Hybrid meeting and Kim’s law

Josh Kim recently proposed the “Kim’s law” of hybrid meeting. It was a response to the observation that hybrid zoom / in-person meetings are generally terrifying. These are much worse than completely private or completely remote meetings.

I have to agree with the observation. I had a few hybrid meetings and they were disastrous. It was almost impossible to strike an equal balance between the methods, so one or the other team was silenced at any given time. (Not most, it was a remote group.) Completely remote meetings have become a etiquette, and completely private meetings last forever. But they go together like tuna fish and hot fudge.

However, “Kim’s law” offers an out. As he wrote, “If a high-ranking person or persons attend a mixed-person and zoom meeting at Zoom, the meeting will be great. Or at least Zoom is great for people. “

Uh, yes and no. The key difference between the meeting itself and the larger culture.

The meeting itself can go reasonably well. Of course if the college president zooms in on a meeting and wants to talk, people will listen. But beyond a compelling reason, the message it will send is about distance and arrogance. This will almost certainly cause annoyance, especially if it becomes frequent.

I heard the story of one of my predecessors who used a disabled parking space whenever he was in a hurry. He had no disability. I don’t know how many times he did it, but I’ve been hearing about it for years. People noticed that he did it and they guessed a certain attitude from it, right or wrong. This is something that people come to conclusions from.

(The opposite may also be true. A few years ago someone came up to me in the parking lot and tried to smash my chops. He opened up and said “I want to see what kind of car you drive!” I gestured this and said, “Oh! A Ford!” They both laughed.)

I could see Kim’s law playing similarly over time. “Oh, so we have to show up, but don’t you?”

Again, on a very short-term basis for an obvious reason, it might be okay. I think someone here is calling in a sick condition. But as a regular practice, I would strongly advise against it. Long-term cultural damage will not be worth it.

Wise and worldly readers, what do you think? Is there a way to make hybrid meetings less scary?

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