In today’s fast-paced business world, staying connected is easier than ever. Offsite meetings are a good choice for many reasons. Often, travel is not possible for clients, team members, or business colleagues. In these instances, a conference call over the phone, internet, or application can be very helpful.

For those who aren’t as familiar with hybrid meetings, they can be intimidating. We’ve gathered a few tips for navigating and setting up a hybrid meeting to help your next off-site or long distance business meeting run smoothly.

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Making the Important Decisions

The first thing you’ll need to decide is the type of technology you and your business associates will have access to. At Earle Brown Heritage Center, we have all the technology needs you’ll need, as well as complimentary wifi to power them.

Next, you’ll determine your needs by answering these questions: what do you need to share with one another? Will you need to share computer screens? Will all your meeting attendees need a copy of the agenda or links to certain programs? Assigning talking roles and including a clear agenda is important to make sure the meeting will run smoothly. Check out our Meeting Agenda blog for tips to organize this effectively.

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Virtual Conference Rooms

Popular virtual conference rooms include Google Hangouts and Skype for business, as long as your meeting is relatively small. These programs are free, and attendees need only an email to join. For larger groups, research bigger platforms. There are plenty to choose from:

Conducting the Meeting

Keeping people that are joining a meeting from different locations on topic can be difficult. It is important to minimize background noise as much as possible. Consider asking attendees to mute their microphones until they need to speak or weigh in. You can also utilize a chat feature to have one person manage the meeting and others participate by typing their responses.

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As it is sometimes difficult to understand who is speaking, do not interrupt the speaker. This is important in any meeting, but especially in hybrid meetings. When sound is broadcast over the internet or a phone call, it is harder to rely on physical cues to guide the conversation. When speaking, talk slowly and clearly; don’t shout.

When using a camera function on a digital meeting, try to keep body movements to a minimum and move slowly. It is also courteous to maintain eye contact by looking into your computer’s camera, rather than at your computer screen.

For more information on conducting a hybrid meeting, read this PDF on Six Critical Success Factors for Successful Virtual Meetings from Facilitate.com.

If you’d like to learn more about hosting a meeting at Earle Brown Heritage Center, click here.