4 cornerstones for your hybrid meetings
Imagine connecting to a work meeting from your desk (or kitchen table, ironing board, moving boxes…). You are three people who are on remotely. Five people are in the office. They are sitting in a conference room and have a speakerphone on the table. You notice that the five are whispering something that you can’t hear. A person gets up to draw on a whiteboard that you can’t see. They laugh at something but you don’t know what… How does it feel?
Time to upgrade your meetings!
For office workers, a flexible workplace is the new normal. You won’t be in the office every day, at least not if you want to keep your key staff. You as a leader therefore need to once again increase your competence and this time in hybrid leadership. One such important part is all the meetings you lead. Before the pandemic, the average manager spent about 50-80% in meetings. That figure has hardly decreased. There are certain keys to success for good hybrid meetings, and here are 4 concrete tips, or cornerstones, that will help you create engagement and action.
Always think digital first. As soon as you have some remote, it is the digital channels that rule. Let everyone work in Zoom, preferably by using their own laptop. No more meetings where the remote participants are second-class colleagues. Start from them instead. Then you meet on equal terms. Hybrid IS digital first and foremost
Involve everyone and decide what is the right behavior and the right treatment. If you are best at hybrid meetings; how are you then? Who does what? How do you treat each other? Which channels do you use? What is ok to do and what is not ok? Here, a workshop is smart to put in so that you agree on how you will meet.
Work with the WE feeling and skip the buns and cookies on site. Remote participants will not be motivated by seeing you sitting around a conference table with cinnamon buns and chai lattes. It just creates a feeling of injustice and that the people in the office are the A-team while the rest are the B-team. You hardly want it that way.
Have physical meetings, at least sometimes. Analog is still by far the richest experience for participants. It is easier to build relationships, sense moods and address complex issues. If you have a distributed team where people sit far away, get together regularly from time to time, maybe off-site, and socialize. If everyone lives close by, you can do it more often.
You have the opportunity to get the best of both worlds – analog and digital – if you do it right.
Thanks for reading my mind
Team Antoni Explains
In today’s ever-evolving work environment, where remote work and flexible arrangements are becoming the norm, the way we conduct meetings has to adapt to this new reality.
Antoni Lacinai presents 4 cornerstones for hybrid meetings, which effectively blend the digital and physical worlds to ensure productive and engaging interactions for all participants.
Lacinai emphasizes that in a hybrid meeting, digital channels should be the primary means of communication. This means that everyone, whether in the office or working remotely, should be on an equal footing.
All participants should ideally join the meeting using digital platforms like Zoom or other video conferencing tools. This ensures that remote participants don’t feel like they’re secondary to their in-office counterparts.
Define Meeting Etiquette
In a hybrid meeting, it’s crucial to establish clear guidelines for behavior and communication. Determine what’s expected from each participant, whether they’re physically present or joining remotely.
Decide on communication channels, such as chat or video, and outline what’s considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior during the meeting. Conducting a workshop can be an effective way to align everyone’s expectations and ensure a more cohesive meeting experience.
Foster a Sense of Inclusivity
Lacinai highlights the importance of creating a sense of unity among all meeting participants. To do this, avoid the practice of providing snacks or refreshments exclusively to in-office attendees, as it can create a division.
Instead, focus on making all participants feel valued and included, irrespective of their location. This inclusivity is essential for maintaining a motivated and engaged team.
Incorporate Physical Meetings
While digital meetings have their advantages in terms of convenience, face-to-face interactions are still invaluable for building relationships, understanding non-verbal cues, and addressing complex issues.
Lacinai suggests that hybrid teams should occasionally hold physical meetings, especially if team members are distributed geographically. These meetings can be off-site gatherings or occasional in-person meetups for teams located closely. This way, you can harness the benefits of both analog and digital worlds.
Antoni Lacinai’s cornerstones for hybrid meetings are all about embracing the digital-first approach while ensuring that all participants are on an equal footing, maintaining a shared set of meeting etiquette, fostering inclusivity, and occasionally incorporating face-to-face meetings.
By following these cornerstones, you can optimize your hybrid meetings and reap the benefits of both the physical and digital realms.