Hybrid engagement – How to effectively engage in a transformed world

By Martin Klopper, Director, QLD/NT Communications and Engagement

2020 was the year of business transformation. Driven by challenge, global innovation in workplace technology and connectivity has permanently changed how and where we work. Overnight our ability to collaborate was supercharged; but how do we make sure our online meeting tools support productivity?

One change that has become crucial to effectively engaging in business is hybrid engagement. Facilitating hybrid engagement allows for people to be in the room as well as online. When facilitated well, hybrid engagement is a cost effective and highly productive tool that can make the most of multiple resources in the one session.

To gain meaningful value from the engagement, it’s important to know how to effectively facilitate hybrid engagement.

Preparation is key

Lack of preparation will leave you chasing your tail so make sure before the session you are thoroughly prepared in two key areas.

You must know exactly what you want to achieve by the end of the meeting. Create a structured agenda designed around your key objectives. Work out what online programs you will need but keep it simple. People tend to get distracted by the tech gizmos. Ask yourself, will these programs really add value to the discussion?

Your tech preparation beforehand will sink or save you. Ensure you have set up the room to cater for the programs you are planning to use and have all the hardware ready to go for each person. Don’t assume anything. Having a co-facilitator to help control the tech as well as somebody to take notes and manage the technology will reduce a lot of the stress for you as the facilitator. Technology can be unpredictable – don’t assume that you can do it all.

Technology in these situations can often throw unexpected (and last minute) challenges your way. Adaptability and problem solving have emerged as the most important skills that facilitators and businesspeople alike need to be effective right now.

Good facilitation ensures good outcomes

During a hybrid session, everyone must have equal opportunity to participate. Louder voices shouldn’t dominate, and people in the room shouldn’t overwhelm those dialling in online. The facilitator oversees moving around the room and the virtual room by:

  1. Seeking the opinions of those online before moving to the people in the room, or vice versa – but pick one and be consistent.
  2. Organising an agreement for one spokesperson to speak on behalf of smaller groups and report back to the wider group.
  3. Using break out rooms, and in-room table activities to simulate face-to-face engagement.

Our facilitators will find the best way for your team, stakeholders or community to interact, adapting each session to ensure effective engagement and real outcomes.

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Benefits of hybrid engagement