Hybrid meetings are becoming more common as the virtual world increasingly merges with the in-person world.
Yet they are much more complicated than most people think.
There are a lot of things that can easily go wrong and ruin the experience of some or even all of your participants because they cannot participate fully.
Here are some of the main challenges I’ve encountered in the hybrid meetings I’ve facilitated:
🔊 AUDIO FEEDBACK & ECHO
When there are a lot of people talking with each other, the mics pick up feedback that can be annoying and distracting for everyone. There is no real solution to avoiding this, other than removing a few microphones or trying to space out microphones (which creates a new set of challenges!).
📝 IT’S HARD TO SHARE NOTES
Notes taken on whiteboards or flip charts might not be clearly visible by everyone online, even with the best cameras. Digital whiteboards have been introduced as a potential solution, but unless the facilitator and participants are tech savvy, they may not be as effective.
💬 WHAT HAPPENS IN CHAT STAYS IN CHAT
All the in-person participants can’t see the chat messages. There could be a whole conversation happening in the chat for the online participants that the in person don’t even know that it’s happening. Displaying the chat in-person could also be distracting for everyone.
💻 NEW TECH LEARNING CURVE
Online participants often feel invisible and forgotten if most people are in person, especially when their messages in chat are ignored. To me, that’s the one reason hybrids are so challenging and maybe something that we should avoid altogether. When people feel forgotten, they do not engage and may walk away from the experience with regret.
3 STEPS TO AN EFFECTIVE HYBRID EXPERIENCE
If you do choose to hold a hybrid meeting, be sure to check out the video below for three steps to designing an effective hybrid experience (and learn how I solved some of these challenges when facilitating a Hybrid Wedding!):
HOW TO BEAT THAT LEARNING CURVE?
Hybrid Meetings require a lot more planning and intentional design of the interactions between in-person and virtual participants.
To become a master at facilitating hybrid meetings, you need to first become an expert at facilitating virtual meetings.
If you’re interested in learning how to create events where people feel included, fully engaged, and encouraged to contribute their best efforts and ideas, then join my next cohort and become a Certified Virtual Facilitator.