In last week’s post, we looked at the hazards of choosing a technology platform for a hybrid meeting before deciding how that meeting will be set up, who it’s supposed to serve, and what it has to achieve.
The alternative is to design the meeting first, then develop a clear set of specifications to guide your choice of platform. It’s a more effective option can also be more affordable. It means working with the small meeting techniques pioneered by designers like Adrian Segar, Ib Ravn, and Nina Tange, and treating each local “pod” in a hybrid meeting as a mini-conference in its own right.
And it means answering the following questions (and probably many more) before searching for the right technology to knit the group together:
- How do we structure each local meeting to give participants the greatest opportunity to speak, interact, and learn?
- How do we set up the “main” meeting to keep virtual participants engaged? What special features can we offer to draw them in, gather their comments, and make sure they feel involved and welcome?
- What aspects of the “main” meeting will be most important to local and virtual participants?
- How much of the day will local and virtual participants spend at the “main” meeting? (Hint: It may not be more than 25 to 30%.)
- And finally…if people are spending most of their time in their local sessions, or at their desktops, how does that shape our choice and use of technology?
None of this is to say that technology has no part in a hybrid meeting—it has to play a central role. But it’s a mistake to assume that any kind of meeting design is primarily about technology, when it’s ultimately about people. Many technology vendors are great at what they do, but it’ isn’t their job to design the human interactions that determine the success of any gathering, hybrid or not.
(Photo by mixevent)