Lead Your Hybrid Meetings as a Team Sport - Deepstash

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Meetings Are Exhausting, Virtual Or Real

Meetings Are Exhausting, Virtual Or Real

Yes, the brain-numbing exhaustion that sets in after too many hours on video calls is a unique form of terrible. But there’s a caveat that doesn’t get mentioned enough: Zoom fatigue is also a bit of a convenient scapegoat.

As more organizations begin to navigate the unfamiliar world of remote work, it’s entirely possible—and maybe even likely—that meetings that are terrible on Zoom are also terrible for the people in the room.

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The Reason For The Fatigue

The Reason For The Fatigue

The main reason that people are fatigued is that they’re sitting in a lot of bad meetings.

If you’re not engaged and can’t be inclusive, that’s the main reason for the fatigue.

A shift to hybrid work can simply mean a change of venue for the meeting burnout people have long been feeling, as they move from conference room to Zoom room—or it can be a new opportunity to engage a fatigued audience.

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Rethinking Meetings

Rethinking Meetings

Reconsider the meeting not as an endeavour with a single leader, but as a team sport. With two facilitators—one who joins remotely and is responsible for the online space, and one who joins in person and facilitates live—hybrid meetings can combine the best of both worlds into sessions that allow for greater collaboration. All it takes is some thoughtful planning.

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Initiating The Meeting

Initiating The Meeting

Start by planning meetings with intention. What is the purpose of this time? What deliverables should you have by the end of the meeting? Who needs to be there to accomplish those tasks? Who’s best suited to facilitate, and who will handle what?

Craft your agenda so that the remote facilitator opens the meeting and leads the first section, to set a precedent that makes it harder for in-person attendees to dominate the conversation.

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During The Meeting

During the meeting itself, a key responsibility of the remote facilitator is to ensure the conversation flows evenly between the two spaces. If time allows, kick things off with a check-in question: When everybody speaks within the first few minutes, everyone is more inclined to contribute later on.

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The Ongoing Meeting

The Ongoing Meeting

Throughout the meeting, the two hosts can trade off the responsibility for sparking discussion, while each paying special attention to their respective realms. With activity taking place across physical and virtual spaces, it’s challenging for one person to be good at and focused on projecting, sharing, and facilitating while also monitoring this new input.

Having eyes on each space allows for more focused attention to the non-verbal cues that signify how a meeting is going.

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After The Meeting

As with pretty much everything about hybrid work, team meeting leading is going to take some practice and refinement to get right. After each meeting, co-leaders can measure success by fielding an engagement survey. Make sure to break out answers by remote and in-person attendees, so you can identify any gaps between their respective experiences.

Overall, leading a good hybrid meeting across digital and physical spaces comes back to the same principles that make meetings successful in either space alone: creating an inclusive environment where all participants have equal opportunity to engage.

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