February 12, 2023 by Andrea Rajic

How to Run Inclusive and Effective Hybrid Meetings

How to Run Inclusive and Effective Hybrid Meetings

Table of contents


    What are hybrid meetings?


    7 tips to plan a hybrid meeting where everyone feels involved


    Run hybrid meetings like a pro with Gable

Employee Experience
Workplace Resources

Out of sight, out of mind. At least when it comes to remote workers.

Around 80% of people working from home confirm they face challenges their in-office peers don’t have to. Without the opportunity to meet and chat with their colleagues in person, workers feel left out and believe this lack of visibility may impact their growth within the company. This can decrease employee morale and motivation, ultimately impacting performance.

The good news is you can stop it from happening. This guide will walk you through the best practices for running inclusive and effective team meetings with your hybrid workforce.

What are hybrid meetings?

Hybrid meetings are team gatherings in which some of the attendees are in the same location while others participate in the meeting virtually, unlike a remote meeting where all participants join virtually. This type of meeting became more common with the rise of hybrid and remote work during and after the pandemic, as many companies never requested that their workers return to the office full-time.

Virtual meeting attendees typically join via collaboration tools like Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, either using individual devices (such as laptops) or central screen (if in a conference room). The main purpose of hybrid meetings is to enable flexible work and allow in-office and remote team members to collaborate in real-time.

Although running a hybrid meeting seems like a simple task, managers often face different challenges when trying to gather their hybrid team:

  • Your video conferencing refusing to cooperate
  • Poor internet connection
  • Working through several time zones
  • Trying to balance both virtual and in-person participants

7 tips to plan a hybrid meeting where everyone feels involved

Even meetings where everyone either participates remotely or is in the same room are sometimes difficult to manage. Hybrid work requires new approaches and strategies to be efficient, but if done correctly, hybrid meetings can improve employee engagement and foster teamwork, flexibility, and inclusion.

We’re sharing seven tested tips to help you run yours as smooth as possible.

1. Lay the groundwork carefully

Before scheduling, carefully plan the strategy around the meeting, including the goal, agenda, date and time, meeting space, speakers, and necessary tools.

Start with determining the meeting goal and who needs to participate in the meeting, whether virtually or face-to-face, then write down the locations people will be joining from. This will further inform all your decisions: when you’re going to meet, how long the meeting should be, the size of the conference room you need, and what the agenda will look like.

When planning the meeting, try to look at it from both remote and on-site participants’ perspectives. If you’re joining from home, will you be able to see and hear all the meeting participants? If you’re on-site, will you use your device to join, or will everyone use a central screen?

Hot tip: For essential company meetings or collaborative brainstorming sessions, send coffee or company swag to all participants to make remote attendees feel included.

2. Book a meeting room in time

If you don’t have an office space but rent flexible workspaces for your team, you’ll need to book a meeting room in advance to combine a physical meeting with a virtual one.

If you have an office space and always hold hybrid meetings in the same city, you don’t need to put much thought into planning the meeting venue. But, if your team is distributed and gathers your leadership at one central location to run an important meeting, you will need a suitable office space to hold it.

When choosing the workspace, consider the following:

  • Availability of conference rooms of different sizes
  • Availability of meeting technology (good Wi-Fi, projectors, interactive whiteboards, high-quality webcams, etc.)
  • Location

If you’re having trouble finding an ideal flexible workspace for your hybrid meetings, Gable can help. We help you source, book, and manage remote office spaces for your entire team — and organize events with zero hassle. Check how simple the process of hosting events is.

3. Make sure the tech works seamlessly

You can’t predict technical issues that may arise during a meeting, but you can double-check the tech before you start and have a backup plan if something goes wrong.

Tech tools fail us all the time, but it doesn’t mean they’re completely out of our control. There are several things you can do to prevent and quickly fix potential problems:

  • Before you start the meeting, test your internet connection and have a backup hotspot in case there are connectivity issues.
  • Prepare a presentation or a video that you’ll send to all attendees in case your screen-sharing functions don’t work for any reason.
  • When the meeting starts, ensure virtual attendees can hear and see everyone correctly.
  • Consider how you place the video angle and what remote employees see.
  • Record the meeting so a remote attendee can watch it later if their internet connection fails during the video call.
  • Use close captioning whenever possible or turn on meeting transcription that you can later share with the attendees.
  • Establish housekeeping rules to ensure clarity of the audio and no interruptions: the participants should mute themselves when not speaking and raise a hand when they have a question.
  • Set up and use collaborative functionalities inside your video-conferencing tools: virtual whiteboards (like Miro), screen sharing, active talk indicators, and more to promote participation from everyone.

