Best Practices to Run Better Meetings in the New Hybrid Workplace

Global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has released a new research blueprint to help organizations run better meetings, whether hybrid, virtual, or in person, to support desired meeting norms. According to Info-Tech, as organizations consider the evolution of working environments post-pandemic, successful workplace plans will need to include hybrid meetings. Seamless hybrid meetings are the result of thoughtful planning and documented best practices.

“The same things that make an in-person meeting successful will also make a hybrid meeting successful: thoughtful planning, engaged participants, and accessible outputs,” explains Research Analyst Emily Sugerman. “Meeting planners and participants, both remote and in-person, need to be on the same page about sharing meeting information, participating, and ensuring all voices are heard, and where meeting outputs can be found and used after the event.”

As organizations consider the evolution of working environments post-pandemic, Info-Tech Research Group says that successful workplace plans will need to include hybrid meetings. (CNW Group/Info-Tech Research Group)

In the blueprint, Info-Tech explains hybrid workplace challenges that organizations need to consider and account for. These challenges include:

  • Unequal experience for onsite and remote attendees
  • Meeting and video fatigue
  • Meeting rooms not optimized for hybrid meetings
  • Lack of experience in successfully running hybrid meetings
  • New types of hardware logistics and software requirements
  • Additional meeting data footprints (recordings, call transcripts) for IT to manage

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Info-Tech recommends that hybrid meetings support how every team works and runs meetings. This is important because even within one organization different teams and departments may have different norms and expectations around how meetings are held and may have developed unique approaches during their remote work experience throughout the pandemic.

“People are using new tools that make them uncomfortable,” adds Emily Sugerman. “IT’s job is to help them connect their old ways of working with the new tech. If they can insert some meeting best practices at the same time, everyone will benefit.”

Organizations can only improve meetings if everyone willingly engages, with IT, HR, and the business working together. However, Info-Tech explains that the same solution won’t work for all meetings, as each meeting format has its own needs. The blueprint explores four different meeting types:

  1. Small Brainstorming Sessions – Attendees need to be able to share ideas quickly and easily with each other, both verbally and visually. These meetings may be scheduled or spontaneous. Example: one-on-one collaboration.

  2. Team Working Sessions – The meeting host needs to be able to present information to attendees and solicit their input, ideas, and feedback. The group will most likely need to reference documents and task trackers. Hosts need to ensure that all attendees provide input and are engaged. The meeting may grind to a halt if the host has technical difficulties. Examples: daily stand-up meetings, requirements gathering workshops.

  3. Team Presentations – Information is being disseminated to a larger group of people, but the host needs to ensure comprehension. The meeting will grind to a halt if the host has technical difficulties. Example: team training.

  4. Large Meetings – Large-scale meetings involve one-to-many or some-to-many communications. Transitions must be smooth and technical issues handled quickly to avoid a reputational impact on the organization. Remote participants should feel as engaged as in-person attendees, and there should be a virtual platform for everyone to share their thoughts. Examples: company or department meetings, product launches, conference keynotes, televised press scrums.

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The blueprint outlines how hybrid meetings can be improved by addressing technology, best practices, and meeting norms in concert. Info-Tech recommends that organizations approach this challenge through the three lenses of people, process, and technology:

  1. Understand the current state and the root cause of unsatisfactory meetings.
  2. Review and identify best practices around meeting roles, delivery models, and training.
  3. Improve the technology that supports meetings based on the organization’s needs.
  4. Solicit feedback early to get a benchmark and also after every meeting to address immediate concerns. Quarterly feedback can also identify trends and deeper issues.

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