With limited capacity gathering feasible, some Toastmasters clubs started hybrid meetings that allow both in-person and online attendance. This blog post will look at pointers on how to create the best hybrid experience and how to tackle some challenges that can arise.
When several countries shut down banning social gatherings of all kinds, Toastmasters meetings shifted online. People worked on their online presentation skills, staying mute, online clapping without interrupting, engaging backgrounds and more. This transition also allowed members all over the world to travel internationally without the actual hassle of travelling which boosted membership in many clubs.
Basic Set-Up for Hybrid Meetings
- Ensure the virtual visitors can see the screen stage whilst being amidst the crowd. This is one sure shot way of ensuring experience.
- If an in-person attendee wants to use a visual aid for a speech, the best way is to share the presentation online too. So, the visual aid is visible to everyone.
- The agenda must be shared on the chat
- One must ensure there is a guest-greeter even in online space to welcome guests and answer any questions.
Virtual Visitor Experience
I am the B24 Area Director for District 42 Toastmasters. Two of my rural clubs have tried hybrid meetings. For one this is an excellent opportunity for me as they are distant and I don’t drive. Second, I believe rural clubs can benefit the most form hybrid clubs as they have good attendance and can have members from all over the world. The in-person attendees were visible and audible.
One of the things that stood out for me is the voting. When we had to vote for the Best Table Topic Speaker, the vote counter was in person but he couldn’t sit near the laptop. He had shared his number for everyone to send the votes to. Both the clubs have recorded good attendance in their meetings when the shift was online.
Hybrid Meetings: Some Challenges
Some challenges to note are:
- Stable Wifi Connectivity
- Laptop Availability
- In-person attendees must RSVP to comply with Safety Norms.
So, go ahead try out a Hybrid Experience. Find additional tips here.