Where are you in your hybrid experiments?
Any new discoveries and insights worth sharing?
We have one, an interesting discovery.
In our workshop What about hybrid we set off on a new adventure to explore how to make hybrid meetings and workshops feel inclusive, engaging and productive for everyone. We didn’t find the solution, the egg of Columbus, but a lot of food for thought and inputs to explore the hybrid challenge further.
What surprised us was this:
We discovered fluffy motivations. And often vague purposes.
- Hybrid meetings give flexibility. One can work and meet from everywhere.
- Including everyone without barriers.
- The longing for social quality time of having a joint coffee breaks and exchange informally
The question is: Are these motivations enough reason for combining onsite and online participants in a hybrid format?
What is your motivation to organize the event in a hybrid format?
Be clear and say it out loud why you want to hold the meeting or workshop in a hybrid format.
Excerpt from Planning Hybrid Meetings – Decision Wheel
Let’s be frank.
Hybrid is a compromise.
You are combining two modes and spaces and want to profit from the advantages of both with the disadvantage of the mix.
The challenge is not technology per se but the intersection between technology and human interaction in two completely different spheres.
This is not easy. Frankly, it can be a bit complicated. And certainly demanding for you as leader and facilitator. And not only for you. Also for participants it can be tough. Tough to hear and understand everyone. Difficult to see who is there and who is speaking. Hard to follow the discussion and particularly to enter it.
Anna Magdalena Bernhardt’s video shows the challenges in a nutshell.
Let’s be blunt about motivations for goring hybrid:
- Drinking coffee is not reason enough to meet in a mixed hybrid format. Because those calling into the online meeting from the office can always have coffee together during the break.
- Including everyone is easier online, because in hybrid formats there is a risk of exclusion.
- Flexibility could be an argument. Be clear which moments are important to bring the whole team or group together in-person. At other times, why not meet all online?
How to make hybrid meetings and events a good compromise?
Be honest with each other.
Is everyone fine with meeting hybrid? Does the compromise feel good? Or does it feel, “Mmhh…”, a compromise….? Do you share the motivation for this format? This motivation is the basis for a climate of mutual understanding and patience during the meeting. Hybrid asks everyone to behave in a supportive way.
Do it together.
As a team build it up, care for good hybrid meetings together. Debrief on process level and learn about what worked fine and what could be changed and adapted for the next hybrid meeting.
Be well equipped.
It needs more than a laptop, make sure everyone can see and hear and is seen and heard. Good microphones and cameras are a must.
Additionally, by asking all onsite participants to bring their devices and login to the online meeting as well, faces and facial expressions are well visible for the remote participants.
Prepare ahead to engage everyone.
Share content prior to the meeting. Be aware that a hybrid format needs even more preparation. Make sure that you have the necessary resources. If you don’t, go for all online. This is easier.
Think about ‘social time’.
Find a solution that works and includes everyone into small talks and networking opportunities.
- Buddy coffee calls: one ‘roomy’ calls a ‘zoomy’
- Bringing online teammates along to the coffee place
- Make separate coffee breaks for “roomies” and “zommies”
- After coming back from the coffee place, share some anecdotes with the “zoomies”. And invite “zoomies” to share their coffee chatter.
Most importantly, start with purpose.
What is the purpose of the meeting or workshop? Examine the purpose. Investigate. Dig deeper until you uncover the true reason for people to meet and work together.
What do you want to achieve?
The purpose is always the starting point for any meeting adventure, online, onsite or hybrid.
Combining the best of two worlds is an illusion.
We find, combining the best of two worlds is an illusion. Hybrid is a compromise and has costs. So start with purpose, goals and desired results then talk about the motivation of organizing it in a hybrid format. Because you need a strong motivation for going hybrid. If everyone sees the benefit, they will help carry the costs that hybrid brings.
What have you discovered about hybrid meetings?
We are curious!
We are considering running our workshop “What about HYBRID?” another time. Are you interested to join and deepen the conversation about how to make hybrid meetings and workshops inclusive and engaging? Leave us a note!
More upcoming opportunities:
Registration for the next round of Bringing your Online Meetings & Workshops Alive starting on January 18
Image by SarahRichterArt from Pixabay