Just as associations mastered how to run virtual board meetings, they need a high level of expertise for hosting effective hybrid ones. The hybrid format often brings more challenges than meeting in person or virtually. Here’s some advice for hosting inclusive and effective hybrid board meetings from two associations that were successful.
Prioritize Culture and Purpose
American Academy of Neurology (AAN) CEO Mary Post, CAE, who helped plan a hybrid board retreat last spring, said it’s important to focus on board culture and the meeting’s purpose.
“Some key things they need to think about when they come together: What is the culture? What are the governing norms?” Post said. “How do they ensure, in this hybrid environment, that the setup is good to provide the right outcome for the purpose of that meeting? It all has to come into consideration in terms of how you intentionally engage those who are virtual [participants] meaningfully in the same way that you are engaging those that are there in person.”
Make Sure Technology Is a Help, Not a Hindrance
When some people are in the room and others are online, virtual participants can sometimes feel left out. Jason Yusko, CAE, director of information technology at the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA), has helped shepherd several hybrid board meetings and says using cameras correctly can make virtual participants feel more included.
“In my mind, it’s pointless to have a wide angle. When you have someone speaking, you really can’t tell who it is,” Yusko said. “We try to handle that human aspect of it by—as people are speaking—zooming in on them.”