Evolution is a natural part of life. As a result, so is extinction. In the natural habitat of the meeting and travel planning of any corporation, this process is no different. Process and technology are continually evolving, which means that the old, outdated way is constantly being placed on the endangered list, and eventually becoming extinct altogether.
Virtual meetings and events, a critical component to a Strategic Meetings Management strategy and program, provide an organization with expanded options to communicate and broaden a meeting planner’s toolbox of viable delivery solutions. By definition, a virtual meeting provides for live or archived communications, education, and gatherings among small to large, local to global attendees connected through digital technology(s) to accomplish a common goal. There are no limitations on virtual meeting types; in fact, even an incentive meeting may include a virtual gathering leading up to an in-person meeting.
The benefits of using virtual technologies for meetings include scalability, work/life balance, access to experts, replay opportunities, immediacy and reach to broad audiences, multilingual capabilities, carbon emission reduction and cost avoidance, and return on engagement and investment metrics.
Content engagement is best designed by either an expert in adult learning, e.g. an instructional designer, or a virtual meeting storyboard expert who can create the best experience for the participants. Hybrid meeting success is often measured by keeping attendees engaged by the use of an emcee so that the remote attendees have the same experience as the in-person attendees. For hybrid or all-virtual meetings, this can be accomplished by the use of:
• Highly engaging, great speakers that vary intonation
• Question and answers via surveys or polling
• Videos that pertain to the content of the meeting
• Application sharing and demos of product or service
• Virtual break-out rooms that reconvene with each team sharing the outcome of the break-out
• Whiteboard exercises and annotations among participants
• Gamification, including participant voting for escalating topics during meetings
As well, expected virtual meeting outcomes and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to maximize efficiency and value include:
• Increased number of touchpoints with participants
• Knowledge improvement
• Level of success of meetings
• Cost avoidance and carbon emissions reductions
Three tiers of virtual meetings, categorized by complexity, return on investment and engagement, content storyboarding, and support required, offer a framework for designing the right delivery configurations, preferred suppliers, and a rate card “buffet” for stakeholders to choose from based on their requirements and budget. Each tier may include multiple live, on-demand, and simulcast configuration options that can all be priced in-advance with a consistent pricing methodology and rates for the duration of a supplier’s contract, i.e., 3 years, globally, regionally, or locally. As such, the service fits into the Strategic Meetings Management solution as another option for planners to offer their meeting stakeholders and can be sourced every three years through Procurement.
Virtual meetings have emerged into our day-to-day business and personal routines. Use the right supplier, in the right virtual meeting tier, for the right use case, at the right price in your Strategic Meetings Management program, and your organization will experience a highly valued delivery solution that complements the in-person meetings.
To learn more about the new normal and how to prepare for the changes in travel, meetings, and events worldwide, download the complimentary titled, Prepare for a Changed World, which delivers timely peer to peer advice from leading travel managers, meeting planners, procurement, TMCs, and industry partners.