Many people have complained that hybrid meetings with on-site participants and online participants are the most difficult to conduct and there are often problems. However, many of these problems occur due to meeting behaviours that are unsuitable for this format and can be changed, which is why this course is being offered in meeting technique or rather meeting behaviour.

“The course focuses on meeting technique in demanding circumstances such as hybrid meetings. What do you need to be watchful for in your role as chair of the meeting, such as when several people speak over the top of each other in the room,” says Svante Agnestig, course coordinator and system administrator at University Administration.

For those who meet physically in the room, a way of speaking to each other can quickly develop and those who are participating online can get completely excluded. This can happen in a team where people have enjoyed working together but poorly conducted hybrid meetings create new work environment problems can mean that staff start feeling bad instead.

Developed over a number of years

The best way to describe the course perhaps is how it came about. Svante Agnestig was working at the university in Gotland (the former Högskolan i Gotland) at the time of its merger with Uppsala University.

“At the time of the merger, the number of video meetings just exploded and it took some years before the technical equipment worked as it should,” says Svante Agnestig. “I was still getting reports of poor sound quality, but we measured and checked the audio and found that everything was working properly – technically. The problem was not with the equipment but the meeting behaviours. The technology has limitations and if you don’t take those limitations into account, that’s when you get problems. That was when I created the first incarnation of the course in meeting technique.

“When the pandemic started, a second version of the course was produced and now it’s time for the third version of the course, which focuses on hybrid meetings.

“It’s the most difficult form of meeting,” says Svante Agnestig.

Important that the meeting chairs take the course

Svante Agnestig emphasises how important it is that people who have the role of meeting chair or who facilitate or lead hybrid meetings take the course. Of course, participants at hybrid meetings can also benefit from the course and help to minimise poor meeting behaviours, but it’s important that the person who is leading the meeting knows which behaviours cause problems.

The technical equipment

Nevertheless, many of us have experienced hybrid meetings where there have been problems with the technical equipment and computer programs, or with people not knowing how to use the equipment.

“The best thing is to train the participants in how to use the technical equipment when you aren’t actually holding a real meeting. Book an AV technician via your Campus Management and ask for training in how to use the equipment in a meeting room with the AV technician so that you build know-how and feel more comfortable and confident with the equipment,” says Pelle Lindé, Business Solution Manager at University Administration.

“But regardless of the technical equipment, the same requirements apply for audio etiquette and meeting behaviours. In this course we go through the requirements for audio etiquette, meeting behaviours and meeting technique regardless of the technical equipment you are using,” says Svante Agnestig.