonding activities or icebreakers, be sure to ask your Roam Meeting Coordinator. From virtual cocktail making classes to meeting survival kits, we have a few tricks up our sleeve to engage your attendees and add an element of fun!
While it may require a little extra time and thought, hybrid meetings are a great solution for gathering your team both virtually and in person. To book a meeting room or to learn about Roam’s hybrid meeting experience, send us a message or visit us at meetatroam.com/meeting-space.