What do you need to prepare a toastmasters’ hybrid meeting?

posted in: Tutorial | 0

Work in progress… but… read..

We have been asked around because in our group, we do meetings hybrid. Although in-person events are always preferred, we have found that they have some more advantages than disadvantages.

  • When you can attend, but cannot make it in person, due to time, sick children, tired, sick, .or you are on a trip 3000km way and you want to come….you name it.
  • Guests from all aroudn the world can come, and will enrich the meeting, specially if they actually do a General Evaluation of the meeting!

How to set it up?

The minimum is a laptop, with a webcam and a microphone. You can use a mobile phone with zoom installed as an additional microphone or camera and microphone. The other microphone might be necessary to put it closer to the speaker. The laptop can also act as an screen and also microphone! This probably isn’t helping you at this time… but bear with me.

There should be another person with a laptop for the timer. Some resources here https://tampere.toastmasters.fi/resources/ that I copy paste in this post.

Download backgrounds -> [link] [General INFO: click here]. I found a cool web for timer [here], and this one that can remove the countdown [here], and this other one can add the names [here].

Another person should take the feedback from the Chat to the participants, if they are members, they can just picture it and send it via WhatsApp (we have a group where we have the numbers as well), or the other way around… we can forward it to the person WhatsApp ‘pasting” the comment to web.whatsapp.com. it is rudimentary, but honestly, this is the easiest for everyone.

This person can also take care of the vote counting, but also another person can take this role, and yes, another laptop. Yes, this means a lot of laptops, but the rule is that no one should use the computer during speeches.

We do meet in a start-up community hub at this very moment, so we have a meeting room. If you have access to it, it is recommended. We did not buy anything, but we are in tech and work remotely a lot. But of course, you can buy stuff, it is useful nevertheless.

We’ll meet in a room with two big tables. If there were a stage… things would be a bit different, so I will not focus on that yet.

We have a big tv with an HDMI connection. 

Overview of the room

We usually put a camera to the top of the tv (belongs to the hub-community), which is a Logitech 920 or so. The important thing here is the FOV (field of view), so it should have a good FOV of 78 (like the C925e 99usd or the C922 99usd); for the big overview, the biggest I found from Logitech (normal prices) is the 930e business webcam 130usd which has 90 degrees of FOV. You can also use the Razer Kiyo Camera which has 81.6 degrees of FOV.

Close UP

For the close-up, we have used the Razer Kiyo web Camera (100usd… depends), now since it is black friday I found it for 80 Euros in Finland.

It turned out like that, but sometimes, we had just one camera, sometimes two, sometimes we improvised with the phones, sometimes with the laptop! Since all the devices are ours, and we are not always coming.


The other thing… is the microphone. The good thing about this one is that it has a speaker. It is not strictly necessary, but it is helpful. We have used the Jabra Speak 510. It also captures better the sound because it has an array of microphones and does some ‘smart’ beamforming to enhance the audio, and also removes noise meanwhile. Sometimes we have used this device with the enclosure (https://www.minidsp.com/products/usb-audio-interface/uma-8-microphone-array) which is usually used in research (I am a Researcher and I have worked with these things). You should add the enclosure. But this does not have the speaker. There is a version which you can attach a speaker. I would go with the Jabra though, it is just much easier, and has the speaker.

Bear in mind that the webcams we mentioned, also have microphones, so you can use their microphone, and also the speakers from the laptop. It all depends on how high the volume goes on the laptop. The microphone from the laptop can also be used if it is a decent one. Nowadays, many come with at least an array of two microphones (it is seamless) so you dont see.

As you see, it is a world of opportunities. Whenever I have more time I will extend this post, within the next days, to put some scenarios. Hopefully, you can build some scenarios as well.

Written by Jose Maria Perez-Macias
VP Membership 21/22
PhD researcher – Health Scientist