By Kyle Hall, DTM, VC4, EH2, PDD

In March 2020, due to COVID-19, we were told our clubs could not meet in person.  Many of us moved online, meeting on Zoom.

Our time of enforced isolation may soon be over, however.  (Can you say, “About time!”) 

Our clubs may soon be able to meet in person. We’ll be able to forget all about meeting online…but do we want to forget?  Do we want to go back to how we met in early 2020…or do we want to meet in-person and online, in a hybrid meeting?

What is a Hybrid Club?

A hybrid club is a club that meets both online and in-person.  There are two types of hybrid clubs:

  • Type 1 – A club that meets in-person sometimes…and online at other times
  • Type 2 – A club that meets in-person and online at the same time

Why would we consider changing our club to a Hybrid?

While it is appealing to imagine going back to the way things were, there are some compelling reasons to consider choosing a hybrid format.  Enabling members to continue attending online allows:

  • Our most vulnerable members to protect themselves by staying home
  • Us to continue to welcome guests from long distances away
  • Our club to attract applicants from any location
  • Our members to learn the use and foibles of modern, technology-based communication

What technology is required to hold a Hybrid Club meeting?

If we are talking about a Type 1 hybrid Club, the technology required is the very same technology we’ve been using for the past several months.  When we meet in-person we need our room and our lectern.  When we meet online, we need:

  • High Speed Internet
  • A computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera, speakers/headset/earbuds and microphone
  • A meeting application, i.e. Zoom 

When considering a Type 2 hybrid meeting, we need to think about both the online attendees and the tech required for the in-person part of the meeting:

  • The online attendees need the same tech as they have been using.  (See the Type 1 online requirements above.)
  • The technology needed for the in-person room is:
    • High Speed Internet (Does our meeting room provide this?)
    • A computer with a camera, speakers and microphone
    • An external camera with microphone, that attaches to the computer via a cable (usually a USB cable)
    • A laptop, a way to project it, and possibly a screen
    • A meeting application, i.e. Zoom 

You’ll have noticed the extra ingredient, the external camera with microphone in the list above.  Without this inexpensive tool, the Zoom-master (the person in the room running the Zoom) will have to wave their laptop around, pointing the laptop’s built in camera and microphone at whomever in the room is speaking.  (Can you say, “Awkwaaaaard!”)

The external camera allows us to avoid this situation.  The laptop can sit on the table while the Zoom-master just points a small, fairly innocuous external camera with microphone around the room.

Want to learn more about Hybrid Clubs?

If you want to learn more about Hybrid Clubs, like:

  • How the in-person room should be set up or
  • How having a hybrid club changes some of our meeting roles

join the Nerdmasters Advanced Club on Wednesday night, August 5th at 7:30pm PDT (6:30pm AKT), when we discuss the question, “Do we want a hybrid club?” The discussion will be led by Past District Director, experienced facilitator of hybrid meetings and enthusiastic nerd, Kyle Hall. 

Click to reserve your seat for this intriguing and timely discussion.