Times have changed when it comes to attending team meetings. Due to the worldwide pandemic in 2020, the way team meetings were run changed to online meetings, with few exceptions.
This year has seen a gradual return to the office where many people spend part of their working week in the office and part of it working remotely.
With businesses now having teams or parts of teams in the office on allocated days, hybrid meetings are becoming common.
What does that mean for team meetings?
Now that there is a general comfort with online meetings, the hybrid meeting, with some team members attending in person and others online, is the new challenge.
Whether you are attending the meeting in person or online, there are some things that you can do to ensure that you are able to participate effectively in the hybrid team meeting.
The following will cover:
- What you can do to effectively participate in the meeting no matter how you attend
- Tips for attending the meeting remotely
- Tips for attending the meeting in person
Tips for being an effective participant in the meeting (no matter how you attend)
Whether you are attending the meeting in person or remotely, the same rules apply as for all meetings. That is, to be kind and respectful and to arrive prepared. Prepare for the meeting by reviewing the agenda and relevant documents before the meeting.
Time is often a factor cited for not adequately preparing for a meeting.
Yet when a period of time is set aside to do just that, the meeting is more productive and everyone leaves with clear action steps.
So it’s better to set aside focus time and spend 5-10 minutes reviewing the agenda and related documents than trying to absorb everything as the meeting is about to begin. Being prepared helps you to be able to give valuable contributions in the meeting.
Having participants both online and in a room will require everyone to pay close attention to what is being said and by whom.
This means that it is important to avoid multi-tasking. In other words, don’t do other work or take phone calls during the meeting, unless it is an emergency. The temptation has always been there but it is especially important to avoid that with hybrid meetings if the meeting is to be a productive one.
Then there are specific points to remember if you are attending the meeting remotely.
Tips for attending the meeting remotely
Attending a meeting remotely has become commonplace so (hopefully) the following tips are already part of your good meeting habits.
- Log in a little beforehand to check that your audio and video are working.
- Ideally, have your camera on as people prefer to speak to a person rather than an icon on a screen.
- If you are running late or having technical issues logging on to the session, ensure that you inform the meeting organiser.
- Mute your microphone when not speaking.
- Avoid distractions so that you can concentrate on and participate in the meeting.
Importantly, you need to remember that there will be people in a room in the office so at times the main focus will be there.
Tips for attending the meeting in person
Going back into the office to work and attend meetings can have advantages and challenges. The hybrid meeting will mean that some of your colleagues will not be there in person. So it is important not to fall into bad habits of ‘forgetting’ that they are also attending, albeit online.
So if you are attending the meeting in person:
- Arrive a little before the start time of the meeting to check that all equipment is working to connect with online participants.
- If you are running late, ensure that you inform the meeting organiser.
- If participants will be joining via a big screen in the room or the sound will be from one computer in the room, mute your equipment so as to avoid audio feedback.
- If you’re sharing a computer or device within the meeting room, ensure that everyone can be seen in the video.
- Avoid side conversations. If the conversation turns to something within the meeting room, be aware that remote participants may not know what you’re referring to. Make sure you explain what you’re talking about from the outset.
The changing times of team meetings
If the hybrid meeting is to become the new norm, now is the time to get into good meeting habits, whether you are a participant or the meeting organiser.
Here are 3 more articles to help you communicate effectively in meetings:
- How to run productive hybrid meetings
- 7 ways to communicate effectively in virtual meetings
- Are you showing this trait when you communicate?
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