Hybrid Meetings

Pandemic Resilience and Hybrid Meetings

We all have heard about the COVID-19 challenges and various resilient behaviors, as well as ways to turn the challenges into strengths. Our educational system along with pioneers in various business sectors and communities are taking meetings and collaboration to another stage! It is called the hybrid model of meetings (or by some academia, it is called a Flexible Learning Environment).

I am a member of the Professional And Technical Consultants Association; PATCA.org. I am also a part-time instructor at UCSC Silicon Valley and Northeastern University. I host professional meetings for the PMI Silicon Valley chapter as well. When the pandemic hit us, we all complied with the shelter in-place orders, taking our jobs to virtual settings. The pandemic created many challenges in different ways. Resilience to various COVID-19 challenges and adapting to the new settings started almost from day one! All educational classes switched to the online version. For me, trying to engage my class/workshop attendees in various case studies, and hands-on practices took longer than I anticipated! However, professional meetings were easier to host and due to the virtual nature of the meetings, we had more attendees to share and learn from each others’ insights.

Now, a couple of years through the pandemic, almost all educational systems (from kindergarten to K12 to advanced learning) are switching to adopt a hybrid model of engagement. We have learned that even though the virtual classrooms enable us to transfer knowledge to larger attendees, it lacks many other factors such as human engagement and behavioral interactions. As an Agile coach and PM/team trainer, I prefer co-located working teams anywhere possible!

As a member of PATCA, I hosted a bi-weekly members’ meeting from the beginning of the shelter-in-place order. However, we have been missing the monthly in-person lunch meetings! With the blessing of our Board of Directors, I volunteered to host a hybrid model of a meeting and evaluate its outcome. Thanks to one of our technical leaders, Richard Bixler helped to set the network equipment during a hybrid lunch meeting and we had a successful meeting on August 24th. As an open conference meeting and open topic meeting, we shared consultants’ challenges and best practices with each other. Below I have listed a few topics from our past meetings.

Some topics PATCA members have covered in the past few meetings include:Hybrid model of PATCA Meeting

  • What is your defensible competitive advantage?  Generalist versus specialist.
  • Consultants and Marketing Activities!
  • CryptoCurrency vs. BlockChain (technology) and the state of the market price, etc. 
  • Does anyone know about available government projects?
  • What are the sources of funding from other foundations and organizations?
  • Collaboration among PATCA members for projects, passing contacts, etc.
  • How to network & plan to quickly gather a team of consultants for a given project?
  • What (marketing activities) worked for you?

COVID-19 Statistics_August2021Regarding the state of vaccination, and as of writing this article, statistics show that over 52% of the US population are fully vaccinated, and health providers are moving to vaccinate the entire population in the fastest way possible. However, we will have further related difficulties until we find a permanent cure for these virus types. Life goes on, and we will find better adoption tactics to any complexity.

My friend Richard Bixler sent this addition; Vaccination rate scales smoothly as vulnerability increases with age range: 55% fully vaccinated age 25 – 39, up to 78% fully vaccinated by higher-vulnerability age 65-74 and even higher above that. Vulnerability is determined as the rate of serious illness and perhaps death; this is probably a more meaningful definition of vulnerability than is case rate. (source: https://usafacts.org/visualizations/covid-vaccine-tracker-states/  There are numerous sources that generally show this trend.)

We found a principal benefit of virtual meetings that was unexpected: broader participation is attracted to meetings virtually than could otherwise attend in person. The question was, could we combine the benefits of both in-person interaction, together with the broader reach of virtual connectivity? From this came the idea of portable and temporary hybrid meeting capability.

I think the pandemic offered us many opportunities! We continuously learn and adapt to our environments. As a professional service provider, I strive to find ways to offer increased value to my clients. As a community servant-leader, I think we shall seek ways to enhance our contribution to our communities in any way we can. Hosting meetings and managing training and educational classes have better outcomes using technology, and combine synchronous in-person and virtual sessions! We are now adapting to “the new norm” from a different angle!

Please let me know your opinion, and insert your comment.

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