No matter where you work, meetings are most likely an integral component of your weekly schedule. As more people choose to work remotely, hybrid meetings have become the norm rather than the exception. But many companies are still figuring out how to make their hybrid meetings as inclusive and effective as traditional in-person ones. Here at Owl Labs, we’ve been embracing hybrid work for over five years, and we’ve learned a lot along the way about how to maximize the effectiveness of those meetings. These are our top tips for getting the most out of your hybrid meetings. 

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Respect everyone's time

Can it be an email?

Meetings can be essential for teams to collaborate and achieve their goals, but that does not mean that more meetings makes teams more effective. There’s a reason the “this meeting could have been an email” meme has been resonating with people for years. That’s why our first rule of thumb for hybrid meetings is to respect everyone's time–don’t schedule a meeting with a goal that could be accomplished with an email.

Shopify took this advice to heart in early 2023 and canceled all recurring meetings with three or more people, and imposed a two-week “cooling off” period before any of those meetings could be rescheduled. This forced everyone to reevaluate the validity of those meetings, and only schedule the ones that are truly providing value to attendees. 

Prepare the space beforehand

The other aspect of respecting everyone's time is making sure the meeting space is prepared before attendees arrive. If you’re in charge of the meeting, that means arriving a few minutes early to ensure all the tech is set up and working. It’s not only a waste of time to force everyone to sit around for the first few minutes of a meeting while those tasks are still being worked on, but it sets a negative tone from the start which can hinder creativity. 

Have an agenda

If you called the meeting, you are the meeting leader. That means it's not only your responsibility to prepare the space beforehand but to create a meeting agenda with clearly defined goals. Remember, if the identified goals are all to update or inform they can be achieved through an email. Meeting goals should all involve active discussions and decision-making. 

Every meeting should have an agenda that is distributed to attendees beforehand so that they can come prepared to dive directly into the work. By having an agenda beforehand you ensure that every minute of a meeting is appropriately utilized and cut down on wasted time.

Invest in the proper technology 

Video conferencing tech


A basic conference phone or web camera is not enough to ensure true hybrid meeting equity. Issues like blurry video, lack of eye contact, and poor audio can immediately derail a hybrid meeting and cause remote workers to feel ignored and undervalued. The crux of any successful hybrid meeting lies in investing in the right technology.

When choosing a video conferencing camera, it’s important to prioritize factors like image quality, software capability (and the possibility of consistent updates), and its place in a broader ecosystem of hybrid tech products. Video conferencing tech should work together to provide a holistic room solution that ensures everyone in the meeting can be clearly seen and heard, no matter where they’re sitting. 

Center-of-the-room products, like our award-winning Meeting Owl 3, do the work for you. The Meeting Owl 3 is a 360-degree camera that uses AI to automatically identify who is speaking and focus on them. These features make the Meeting Owl an incredibly versatile tool that can provide value from the conference room to the classroom, and beyond

While center-of-the-room cameras are a significant step up from a basic web camera, they are still only able to cover a portion of the possible angles in a meeting room. That’s why front-and-center video conferencing solutions represent the cutting edge of hybrid meeting technology. 

The Meeting Owl 3 + Owl Bar are our entry into this space, and together they represent the best technology available for hybrid meetings. The Meeting Owl 3 + Owl Bar work together to solve all of the aforementioned issues by covering every angle of a meeting room to achieve true meeting equity.

Hybrid Whiteboarding


Whiteboards have been a staple of brainstorming for decades and with good reason. Unfortunately, when people aren’t in the same room, using a whiteboard can be frustrating because remote attendees often can’t see the entire board or clearly see what is being written down. Luckily, there are tech tools that can solve that problem!

The Whiteboard Owl by Owl Labs is a dedicated whiteboard camera that can pair with a Meeting Owl 3, or operate as a standalone device. 

“The Whiteboard Owl automatically detects the presenter and makes them transparent, creating a hybrid meeting experience where you don’t lose the content and you don’t lose the context,” said Mark Schnittman, co-founder and CTO, Owl Labs.

What makes the Whiteboard Owl truly special is its AI-driven features: Whiteboard Enhance and Presenter Transparency. Whiteboard Enhance increases the contrast and sharpness of everything that’s written on the whiteboard, making sure remote users can clearly read every word on the board. 

Presenter Transparency removes physical barriers in front of the board, like the person writing things down, giving viewers an uninhibited view of the entire board. Together these features bring brainstorming into the age of hybrid work. 

The Whiteboard Owl is now available in the U.S., U.K., E.U., and Canada.

Facilitate human connection

At the heart of every meeting is the human connection between co-workers. Eye contact is a crucial component of that connection–simply being able to speak with each other is often not enough to bond and collaborate. The right technology helps facilitate face-to-face communication and can bridge the gap between remote and in-person employees. 

We know that hybrid work is here to stay. Organizations need to focus on how to improve the hybrid work experience for their employees and make hybrid meetings a more natural experience. The fundamentals of successful hybrid meetings are the same as in-person ones: well-defined goals, the right attendees, and optimized meeting spaces. These tips are a great place to start.

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