4. Do a round of icebreaker questions

At the beginning of the meeting, ask a few icebreaker questions to light up the atmosphere and ensure everything is functioning correctly.

In virtual, and sometimes even in in-person meetings, there’s an awkward silence at the beginning while everyone’s joining or making themselves comfortable in the conference room. People are looking at the meeting host, and the host isn’t sure if they should just start with the meeting agenda.

This awkward moment is easily resolved with a round of icebreaker questions. If you ask people how they are, they might reply - okay, and the silence will continue. To avoid this and relax the atmosphere, always come to the meeting with a set of interesting or funny icebreaker questions, such as:

  • What are your travel plans for this year?
  • If you could invite a celebrity over for dinner, who would it be?
  • What’s the most interesting historic event for you?
  • What’s the best thing you’ve bought over the past few years?
  • What’s your ideal “fun day”?

Another great use of icebreaker questions is making sure that everyone can hear and see everyone before you start with the agenda.

5. Have a designated facilitator

Big or small, your hybrid meeting should have a moderator who will ensure the team stays on agenda, ends the meeting on time, and includes everyone in the conversation.

Sometimes, your team leader or CEO won’t be the ideal person to ensure a good flow of the meeting because they’ll be too focused on the meeting content. This is why it’s beneficial to designate a meeting facilitator—a team member who will:

  • Structure contributions from remote attendees and make sure that the in-room bias is avoided, and everyone who wants to speak has space to do so,
  • Remind in-person attendees not to exclude remote participants from the discussion (or unintentionally do that by making comments that remote attendees won’t be able to hear because they’re not in the room)
  • Guide the agenda and the conversation, making sure all agenda items are covered within an adequate amount of time without digressions,
  • Address remote team members by name to make them feel more connected to the in-person meeting participants,
  • Assign an in-room attendee to each remote participant so virtual joiners have someone to speak for them in case they have any technical issues,
  • Monitor the in-meeting chat for any questions remote attendees may have.

6. Document everything from the agenda to meeting conclusions

All important meeting points and conclusions should be collected in a shared document that all meeting participants can access during and after the meeting.

Another important task during hybrid meetings is the documentation of everything from the meeting agenda to meeting conclusions and action plans.

In-person participants probably won’t be able to write everything down as they’ll be focused on communicating and making eye contact with the rest of the room and remote participants. On the other hand, remote attendees will want to ensure they don’t miss anything that’s being said, especially if they’re experiencing technical difficulties like audio lagging or video freezing.

Put one team member in charge of meeting minutes and have them share the doc with the rest of the participants, giving them commenting access so they can leave their thoughts without disrupting the document.

7. Ask for feedback on the attendee experience

After every hybrid meeting, ask attendees for feedback so you can plan every meeting more efficiently than the previous one.

Depending on the meeting size, run a survey or organize 1:1 video calls or quick Slack chats to learn more about the attendee experience in your hybrid meeting. Ask questions like:

  • Did you feel you had enough space to express yourself in the meeting?
  • What do you think we could do to improve the meeting workflow next time?
  • How satisfied were you with the technical aspects of the meeting?
  • What aspect of the meeting do you think was particularly successful?

Employee feedback is critical for successful hybrid meetings, but it also allows you to show your workers your plan is to create a level playing field for everyone and make sure that everyone feels included and heard, no matter where they are.

Run hybrid meetings like a pro with Gable

There’s a middle ground between demanding your people back to the office and never seeing them in person. Sometimes, people simply work better when they also have an opportunity to cooperate and socialize face-to-face, whether it’s a brainstorming session or a serious, revenue-related meeting.

Hybrid meetings can benefit your team in many ways, but only if you devote enough time to planning and executing it correctly. With the right, thoughtful approach to hybrid meetings, you can turn them into efficient collaboration sessions.

Learn how Gable helps you leverage hybrid meetings and remote workspaces to boost company growth.

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Written By

Andrea Rajic


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