Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had on everyday life, there were a lot of changes made to the way businesses and organizations operate. There has been a constant rise of online meetings, and with the great help of Zoom, online meetings with live interpretation became a pretty common occurrence.

Some still like the experience of onsite meetings, but run into the trouble of team members being unable to join in person. This is when hybrid meetings come into play.

If the team in charge does a good job, the participants never think twice of how complicated it can be to run a hybrid meeting. I have had the pleasure of joining these meetings, sometimes onsite, and sometimes as part of the Zoom support team. Here I want to point out some things I found to be crucial for a smooth sailing meeting from the point of view of the team in charge of interpretation.

I would first like to emphasize the importance of having every person on the team in constant communication, from interpreters and onsite technicians to the tech support that joined over Zoom. This way problems can be detected on time and solved in a speedy manner. The second thing I would recommend to anyone about to host a hybrid meeting is to check in advance the speed and stability of the internet offered at the venue. If it is not up to par think about having a back up connection that day. Another option is to have a WiFi booster just in case.

If the meeting is scheduled to start in the morning, best case scenario is to set the equipment up the day before. This will give the team enough time to test not only the tools but also the Zoom connection. When it comes to equipment you should make sure to have multiple computers available: one for each language channel, one for sharing presentations and one for room sound and video. For good sound you should use sound cards and audio expander. It would be best if you can have an HD camera onsite that is connected to Zoom, this way remote participants will feel less distant from the people onsite. This also gives you the opportunity to make a quality recording of the meeting using Zoom’s cloud recordings. It is very easy to use and in the end you will have a good recording of all language channels. Tech should make good use of the spotlighting options on Zoom, this will make interactions between people in the room and online so much easier, and it will also look very neat on the recording.

Having an agenda made on time is important for every meeting, but in this case especially. Together with the agenda and Zoom link I’d advise to share the basic “house rules” with the participants, both online and onsite, mainly to keep their mics muted whenever they are not speaking. Avoiding background noise will help the interpreters do their job smoothly, but it will also prevent sound feedback and echoes.

One last tidbit I want to share with you is not crucial, but it is very nifty and convenient. Check out Zoom’s AI Companion. Anyone late to the meeting can use it to catch up to what happened before they joined, and at the end of the meeting the host will have a meeting summary they can use when making reports.

Dragoman is trusted by UN and EU organizations and global brands, whether the meeting in question is online, onsite or hybrid.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or doubts.