Why hybrid meetings could be the new trend

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that it’s not possible to go back to work with a “business as usual” approach.

Working practices have changed for just about everyone, as we strive to learn how the “new normal” is going to operate.

One thing that has kept the wheels of industry turning is the ability to hold virtual meetings, with video conferencing technology keeping many organisations afloat during the lockdown, although as the government gradually relaxes the restrictions and people start returning to work, most managers and employees agree, nothing can replace the power of face-to-face meetings.

© Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock

However, it seems a shame to lose the benefits that virtual meetings have provided. With this in mind, business leaders are warming to the idea of hybrid meetings, which look set to increase in popularity in the future.

What’s a hybrid meeting?
A hybrid meeting involves some of the attendees being present in person and others linking in via a video conference. In the present situation, when workplaces and meeting venues are slowly starting to open again, this would be an ideal solution.

Meetings could go ahead without having to cram everyone together into a single room. Having less in-person attendees makes social distancing easier. It would also make the meeting inclusive of anyone who was unable to attend in person.

A hybrid meeting combines the best features of both types of meeting: it seamlessly integrates in-person communication with virtual meeting elements, enabling attendees to connect and share information at a truly global event.

Increasing participation
Participants who are unable to travel due to COVID-19 restrictions, a lack of time, or financial constraints, are able to take part in the hybrid meeting, regardless of their personal circumstances.

Offering an alternative to attending in person, such as video conferencing and live viewing options online, has a better chance of distributing the conference material to more people. Attendees can watch remotely and they won’t have to miss presentations they might otherwise have been unable to see.

Also, speakers who may also be unable to travel can lend their voice by presenting virtually. The result will be incredible presentations, which can connect with individuals wherever they are.

Boost future attendance
A hybrid meeting has the power to convert virtual attendees to in-person attendees in future. Content is the key, so if your organisation books strong speakers, organises interesting panels and provides delegates with networking opportunities, online participants will do their utmost to attend in person next time.

There’s nothing like meeting face-to-face and physical events are here to stay, so by making yours as interesting as possible, you’ll attract more in-person delegates next time.

Education and promotion
Hybrid events can provide a good opportunity to promote your organisation afterwards. Use the archived webcast as an educational and promotional tool by editing sections of the meeting for sales and marketing purposes. Use it to attract future attendees, or to help train new employees.

Share the content through social media channels to generate more interest. Use the technology in combination with your tried-and-trusted event strategies to boost your business’s profile. Speak to your meeting attendees to find out what they’re looking for in terms of the online event component. Find out afterwards what they felt worked and what didn’t.

Accomplishing goals
To accomplish your goals, make sure everyone’s on the same page, whether they are attending in person or virtually. When communicating through video conferencing, it can be challenging to detect misunderstandings, as it’s not the same as seeing people’s body language in person.

It can be easier for team members attending a virtual meeting to lose focus, especially if they’re participating very little, so it’s up to the manager, or the meeting chairperson, to ensure the event draws to a satisfactory conclusion, without losing anyone along the way.

&Meetings offers a selection of affordable meeting rooms and video conferencing facilities to rent. When you need a meeting room or training room in London for hire in the future, contact us on 0800 073 0499 to make your booking.

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