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4 Ways Facilitators Improve Your Hybrid Meetings

Virtual Working | Meetings

Even as many businesses reopen their facilities and welcome employees back to the office, it’s clear that the future of work will look different than the past. According to a Gartner survey, 82 percent of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part-time, making hybrid work the de-facto new normal for most organizations as they contemplate having employees back in the office.. 

As a result, leaders are navigating new challenges as they strive to maintain productivity, optimize efficiency, and promote sustainability among their disparate teams. Without the in-person water cooler, they are turning to meetings to achieve these crucial outcomes. One study found that meetings increased by 13 percent during the pandemic. Even with the increase in meetings, more than half of remote workers worry about being left out of team meetings or important decision-making processes. 

Since effective meetings are, in part, predicated on assigning meeting roles, leaders can lean into this dynamic to enhance hybrid meetings. More specifically, meeting facilitators play a critical role, ensuring that people are involved and meetings are productive and efficient. 

Here are four ways facilitators can play a pivotal role in any hybrid meeting. 

#1 Keep People on Task 

Multitasking eroded meeting effectiveness even before teams were dispersed. However, a recent study of Microsoft employees found that multitasking was six times more likely in hybrid meetings, diminishing outcomes and, ironically, requiring more meetings to make up for lost opportunities. When someone is assigned to be the meeting facilitator, it will be their responsibility to keep everyone in the meeting engaged and keep conversations flowing. 

#2 Help Everyone Feel Included

Without intentional engagement, remote workers can become disconnected from collaborative conversations with their on-site counterparts. Meeting facilitators ensure engagement by soliciting feedback from all participants while clarifying and articulating how decisions are made. 

#3 Manifest Key Agreements & Next Steps 

Without a meetings facilitator, key agreements and next steps can get lost in the mix and forgotten about as soon as the meeting ends. Meeting facilitators ensure clear next steps and deadlines are agreed upon, captured in the moment, and distributed after the meeting. This ensures everyone is clear and held accountable.

#4 Advance the Decision-making Process

In meetings where decisions are made, the decision-making process is crucial and should be known to the group. It is then the facilitator's job to follow this process. They deploy conversational tools and frameworks to help clarify how decisions are made and walk the group through the decision-making process. They help translate decisions into action items.

Conclusion

Meeting facilitators are the superheroes of your meetings. They are the Sherpa and guide around obstacles to get your group from current state to desired future state. They are skilled in managing many stakeholders and complexity.

Having an assigned facilitator makes meetings easier to manage while producing better outcomes in an efficient setting. What’s more, companies don’t have to hire expensive consultants to attend one-on-one or team meetings. Instead, every person on the team should feel comfortable playing the role of facilitator. 

For over 50 years, Interaction Associates has been the premier experts in demonstrating and teaching facilitation skills to the world. It is the secret sauce that can take your company meetings from worst to first. Learn more about managing more effective meetings for a hybrid workforce with our program Essential Facilitation™.

About Nina Fojaco Reed

Nina’s mission is to help her clients connect with the tools and solutions that will help them achieve success in their professional and personal lives. She brings more than 20 years of client support experience and has worked with a broad range of businesses. Her expertise includes strong communication and leadership skills, dedication to exceptional service, and excellent problem-solving capabilities.