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Are hybrid meetings the way to go?

Are hybrid meetings the way to go?

One positive which has arisen from the pandemic is that businesses have reflected on how essential or not it is to travel nationally or internationally to attend meetings and conferences.

Not only do virtual meetings save on commuting times, but people who may not have been able to attend can do so from either the comfort of their own homes or the workplace. You are also seeing people via video so there is a visual contact to some degree.

But there are some disadvantages. I have just read a comment on LinkedIn from a lady who attended a conference where some people were actually present at the conference and some, like her, attended virtually via their computer screens. Nothing wrong with this hybrid way of attending but different issues arise.

Those who are physically attending the conference may well have had a long journey to get there and could be tired as it makes it a long day. But they do at least have the opportunity to move around at say the lunch break and also to feed off the energy of those in the room. It is more difficult to create that ‘buzz in the room’ over a computer screen.

Those attending virtually are constantly concentrating on staring at a screen all day which in itself is tiring and it is easy after a while to lose concentration no matter how interesting the subject matter  you are listening too or watching. This particular conference also expected all attendees to use the lunch break for networking and so, those attending virtually, had no break from the computer screen at all.

Everyone benefits from breaks during the day. Time needs to be factored in to allow complete down time. Breaks where people attending virtually can switch off their screens completely for a designated period of time to coincide with breaks in the conference for those who are present in the room. Allow this time in addition to networking breaks and your attendees will be more refreshed and focused for the rest of the day.