Flex Basics
September 29, 2023

Hybrid Meetings Don’t Have to be Painful: 5 Tactical Tips that Work

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Brian Elliott
Executive Advisor, Co-Founder, & Author
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The hybrid meeting experience of today often leaves much to be desired. You struggle to hear or be heard, which takes a toll on both team morale and productivity. To further complicate matters, distributed teams have now become the new norm: recent Microsoft data shows that as of April 2023, 66% of teams are distributed across cities.

This isn’t a new problem: for 20 years, I’ve led companies and teams where people are spread out across cities, not just buildings. The only difference is now we’ve all been exposed to the challenges of hybrid meetings given the experiences of the last few years.

In this article, I’ll share the five best tips I’ve seen work time and time again to improve the experience of attending and participating in hybrid meetings.

5 Tips for Better Hybrid Meetings

Let's begin by addressing a common scenario: not everyone is physically present in the same room; instead, there's a primary 'main room' where the majority of participants are located. Meanwhile, others join remotely, either individually or in what used to be termed as 'remote offices.'

This situation often leads to a less-than-ideal experience, characterized by the dominance of the main room in discussions, leaving remote participants feeling like outsiders and sometimes struggling to hear and engage in the conversation.

Tip #1: Assign a Hybrid Meeting Moderator

Someone whose job it is to make sure those dialed in can hear and be heard. They’re dialed in themselves so they can easily access the chat. If the room’s big, they’re near the screen. A big part of their job is ensuring rule #2.

💡 Pro Tip: Besides being dialed into the chat and watching who’s on, they’re actively encouraging participation by reaching out to those dialed in.

Tip #2: Video Wins

The main room can easily dominate the conversation. The moderator and person leading the meeting need to intentionally rebalance: the person who’s dialing in remotely wins over the room.

💡 Pro Tip: Judgment always needs to be applied, but tipping the balance back to the center is critical.

Tip #3: Prepare Ahead

Leveraging tools can help you coordinate time in the office (Scoop is a great example), but also who’s in vs. who needs a dial-in. Make sure there’s a video link, and access to the documents, in the meeting invite.

💡 Pro Tip: Does someone else have a document to share? Leverage your moderator to make sure it’s in everyone’s hands!

Tip #4: One Laptop Per Person

There’s some great technology coming out these days, but you can make this work with even the most basic setups. Use the in-room AV for video and one open mic, but if everyone has a laptop open and dialed in, you can access chat, polls, and, most importantly, shared documents. Everyone dialed in has the audio (and mic) off.

💡 Pro Tip: Put laptop stands on conference room tables as a reminder of this best practice!

Tip #5: Keep Exec Review Virtual-Only

Those weekly CPO, CMO, and CTO review sessions are often the one shot someone junior on the team gets every six months. The power dynamics are also a mess — who sits where? Do I need to be “in the room where it happens?” Level the playing field and focus on content and conversation by going digital.

💡 Pro Tip: Don’t book a conference room.


Not everything works for hybrid meetings. If someone’s home for personal reasons, they’re going to miss the team lunch and more. But making sure people can participate in debates, decisions, and important discussions is critical to team success. In an increasingly distributed world, we need to learn to make meetings more effective and inclusive. Hybrid meetings are becoming the norm – they don’t have to be painful.

About the Author

Brian Elliott
Executive Advisor, Co-Founder, and Author

Brian Elliott is an executive advisor focused on the future of work, co-founder of Future Forum, and author of the bestseller, "How the Future Works."

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