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Hybrid meetings are more than just a live streamed presentation. The idea is to make sure that all participants — in-person and remote — are able to get value out of their attendance.
Ideally, a hybrid meeting is an interactive session for both in-person and remote attendees hosted in-person and through a hybrid event platform.
However, treading in uncharted waters can seem daunting. So for the sake of everyone involved, expectations should be managed for all participants.
Here’s what you should expect going in your first hybrid meeting:
First and foremost, if you’re looking forward to attending a hybrid meeting remotely, you should familiarize yourself with the software. A tool specifically designed for hybrid meetings is likely to have a large number of features, and finding what you’re looking for can be a bit of a hassle if you’re going in headfirst.
In case of an important meeting, the coordinators will probably share what you need to know about the tool beforehand. If you don’t get such guidance, you can always communicate with the coordinators before the event and ask them about the tool they’re going to use, and research it on your own, or simply ask for a manual or a guide that can help you navigate the tool as needed during the meeting.
Most tools share-more or less-similar features and once you’ve attended a few meetings remotely it’ll become much easier.
Depending on your preferences, you may find either of the two modes of attendance to be better than the other. You might prefer live attendance over remote because you prefer face-to-face interaction and find that attending remotely happens to distract you, for whatever reason. Or you might find remote attendance to be helpful especially if you want to avoid travelling and all the issues it entails.
It comes down to understanding yourself and your preferences. If you think you will have trouble concentrating from a remote location, and there are no traveling constraints, and you can easily attend the meeting in person, you should opt for that.
But if you’re someone who likes to avoid the crowd and cannot focus with more than a few people around, you should definitely try out attending meetings virtually.
Tying in with the subject of attention span, this is something you should consider if you’re considering participating virtually. Where you now have the freedom to choose any location of your choice, be it a coffee shop, home office, or your own bedroom, you should make sure it’s a place that doesn’t distract you. You may want to avoid the bedroom as it could make you feel like taking a nap in the middle of the meeting.
Should you find that the ambiance of a coffee shop helps you focus, you can definitely try that. Take care of the noise, however, as engaging with the rest of the attendees may require you to un-mute your mic and speak up.
An unstable internet connection is probably the most annoying thing about attending meetings virtually. You could be paying as much attention as you possibly can, sitting in the most comfortable location for you, yet have it all made difficult just because of connectivity issues.
If you think attending hybrid meetings remotely is the right option for you, you should consider getting a stable internet connection, and/or keep a backup service as well. It really helps to not get interrupted and have your state of flow broken up just because of the internet connection.
Attendees at the in-person venue will, likely, have access to free wifi so that, at the live conference, they can log into the virtual event platform. It is better to connect to the venue’s wifi if possible, so that you can get even more value out of the event.
You’ll not only be enjoying the perks of an in-person event but will also be able to take advantage of the virtual aspects. For example, you’ll be able to search peoples’ profiles; chat; create your own presentation agenda and add presentation times to your phone calendars; connect with exhibitors; download documents; and much more.
A hybrid meeting experience is further enhanced by sharing material with the participants, before and after. This can help mitigate some of the issues related to connectivity, attention span, and distractions.
Even if you’re attending the meeting in person, you should be logged in to the hybrid event app to access the event collateral.
If you miss out on something you will be able to catch up on it later once the recorded contents are shared with you, and if the presenters are all the more kind, they should be happy to help you out during any follow-up session, or even through email.
Ideal hybrid meetings should have Q&A sessions held afterward to provide a sense of inclusion to all participants and improve engagement. So if you feel that you may miss out on something by attending remotely, you can ask the coordinators if there will be follow-up sessions.
Ideally, both in-person and remote attendees would ask their queries through the hybrid event app. These questions, through a session moderator, would reach the speaker who would then answer them.
A proper Q&A session should clear up all your queries the same way attending in person would. And if all the material is shared, you will have a way to get back to it in the future whenever you need to.
For hybrid meetings that include people from different countries, this can be an issue. If you’re participating remotely, you will need to adjust your schedule around the meeting.
For events streaming live presentations, it’s better to set reminders on your phone calendar so that you don’t miss the live session and can participate in Q&As.
However, more often than not, hosts will stream a live presentation, and then publish the recording of it just after so that people who couldn’t make it live can watch it at their own time.
So, if you’re okay to watch a recording of it afterward, the host will likely have that available on the event platform or their website.
If you’re someone who is interested in saving time and cost while being part of a big network of people, hybrid events are for you. You can definitely expect to save up on a lot of travel costs, not to mention reduce your carbon footprint.
For the uninitiated, hybrid meetings may feel a little overwhelming, but looking at the benefits, it should appeal to most of the people out there. You get to save plenty on costs if you’re joining remotely and get almost the same experience as a normal meeting. Only this time you have the opportunity to interact with an even bigger network of people from across the globe.
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