One of the biggest things that annoys me about hybrid meetings is the "Trapped-in-a-Box' effect. This happens when most of the people in a hybrid meeting are in-person in a room together, and you're joining via videoconference (e.g. Zoom, MS Teams)... but the webcam in the room doesn't capture the action of the meeting. Like this:
Here's a hybrid meeting I was in recently. Notice how I can't see who's speaking, while everyone else can.
Has this ever happened to you? It's like you're trapped inside a little box, peeking out, not being able to see everything. This is a horrible experience for those joining your in-person meeting via videoconference, it's a big reason why I post ideas like make someone Chief Inclusion Officer for your hybrid meetings.
Solution: Keep your remote participants close to the action with multiple cams
Thankfully, there's a super simple solution. Plus it's free! AND you're already carrying it around with you.
It's your own mobile phone.
If you're having a meeting, and you're in the room, and others will be joining via videoconference, try this:
- Join the videoconference via your phone (e.g. the Zoom app). You don't need a separate log-in or anything; just the meeting passcode.
- Tap Mute in the app! That's very important, otherwise there'll be an awkward echo.
- Point your phone camera wherever the action is during your meeting. You can prop it up against something on the desk.
That's it! Now everyone who's joining your meeting has two views to see what's going on in the meeting: the main room webcam and your phone camera.
A few other tips:
- Use a cheap little tripod, like in the photo above - this makes it much easier to move the phone around
- Keep a phone camera pointed at the whiteboard, or any wall space where you're creating content going on in the meeting
- Give somebody the job of "roving cam', to move the phone around to capture the action
- Why stop at one? Ask a couple of people in the room to join the videoconference link of the meeting via their phones (and tap mute), especially if the meeting is using several wall spaces for meeting content and capture.
Like a lot of these hacks, it might be weird the first time you try it, but then it will be very welcomed! Give it a go, and you'll see levels of engagement rise in your hybrid meetings.