In today’s evolving workplace, many business leaders and managers need to learn how to set up a hybrid Zoom meeting. Since the pandemic, hybrid and remote working strategies have become increasingly common.
Even now that companies can welcome employees back into the workforce, 83% of staff members agree that the ideal working environment usually follows the hybrid model. With hybrid work, employees can distribute their time between the office and remote locations, consistently choosing the right environment for boosted productivity and efficiency.
Platforms like Zoom, with its vast array of meeting and collaboration tools, can empower teams to work efficiently from any location. However, setting up a hybrid meeting can be far more complex than configuring a standard in-person or all-virtual interaction.
Here’s what you need to know to ensure your hybrid meetings are successful.
Step 1: The Pre-Planning Phase
Proper planning is essential to a good meeting experience. Studies suggest only around 11% of meetings are productive. One of the main reasons for this is that business leaders don’t dedicate enough time to preparing an agenda and planning successful interactions.
To improve your chances of a successful meeting experience, start by establishing clear meeting objectives. Determine what you want the meeting to accomplish and the outcomes. This will also help you decide who to include in the meeting and what topics to cover.
Once you’ve set your objectives, think about your meeting format. What will the balance of in-person and virtual attendees look like for this specific interaction? How can you ensure you’re scheduling the meeting at the right time for everyone? Intelligent calendar tools can help you to select meeting times that adhere to employees working in different time zones.
When you’re ready, craft invitations for your meetings using Zoom’s built-in tools. You can include calendar dates in the invitation, provide insights into the meeting agenda, and provide instructions on how to join the meeting virtually or in person. You can even include a meeting link and ID for all attendees so users can join the conversation with just one click.
Step 2: Technical Setup
The next step in setting up a Zoom hybrid meeting is ensuring both your in-house and remote employees have access to the right tools and equipment for efficient communication.
Perhaps the first step, for both types of attendees, is ensuring everyone has access to a strong and reliable internet connection. This is particularly crucial during video conferencing, where streaming visual content relies on more bandwidth.
Next, think about the specific technical needs of your in-office and virtual employees:
Configuring the In-Room Setup
For in-person attendees, there’s a good chance you’ll be using a dedicated meeting room. This space should be large enough to accommodate all of your attendees, and be free from any distractions. Ensure all of the correct equipment is configured in advance to save team members time setting up. Some of the core components you’ll need for an effective hybrid meeting include:
- A laptop or computer: Most hybrid meetings can be managed and operated from almost any internet-connected device. However, using a computer or dedicated codec can make it easier to transfer audio, video, and content securely and efficiently through the internet.
- Audio equipment: Equip your meeting rooms with wired or wireless microphones, and speakers or speaker phones for audio communication. Ensure these tools are configured and installed according to your specific acoustic needs.
- Video equipment: Invest in high-quality cameras to stream HD video directly to the remote meeting participants. This will help to improve your team members’ engagement and assist with more context-driven conversations.
You may also need to invest in additional accessories, such as digital whiteboards, and you’ll need to ensure you have your Zoom software set up and installed within your meeting room of choice.
Supporting Virtual Attendees
Virtual attendees in a hybrid meeting will need all of the same equipment as your in-office team members. However, rather than investing in a number of high-quality cameras and speakerphones, you may be able to simply offer remote workers simple headsets and webcams.
To ensure your Zoom participants can get the most out of the meeting experience, ask them to test their audio and video settings before they join the online meeting space. It’s also worth asking them to choose a quiet, well-lit room for the meeting, free from any distractions.
Step 3: Facilitating Excellent Communication
To conduct a successful hybrid meeting, communication is crucial.
Effective communication is at the heart of any successful meeting strategy. The better your team members can communicate, the more effectively they’ll be able to collaborate on various tasks and projects.
The first step in optimizing communication for your hybrid meeting is establishing clear communication guidelines. Send your meeting attendees a list of instructions for how you expect them to behave in a virtual meeting. For instance, outline whether you want employees to use the “raise hand” feature before they talk, to avoid overlapping interactions.
