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What Is the Difference Between Hybrid and Virtual?

As the modern world of work continues to adopt flexible work styles, creative and comprehensive meeting solutions have become an absolute necessity. In the past, in-person meetings and conferences were the only way to approach any sort of workplace gathering. But you don’t need us to tell you a lot has changed in recent years. Although the rise of virtual meetings has provided significant advantages—like lower travel costs and less strenuous event preparation—businesses face some unique challenges when it comes to effectively presenting in a virtual environment. For example, many companies have struggled to develop a meeting strategy that accommodates workers who prefer in-person meetings alongside those who prefer to remain virtual. That’s why some organizations have decided to use a hybrid meeting model. 

So, what does it mean when a meeting is hybrid? A hybrid model allows companies to combine virtual and in-person meeting styles to create presentations that accommodate everyone’s needs. In short, hybrid meetings offer the best of both worlds, making them an essential tool to support flexible work. Hybrid events offer an extensive list of advantages like: 

  • Expansive reach and improved attendance.
  • Reduced environmental impact.
  • Less expensive travel costs.
  • Better engagement.

Problems with hybrid meetings can still arise without the right protocols and technology in place. At Alleo, we believe in setting a new standard with interactive virtual presentations and webinars. With that in mind, we’ve put together a hybrid meeting solutions guide to help you navigate this fairly new concept. 

Hybrid Meetings Best Practices

When done right, hybrid meetings are extremely engaging and productive. But without proper organization and tools, they can quickly become cumbersome and boring affairs. Here are a few best practices to consider when planning a hybrid meeting:

  1. Make the Meeting Count: Pretty much everyone can agree that less is more when it comes to meetings. In fact, a recent study found that the average American desk worker is in 25.6 meetings a week, and many are feeling burnt out. Therefore, when planning a meeting or presentation, presenters should ensure that the information being discussed is interesting and relevant to everyone who is in attendance. On a broad scale, this means companies need to focus on improving the overall quality and reducing the quantity of meetings on workers’ calendars. 

Although this advice applies to all types of meetings, it’s especially important to virtual and hybrid events. It takes a lot of planning to create a targeted and productive meeting in a hybrid setting. Not only should your agenda need to be perfectly aligned and timed, but your visuals and activities need to be engaging for both in-person and remote viewers. Here are a few tips: 

  • Identify and communicate the meeting’s purpose before the meeting begins.
  • Leave time for conversation, questions, and discussion.
  • Only invite people who absolutely need to be there.
  • Outline an achievable agenda.
  • Create visuals that are engaging and accessible for remote and in-person participants.
  • Let remote participants speak first and establish a conversation policy so everyone knows how to enter the queue.

Although this can feel overwhelming, the right tool can make all the difference when it comes to properly engaging two audiences. Alleo makes collaboration easy no matter where your audience is. Our platform combines multiple tools and workflows to create a secure space for collaboration, presentation, and whiteboarding.

  1. Make Everyone Feel Included: According to the American Psychological Association (APA), videoconferences are more exhausting when participants don’t have a sense of belonging. Developing a sense of purpose and team spirit can be especially hard for virtual participants in hybrid meetings. After conducting their study on virtual meetings, the APA developed some advice intended to help virtual workers feel more involved in meetings. Their advice includes: 
  • Hold video conferences or hybrid meetings in the early afternoon.
  • Include time for small talk before or after the meeting for in-person and virtual attendees. 
  • Establish basic meeting rules, such as whether to keep webcams on and refraining from multitasking.
  • Encourage all in attendance to take breaks by either looking away from their screens, or standing up and walking around. 
  1. Participation is Everything: A successful hybrid presentation is marked by how much the audience participates. To encourage greater participation, some organizations have adopted an active learning approach. This tactic was established by teachers to help facilitate better discussion when addressing complex topics. When taking an active learning approach, presenters should send out an agenda and other relevant materials before the meeting. This way, participants can “study” the meeting topics and come prepared with feedback and questions. This encourages more hands-on participation and often increases the productivity of the meeting overall. 

What Technology Do You Need for a Hybrid Meeting?

It’s almost impossible to conduct a successful hybrid meeting without the right tools. In this section, we’ve created a checklist to help you identify which equipment is needed for a hybrid meeting. 

Choosing the Best Equipment for Hybrid Meetings:

  • Foolproof Audio: Having great audio is critical for a hybrid meeting. Presenters need to create an audio setup that caters to the remote and in-person audiences’ needs. To avoid awkward downtime caused by poor audio, presenters need to use high-quality microphones so people in the room and at home can clearly hear what’s being said.
  • Inclusive Visuals: Stunning and effective visuals are important as well. Visuals need to be clear, engaging, and large enough for both remote and in-person audiences to see. A copy of the presentation can also be sent to the remote viewers ahead of time, making it easier for them to follow along. It’s important for the virtual audience to be able to see and interact with the presentation the same way as in-person attendees. To help with this, Alleo’s templates for hybrid workshops and presentations allow you to create a well-choreographed experience to wow all attendees. 
  • Allow Everyone to Interact: Although it may be tempting to push all remote participants into the same breakout room, it’s not the most inclusive solution. With the right tools, presenters can easily integrate virtual participants with in-person attendees so everyone gets a chance to interact. For example, our Idea Input template functions so both virtual and in-person participants can discuss and make their ideas known.

Alleo: Hybrid Meeting Technology for an Evolving Working World 

At Alleo we believe that all companies deserve access to the tools they need to create great presentations. The Alleo platform provides an engaging and secure experience that facilitates better meeting outcomes, faster decision making, maximized productivity, and so much more. With just one click, and no download, you enter a fully customizable virtual meeting room that allows you to access and share:

  • Whiteboarding tools
  • Videos
  • Sound files
  • Images
  • Screen sharing
  • Documents
  • Embeds
  • And more

With hybrid and fully-remote working models on the rise, equity of engagement and maximizing productivity is more important than ever. That’s why our virtual canvas and collaboration platform is tailor-made to serve the new world of work.

What do you think? Are you ready to say goodbye to boring meetings? Connect with us and see what Alleo can offer you today. 

Author

Darrin Brooks

Darrin Brooks

Sr. Director of Partnerships at Alleo