9.1 Planning your meeting
Regardless of whether you are the meeting organiser or an attendee, understanding the requirements and expectations for meetings is important. Most people will at some point arrange a meeting, even if it is just with one other person.
Hybrid meetings require some people to be in a physical space together, so you need to allow time to arrange that. Depending on where the meeting is to be held, you need to check availability and suitability of the space for the type of meeting you wish to host and ensure that you are aware of any specific requirements; for example, does the organisation require a risk assessment? This might be the case if you work on unusual or high-risk work and your meetings take place on location, with remote attendees – for example, construction projects or field work. Using a risk assessment form can be helpful to consider the needs of all those participating.
For those attending remotely, check if they have any additional requirements for their ability to participate effectively but also if they are not from within your organisation. If they are not from your organisation, they may require additional guidance on how to join your virtual communications platform, especially if it is one that their own organisation does not use, and they may have to arrange access or seek permission.
Remember that if you are arranging a hybrid meeting, that does not mean you have to be ‘present in the room’; you can join virtually. Prior to the pandemic, I was a remote worker. My organisation’s head office was based three hours away, and my team was in India. While I would set up and chair meetings, the hybrid meetings would involve people in meeting rooms in two or more countries with three or four remote workers joining virtually. It didn’t matter that I was not physically in the same room with any of my team.
As you become more experienced arranging and attending meetings, planning meetings becomes second nature, you will devise your own system and practices and often it will be larger or more complex meetings which will require more focused time to plan. However, even if you are having a 1:1 meeting, it is useful to plan what you want to cover.