What is a hybrid team meeting, event, or seminar without technology? In a hybrid event, attendees from two or more sites are connected through virtual meeting platforms. The difference between a virtual and hybrid meeting is that in a hybrid meeting, some attendees are together in larger groups, usually in the office, an auditorium, or a meeting room. This means instead of each person joining the conversation from an individual device, in-person attendees can join using one audio or video feed.
When multiple locations of a business jump on a conference call, or the remote development team does a meeting with the leadership who are in the office–that is a hybrid meeting. When a lot of interested people log on to hear the livestream of a keynote speaker–that is a hybrid meeting too! It wouldn’t be possible without technology.
But the clumsy solutions of the past don’t have to remain the status quo. Advances in hybrid presentation and workshop technology allow groups to share ideas, work in collaboration, and connect socially across great distances, just like if they were in the same room. We’ll start with the bare minimum technology needed and work our way up to the cutting edge of hybrid meeting solutions on the market.
What Technology Is Needed for a Hybrid Meeting?
Hybrid meetings and events connect attendees through visual and audio livestreams. This means to achieve a hybrid event, the bare minimum needed is two internet-connected devices with speakers and cameras. These could be a smartphone, tablet, or computer, one for each individual or group of attendees. For groups that will be logging into the meeting from one place, a single camera or speaker set up in a room can deliver the main presentation and capture everyone’s input.
However, every meeting is different. If there will be highly interactive elements of a hybrid meeting, you might want each attendee to have access to their own device with their video and sound turned off, so they can participate while still being pictured and heard on the group feed. This is just one example of how each meeting has a unique setup.
In addition to the hardware that serves your logistical needs, you will also use a virtual meeting software. Solutions like Google Meet or Zoom are free for entry users, but their security, reliability, and functionality are basic at best. Assuming you need to run a professional-grade hybrid meeting that leads to motivation and action among attendees, here is a hybrid meeting checklist that covers the equipment needed for hybrid meeting, hybrid meeting room setup, meeting enablement technology and beyond. The list is not comprehensive, but should get you off to a great start, or make you think of new needs you might have missed in previous events.
Checklist: What Is Needed For a Hybrid Meeting?
Part 1: What Equipment Do You Need for Hybrid Meetings?
- Video conferencing and streaming platform
- Cameras for remote and on-site participants
- Speakers and microphones for remote and on-site participants
- Display screen for meeting room so remote participants can be seen by all
- A dedicated internet line gives the host’s device maximum reliability and security
Part 2: How Do You Set Up a Hybrid Meeting?
- Ensure all attendees have the link and credentials/permissions to login to the conference platform
- Test the angle and scope of on-site cameras to make sure the view is adequate
- Test microphone and speaker quality at the meeting location to ensure all can hear and be heard
- Offer to troubleshoot or answer questions with remote attendees in advance as needed
- Plan the agenda a few days in advance and send it along with a meeting reminder
Part 3: How Do You Run a Hybrid Meeting?
- Allow a few minutes at the top of the agenda for all attendees to connect and activate or mute audio/video as needed
- Conduct icebreaker activities or a quick poll to get all attendees engaged and present
- Review the agenda and allow relevant parties to address each item
- Leverage chat and other notifications functions to track who gets to speak next and encourage commentary
- Take notes, review files, and collaborate on solutions in a shared space that can be re-accessed at any time
This checklist encompasses a lot of the technology you’ll need before, during, and after the meeting. These might also be areas you want to improve if you’ve already been doing hybrid meetings but want to know how they could go better.
What Makes a Great Hybrid Meeting?
Hybrid event technology is the cornerstone of a great experience for attendees and contributors. That’s because of the outcomes that can be achieved through the best hybrid meeting technology. Here are just a few of the characteristics that define a great hybrid meeting–and how tech makes them possible.
- All Attendees are Equally Included: It’s important to do whatever possible to deliver the same opportunities for contribution and engagement to the remote and on-site attendees. When the video conferencing platform also delivers a collaborative real-time workspace, everyone’s focus in the meeting will be on the shared space where the work is being done. Using hybrid event technology to streamline the process for taking questions and sharing ideas allows conversations to move at the speed of thought, even across great distances.
