Leading hybrid team presentations, where some participants are remote and others are sitting together in a room, presents unique challenges in facilitation and delivery as well as building connection and engagement.
Here are five steps to get your team in sync so you lead and deliver effective hybrid presentations.
Whether pitching to prospects, delivering client work, reporting to the board of directors or investors, defining what you want to communicate as a team is of utmost importance. Planning for hybrid delivery logistics is also necessary, but don’t overcompensate for them and lose sight of the meeting’s purpose in the process. Ensuring everyone on your team clearly understands your primary objective will enable you to lead and engage with participants, on screen and in the room, with more confidence and cohesion.
Designating team member responsibilities ahead of presenting is critical. The scope of each person’s role will vary depending on the size of your group. At minimum, one person should act as meeting host (and/or primary presenter) and one should act as producer, handling technology and other logistics both before and during the session. Appointing a chat facilitator to monitor the video platform chat box and respond to questions and comments is also recommended. Adding a scribe or notetaker is also helpful when there are multiple participants, agenda items and discussion points.
Ensuring everyone presents their best self both on- and offscreen reflects a strong, unified team. Expect that people will look up team members on LinkedIn before and during the meeting. Prepare for this by making sure everyone has a current profile that conveys helpful information about them and your company.
Ahead of time, also discuss guidelines for what the entire team is going to wear — both those remote and those attending in-person — ensuring everyone has the same level of formality/informality (so you don’t have one person in a suit jacket and another in a golf shirt).
All participants should plan to engage as if they are in the room, including those participating remotely. It’s important they keep their video on during the session and pay attention (vs. overtly doing other things).
No matter how much you prepare for things to run smoothly, also plan for what you’ll do (and who will be responsible) if things go awry. Thinking through plausible “what if’s” ensures a more calm and collective response to surprises. How will you communicate if you need to address an issue quickly (and quietly) during the presentation? Group text or email is an option, but you also should consider how to monitor them subtly, so you avoid several faces conspicuously looking down at phones or second screens.
Another challenge to plan for is when a remote presenter/facilitator loses connection and can’t readily reconnect. Make sure you have someone who can take over and keep things moving so the meeting flow is only impacted momentarily.
Coordinating timing and transitions is essential when two or more team members plan to speak during the session. Regardless of where the presenters will be (in the same room, remote, or split locations), don’t skip rehearsing together! Not only should you rehearse with the same platform you’ll use live, but the entire team should also sit through at least one rehearsal so they’re aware of key talking points and flow.
Set the specifics of how long each of you will speak (and who will keep track of time), how to hand things off to the next presenter and who will cover what in a Q&A. Transitions are especially important when refocusing the audience from an on-site to remote speaker and vice versa.
Conducting effective hybrid presentations and meetings as a distributed team isn’t easy, but you can succeed by going the extra mile in preparation. Taking time to focus on the session purpose, while coordinating details of role, presence and contingencies, will strengthen team cohesion and lead to effective, engaging sessions that stay focused on your goals.