The Challenge of the Hybrid Meeting
By: Alan Bauman
Most of us have gotten used to the remote meeting; Zoom, Teams, pick your platform. We all align, Brady-Bunch style in our zoom room and get things done as best we can. Some of us have even grown to appreciate the advantages of these fully remote meetings. We can record them, share screens, invite people ad-hoc from wherever they might be at the moment.
If we’re doing fully remote meetings “right”, everyone has a headset, camera on and nobody’s scarfing down last night’s lasagna for all to admire. But we’re tired of being home and the world is getting back to the office. Kind of. Some of us are here, others are there. And the new challenge we find is how to run efficient meetings when some of us want to gather together and others can’t.
Here’s what doesn’t work: gathering a bunch of people in a conference room with a web cam pointed at the table from across the room. The audio and video quality of meetings like this are lacking to say the least. People are hard to hear and hard to see. The people “in” the room wind up shouting at the camera and struggling to be heard while the rest of the remote people wonder why everyone doesn’t just head back to their desks and cam-up.
And so yes, the simplest solution is to continue to run your meetings as if everyone was remote. You might be sitting next to a co-worker staring a screen rather than gathered in a conference room, but the rest of the team will be able to see and hear you clearly. You might not get the in-person time we’re all craving but that’s what the coffee room is for perhaps?
A better experience for all
However, there can be certain situations where the in-person gather is so compelling that it’s worth investing in technology to make the experience better for all. You might have a retreat scheduled and one or two colleagues are unable to attend in person for example. One such device that we have used with good success is from Owl Labs (www.owllabs.com). Their “meeting pro” device bundles a powerful microphone, speaker and camera specifically designed to connect a roomful of people with remote meeting attendees.
The Owl Pro’s camera automatically focuses on the person in the room who is speaking, presenting a much larger and better image of that individual. The sound is better and it’s a simple to use and setup product. All in all a way better experience for everyone. Something to consider in this hybrid world.