- Real-Time Visibility for All: Part of inclusion is when everyone is able to track the meeting, hear what is being said, see and perhaps add to the notes, and generally understand the discussion enough to add to it. A video conferencing platform must be secure and stable to provide this environment even for large groups. This allows information to be compiled and shared from multiple sources in one central location for a single source of truth before, during, and after the meeting.
- Excellent Moderation and Clear Takeaways: The moderator of a meeting is not necessarily the main presenter or presenters. Instead the moderator keeps the meeting on track, calls on people who have raised their hands or asked questions, draws in discussion points from the chat, and so on. Having someone manage the conversation minimizes interruptions and tangents, and makes engaging people the responsibility of someone in the room. The moderator and presenters can work together to summarize clear key takeaways, as well as action items for anyone in the conversation. When the video conferencing platform doubles as a file and information-sharing hub, it minimizes questions about where to get information and what needs to happen next.
These are just some of the hybrid meetings best practices which continue to emerge as these events become more common. Whether you’re hosting a virtual conference, reunion, or weekly staff meeting, these tips can work for you in any hybrid setting. Make sure all attendees can say their piece, follow the conversation, and are invited into the discussion and its outcomes. That is the path to a great hybrid meeting.
How Do You Make Hybrid Meetings Inclusive?
Let’s put a finer point on what an inclusive hybrid meeting looks like and ways it can be achieved through technology. Inclusion starts with making people feel welcome and continues as their input is heard and valued. While every meeting might have these goals at heart, hybrid meeting technology makes them easier to achieve in practice. How? At Alleo, all our work is focused on making virtual and hybrid collaboration more impactful and productive for teams across sectors. We’ll share templates we’ve already created in our hybrid meeting platform to represent inclusive hybrid meetings in action.
- Wall Of Praise: One way to make a hybrid meeting inclusive is set aside time at the beginning to talk about recent wins, successes, achievements, or things you like. This could be praise for a project, community, institution, or individual. Speaking the praise aloud as well as putting it in writing through the video side of the platform makes the engagement more concrete.
- Choice Exercise: Another great way to be inclusive and drive engagement at the start of a hybrid event is through a choice exercise. Ask people to choose between two options, such as cats or dogs, sweet or savory snacks, vacation or staycation–you get the idea. This is a way to get people talking in the chat as well as they want to explain why they choose their responses.
- Idea Input Meeting: When you’re having a meeting to brainstorm ideas and rank them to form a plan, everyone in the conversation will be having thoughts at the same time. A format like the Ideas Input Meeting allows people to write down their ideas in a shared space. They can continue refining their ideas as they listen to others, and even help take notes. A built-in ranking system lets all parties share their perspective on which ideas are the best to move forward with.
- Design Critique: Throughout the course of a long-term project it’s important to keep records, compare versions, and keep everyone focused on the core audience being targeted, Documenting in one place which stakeholders and contributors can return to advances inclusion and keeps everyone more organized. When this filesharing is part of your video conferencing platform, it makes working meetings much easier as well.
- Rose Reflection Activity: Inclusion requires listening to the goals, anxieties, and challenges of all people in the room. Set aside time to discuss accomplishments, highlights, hopes for after a project or event, and the low points and challenges. Whether it’s the end of a project, a monthly check-in with an employee, or the end of a virtual seminar, this is a way to help attendees explore their own perspective and share it with others.
Making hybrid meetings inclusive takes intention and mindfulness. Don’t forget that technology is available as a resource to make inclusion part of the process, and maybe even the part of the event everyone looks forward to most.
Alleo: Technology for Hybrid Meetings, Technology For Hybrid Life
Alleo is a platform specifically-crafted to deliver the functionality, security, and reliability you need at your back to achieve the best hybrid event and meeting experiences. We deliver a platform that works with you to deliberately enable collaboration and inclusion.
Yes, you’re already doing an awesome job stringing a few solutions together to achieve your goals and vision. But imagine what you could do if your video conferencing platform was a more versatile tool?
If you can’t picture it–we’re here to help! Watch a short video to get a better idea, then schedule a demo to chat with us about how the new way of working could work for you.