Encourage every participant to get involved in the conversation, and let them know whether there will be any instances when they may need to mute their microphones temporarily. Here are some quick extra tips that can help to improve hybrid communication:
- Assign someone to manage the meeting: Assigning a meeting host or team leader to a meeting will help to ensure that the conversation stays on track and follows crucial agenda points. You can also ask this leader to regularly ask questions and encourage other team members to engage in conversations.
- Plan how questions will be managed: If your employees are likely to have questions during a meeting, determine whether they’ll be asked to use the “raise hand” feature to ask them, or required to wait until the end of a presentation.
- Plan for presentations: If you’re going to be sharing your screen or presenting documents during a meeting, provide guidelines to your presenters. Ensure every document shared is easy to read on every device, and designed for excellent visibility.
Step 4: Ensuring Inclusivity
Today, more companies than ever before are taking advantage of hybrid work strategies, from health and hospitality groups to manufacturing brands. However, while hybrid work can deliver a lot of benefits to businesses, including increased productivity, it can suffer from issues with inclusivity.
Up to 43% of remote workers say they still don’t feel fully included in remote meetings. To ensure all of your team members feel as though they have a voice, it’s important to have a strategy in place for ensuring inclusivity.
Structure your meeting to ensure that all attendees are encouraged to contribute regardless of their location. This could mean you plan for Q&A sessions where you hand the floor over to remote participants. Or you could rotate the “core speaker” in your meeting regularly to ensure everyone has a turn to speak.
It’s also worth thinking carefully about the accessibility of your meetings. If you hire people with disabilities, such as hearing issues, you could use Zoom’s transcription or closed-captioning features. There are even real-time translation features for participants who speak different languages.
If you believe your team members might need extra time to review the key points of the presentation, share materials with them in advance.
Step 5: Troubleshooting and Contingency Plans
Even if you work with experts to learn how to set up a hybrid Zoom meeting, there’s always a chance something will go wrong during your conversation. While proper planning and testing equipment before a virtual event will mitigate some issues, it’s worth having a strategy for troubleshooting and overcoming potential issues too.
Before your meeting, assign a go-to support employee for your team members, who will be on hand to answer any questions they might have. You can also create FAQ documents, or use resources straight from Zoom to provide employees with a convenient way of troubleshooting any issues they might face, like a bad connection or poor audio quality.
In the case that something goes wrong for multiple members of staff, it’s also worth having another backup communication channel ready, just in case. You can switch to a different video meeting platform, or allow users to call into a meeting from their phone.
No matter what, ensure everyone on your team has someone they can turn to for help, regardless of whether they’re in the office or working remotely.
Step 6: Post Meeting Follow-up
Finally, to ensure a successful hybrid meeting, it’s important to remember the value of a good post-meeting strategy. During the meeting itself, ensure you have a recording system in place, so you can capture all of the core data and action points of the discussion.
This will ensure that anyone who attended the meeting will be able to check the recording when they need to validate a specific point. Plus, it ensures you can share the information with employees who weren’t able to attend. Share this recording and any extra materials (such as presentation slides) with participants after the meeting.
Another great way to optimize your hybrid meetings is to request feedback from your employees. You can use automated apps on Zoom to send surveys to team members, asking them to comment on what they liked and disliked about the session.
This should provide you with useful insights into what you can improve going forward, and how you can make your conversations more productive.
Creating the Ultimate Hybrid Zoom Meeting
Learning how to set up a hybrid Zoom meeting can seem like a complex process. However, it’s crucial to ensure your flexible team can work efficiently together in the new world. With the steps above, you should be able to ensure that your meetings are as productive and efficient as possible.
Plus, you’ll have a better chance of helping everyone in your team to feel like a valuable member of each interaction. Remember, as your business evolves, your needs for hybrid meeting technology and tools might change. Making sure you have access to a vendor who can help you set up and configure the perfect ecosystem will help to keep productivity levels high.
Reach out to Infassure today to learn how we can help you prepare your business for the new age of hybrid work.