How To Plan In-Person Meetings For Dispersed Teams
Let’s face it: there’s more to setting up an in-person meeting than shooting off an invite and waiting for people to accept it. Planning in-person meetings is always a little tricky, and for hybrid teams, it can be even more complex, as it requires careful consideration and preparation to ensure maximum productivity and engagement for all participants. Read on for some tips to help you plan successful in-person meetings for your hybrid team.
Establish Clear Objectives
Before organizing an in-person meeting, clarify the purpose and objectives. Define what you want to achieve and the outcomes you expect from the meeting. This clarity will guide the agenda, help participants prepare, and ensure everyone understands the meeting’s relevance.
Tip: Even if the main goal of the meeting is to review performance or a specific project, allot some time to ask how your coworkers are doing personally, such as asking if they’re feeling burned out. While focussing on specific projects and outcomes can provide direction in the short-term, take advantage of your time together to create meaningful connections that will strengthen your team’s culture.
Consider everyone’s schedules when selecting the meeting date and time. Additionally, share the meeting agenda and any pre-meeting materials in advance, allowing participants to prepare and contribute. For coworkers who are accustomed to working in a hybrid style, consider discussing ahead of time why an in-person meeting is being scheduled. Why? So that these coworkers won’t needlessly jump to conclusions regarding the meeting’s purpose. For example, if the purpose is a performance or project-based conversation that requires some planning, inform your team members so they can come prepared for the discussion.
Tip: As we all know since the pandemic began, it’s possible that some of your coworkers have adopted more flexible schedules due to personal reasons (like lack of childcare). Therefore, before sending an invite, consider privately asking each team member if there are any days or times that create challenges for them.
Engage Remote Members
Remember, not everyone will be able to attend in person. That’s okay. Still, it’s important to make remote team members an active part of the meeting. Use video conferencing tools to include them virtually and ensure they have a clear view of the meeting room and participants. Encourage them to actively participate by assigning specific roles, soliciting their input, and leveraging collaborative tools to foster engagement.
Tip: If you schedule in-person meetings and only some team members can attend, have all attendees dial in by video or phone. Allow those in the office to use their own laptops so everyone’s experience is the same.
Choose the Right Venue
Select a venue that accommodates both in-person and virtual participation. Ensure the meeting space is equipped with reliable technology for seamless communication and presentation sharing. And be sure to test the audiovisual setup in advance to minimize technical difficulties and ensure all participants can hear and see clearly.
Tip: If you’re booking a meeting room at CENTRL, our support staff will take care of any and all your technical requirements.
Foster Collaboration and Engagement
Design the meeting agenda to encourage collaboration and engagement among all participants. Incorporate interactive activities, breakout sessions, and opportunities for both in-person and remote team members to share their perspectives.
Tip: Create an inclusive environment where all team members have equal opportunities to contribute. Encourage active participation from remote team members by explicitly seeking their input, addressing them by name, and leveraging digital tools that allow for real-time feedback.
As hybrid work increasingly shifts to being the rule more than the exception for many companies, we are all going to need to embrace new ways of keeping our team members engaged and productive. Planning face-to-face meetings for dispersed teams requires thoughtful preparation and consideration for both in-person and remote participants. If you’re thinking about scheduling a meeting here at CENTRL, don’t hesitate to reach out, whether it’s for advice, or questions about our spaces, amenities, or anything else. We’re here to help!