The New Norm: Hybrid Public Meetings

Bridge remote and in-person environments for a seamless meeting experience

While the COVID-19 crisis will eventually be behind us, whether as the default practice or an emergency contingency, the need for hybrid civic meetings is here to stay. The ability to efficiently and effectively conduct these hybrid meetings need to become a core capability of your technology, processes and planning, so you don’t need to ramp back up each time the need inevitably arises.

While this seems complex and IT-heavy, the good news is that they are not hard to achieve, and eSCRIBE is ready to help you get ahead in planning for your new normal.  

The End of the Old Norm — 4 Key Reasons

  • Traditional dependence on in-room meeting processes is vulnerable to emergency situations
  • The hybrid meeting approach implemented in response to COVID-19 has proven to successfully work
  • Attitudes and comfort levels have changed around meeting in person with heightened awareness of health
  • New motivations to move away from paper-based documents for remote working

What Is a “Hybrid” Meeting?

Simply put, “hybrid” refers to meetings that span both in-person (in a physical space like a council chamber or meeting room) and remote participation (conducted via meeting conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams), and anything on the spectrum in-between.

The New Norm of Hybrid Meetings

3 general meeting formats:

  1. In-person meetings as default, immediately ready to switch to remote under emergency situations
  2. Structured split participation with some attending either in-room or remote based on groups to alternate or rotate
  3. Ad hoc split participation with in-person as default but allowing participants to choose based on preference

3 core components:

  1. The Virtual: the video conferencing system
  2. The Physical: the in-person meeting room
  3. The Bridge: the meeting management system — the glue that holds it all together
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Read Guide to the New Norm for Successful Civic Meetings

Even as restrictions on in-person gatherings are eased with councils and boards start returning to meeting rooms, ongoing needs of maintaining physical distancing, accommodating vulnerable participants and preparing for future emergencies will continue to make hybrid meetings essential for modern democracy. To ensure continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness, the new norm must seamlessly integrate both virtual and physical meeting environments into a single, unified experience. This paper explores the key requirements for future civic meetings and approaches for successfully managing them.

Why eSCRIBE — How We Can Help

To ensure continuity, efficiency, and effectiveness, eSCRIBE seamlessly integrates both virtual and physical meeting environments into a single, unified experience. 

For the two environments to function as a single meeting seamlessly with both groups of participants treated equally, eSCRIBE can manage both environments and their respective participants in real time. Rather than adding complexity, we simplify the meeting administrator’s job by bridging the two environments.

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Not sure where to begin? We offer one free 30-minute consultation with our meeting specialist to review your organization’s current setup and can offer you suggestions for improvements. No strings attached.

Starter Turnkey Package: the Efficiency Bundle

Understanding how to configure a new solution to solve your particular business pain points can be challenging. That’s why we’ve taken the guesswork out of the process by bundling together the most important modules for addressing common requirements, along with all of the support you will need to get up and running in the shortest time possible.

The Efficiency Bundle offers optimized workflows, process automation and real-time tools to streamline and enhance pre-meeting, during-meeting and post-meeting tasks, from agenda creation to publishing minutes on your website. The basic bundle to get you up and running in the shortest time possible.

Modules Included

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Meeting Manager

Optimizes the creation of agendas, minutes and action lists while providing a platform for adding further functionality. It streamlines and automates tasks before, during and after meetings, and allows you to run real-time and remote meetings.

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Participant Portal

Provides security-controlled access through web browsers or eSCRIBE’s iOS and Windows 10 mobile apps. Participants can browse upcoming meeting agendas and reports; download materials for offline review; record comments, follow-up tasks and more.

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Internet Publishing

Helps drive greater transparency through citizen engagement, the Internet Publishing Plus module enables organizations to easily engage stakeholders through their existing website. Content can be published with as little as one click.

Add-On Modules Available

Report Manager

Report Manager provides comprehensive workflows and tools for the preparation, approval and submission of meeting-related reports and items. Easy deadline management and status tracking help reduce last-minute agenda changes, while version control and simultaneous multi-user document editing bolster collaboration.

Webcasting Lite/Plus/Managed

Webcasting provides an end-to-end solution for capturing live and archival video from your council or boardrooms and streaming it live online through your organization’s website with no programming required. Featuring unlimited storage and live and archived streaming of audio and video.

Vote Manager & Request to Speak (RTS)

Leverage Vote Manager to effectively manage Request to Speak (RTS) during member debate and allow participants to enter their votes using the Meetings Pro apps or Browser Portal. Vote Manager supports numerous voting styles including recorded votes of all types, ballots and elections, secret ballot and multiple choice.

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Public Comments

Add on the Public Comments feature (NEW!) and receive comments from citizens before, during and/or after meetings. Comments can be retained as part of the public record or alternatively deleted after the meeting.
Delegation Request Management (DRM)

DRM

Add on the Delegation Request Management (DRM) feature to efficiently manage citizen requests to speak during public meetings through an online form on their existing website.

Meetings Professional Application (iOS or Windows 10)

A real-time application for elected officials and meeting participants to actively participate, vote and request to speak in meetings. (*If Vote Manager & Request to Speak module is enabled)

Approval Manager Application (iOS/Android)

With a few simple taps, users can review and prioritize awaiting approvals, open reports and supporting documents, and approve or reject with comments.

Learn More at Our Webinars

Related Resources

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Amendments to the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act now permit councils, council committees, and local boards to meet virtually during either a municipal or provincial emergency. Learn how AMO’s digital meeting management partner, eSCRIBE, can help your municipality implement electronic meetings so that elected officials and staff can meet virtually and interact through the platform.

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