One thing that became very clear during the pandemic was how effective meetings were, or not. Prior to the pandemic it was estimated that a leader would spend upwards of 40% of their time in meetings. During the pandemic this number increased exponentially, with many manager’s days feeling like an endless blur of one zoom meeting after another.

As things move into a hybrid workspace, what are the factors to keep in mind in terms of making hybrid meetings work?

First, consider what hybrid meetings are going to look like. Are you going to revert back to having multiple people huddled around in a meeting room, with those calling in remotely a second thought, OR are you going to reinvent what meetings can look like in a hybrid world?  There are several options:

  1. Moving everyone into a virtual space so that each person has equal voice and presence.
  2. Reducing live meetings in favor of asynchronous ones.
  3. Placing an emphasis on moving to regular meetings in person on a regular basis (where feasible).

Key to making meetings and communication work, is making it consistent while ensuring that we can be as inclusive in bringing all voices into the room.

Second, what is the purpose of the meeting? Clarity around your meeting purpose is essential so you know who needs to be at the table, and what pre-work needs to be completed.

Be sure to check out the 8 Essential Virtual Meeting Questions I shared in my book, Effective Virtual Conversations, as you prepare. These are:

  1. What’s the purpose?
  2. What takeaways do we want?
  3. Who needs to be on the call?
  4. What preparation is needed for us to be most effective in the meeting?
  5. What pace to do we want in order to keep it engaging?
  6. What will help keep the focus?
  7. What’s absolutely essential? (This is in contrast to what will be nice to cover or where can people go for more information around topics?)
  8. What follow-up might be required?

Third, what’s going to make the hybrid meeting effective for everyone? in a hybrid workspace with some people being on-site and others virtual, it’s important to think about everyone. Intentionality is key with meetings in the virtual space. Every time think about your meetings from the vantage point of both in-person and virtual.

Finally, use all the tools available in both the virtual and in-person world to activate people. This can include one or all of the Five Engagement Levers(TM) – Breakouts, Polls, Whiteboards, Annotation, Chat. What is going to boost your conversation?

This article was originally published as Teams365 blog post 2683