In the Fall of 2020, HTI announced that all of its facilitated events would be virtual throughout the entire year of 2021. Some people looked at me like I had lost my mind. I should have suspected then that many people would be ready to move to in-person events way sooner than that. Other than one 2-hour meeting in the summer of 2020 in Carrollton County, I have not ventured to facilitate in-person since the pandemic shifted our everything.
What irony that my first multi-day in-a-pandemic in-person facilitation would be on one of the days that SEAF (South East Association of Facilitators) offered a workshop on Creating Harmonious Hybrid Meetings with Erin Martin. And lo and behold, there was a hybrid component to our in-person multi-day retreat of 10 people in order to follow safety precautions. Folk even flew into town for this one. And we worked really hard to make the travel worth it.
These questions are emerging in all parts of my life - to Hybrid or not to Hybrid and if t, then HOW? In my workspace, in my faith community, and for friends and family gatherings. In fact, I just attended a funeral in Brooklyn virtually that was hybrid and I found it to be a satisfying experience to be able to hear the wonderful stories about an amazing woman from the comfort of my home. I was even able to cry more freely.
These words used to describe hybrid meetings by the participants at the SEAF meeting are evidence that there is a great deal of angst, anxiety and tension around the preparation required and facilitation of hybrid meetings. (Thanks for sharing, Erin)
Yikes! Necessary yes. Evil, I certainly hope not.
Here are a few tips and tools that can improve the hybrid experience greatly. And perhaps eliminate the evil and keep the necessary.
Tips and Tools
Get over yourself. Joining meetings and gatherings virtually is not going away - ever.
If you crave in-person, do so in smaller groups but don’t let that desire impact decisions such that those who choose to stay away from in-person gatherings are excluded.
The tools do exist to make hybrid gatherings work:
360-degree camera, mic, and speaker. It creates the experience of in-person participation and integrates easily with virtual meeting tools. And you can hear everybody when they speak. Supplement the 360 camera with individuals throughout the space logging in as well for better visuals of the speakers who are in person.
A large screen at one end of the room that everyone can see with limited obstructions.
Use online breakout rooms to build connections with virtual and in-person participants. Avoid us and them thinking.
Collaboration tools such as Jamboard, Padlet, Poll Everywhere and IdeaBoardz have replaced flipcharts and whiteboards and that’s a good thing. Not only is collaboration possible in hybrid spaces, but the collaboration can also easily continue after the meeting.
This padlet was a warehouse for the resources being compiled by three small groups that were digging deeply into one (or a few) of the pillars of society to understand how racism operates in that context and discover what they can do towards the dismantling and re-creation of these systems.
So whether you call it Blended learning, Hybrid meetings, or something we come to call it in the next few years, get used to it. I was so proud of my faith community’s ability to pull off a seamless virtual meeting on the first Sunday that we returned to in-person worship.
And when we meet in person, I look forward to seeing you. All 360 degrees.
CEO, HTI Catalysts
Additional TOOLS for HYBRID MEETINGS
Miro - Online collaborative whiteboarding platform that enables distributed teams to work together as if they were gathered around a whiteboard with markers & sticky notes. Watch the full recording
Slido - Offers collaborative features to engage participants, such as live polls, Q&A, quizzes, and word clouds. Watch the full recording.
Seshboard: A brand new video conferencing tool that combines the best of the online and offline workshop-world by allowing for exercises like Circle conversations with a talking stick and line-games. Watch the full recording
Piccles: A collaborative drawing tool for the online world that does not want to remain stuck in front of the computer screen but off into the world and still co-create. Watch the full recording
What others have you tried?
Let's Learn and Grow Together
HTI is offering this new certification beginning this Fall. The field of instructional design has existed for many years. With today's technological advances, it is becoming a valuable profession to be in. Gaining certifications and learning new skills online through a Learning Management System (LMS) has increased since the pandemic began. Systems such as Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and the celebrity-driven Masterclass platforms are becoming household names.
HTI Catalysts is launching our very own LMS and we have an acclaimed instructional designer, David Littles, who is building our system, and facilitating the curricula along with our team. Our courses engage the hybrid approach of learning with facilitated components. This certification will position its recipients with the tools and knowledge to break into this lucrative that has a growing demand.
Visit our site for an in-depth look at the key responsibilities and skill sets of instructional designers - and learn how you can kick start your career in this field today.
The Enrollment questionnaire closes Friday, Sept. 17th at 11:59 PM EST
Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis and will end by Friday, Sept. 24th
Orientation will be October 14th, 5 PM - 6:30 PM EST
(Hold Thursday evening beginning October 21st for virtual sessions, time TBD at Orientation)
Listening 4 Justice
We are learning & unlearning
Let's Harambee!! (pull together) at this year's annual gathering. Prepare to join us for a weekend of connections, introspection, celebration & discovery. We are planning to kick off the weekend with connections on Thursday evening, October 14th and culminate Sunday afternoon, October 17th. This isn't an action-packed event; there will be downtime for introspection and reflection away from your computers. We encourage you to pick and choose which parts to participate in when the agenda comes out.
"I appreciated hearing Folami and others' personal reactions to the content because it helps me empathize more deeply and recognize my own limited worldview and ways in which I am not really internalizing the content. I appreciated that it didn't feel like this was just for white people. The interracial dynamic in L4J seemed to be more balanced and productive and I learned from hearing the perspective of people of color. I liked the affinity group model and Harambee group model as well." - L4J Participant
LISTENING 4 Justice Winter '22 : January 16th - February 6th.
This experience will either take place on a Tuesday or a Saturday. Select Your Preference Below
HTI Catalysts utilizes facilitated experiences to shift leaders and communities towards equity and shared visioning that impact change. Our three areas of focus include Advancing Equity, Youth Development, and Education Transformation.