The rise of virtual meetings has coincided with the increased popularity of mobile devices, social media, and other technology used to connect potential event attendees from all over the world. People are working and communicating remotely, and events are often following suit, as virtual meetings enable event hosts to reach broader audiences and tap into the potential of an increasingly connected world.
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits and essential considerations of virtual meetings.
How Virtual Meetings Drive Engagement
A virtual meeting can solve a number of problems for event planners. Concerned about attendance numbers with an audience hailing from far-flung locales? What about accounting for your attendee’s travel expenses and time away from work? Virtual meetings give attendees from around the world a medium to exchange information without many of the logistical hurdles associated with traditional events.
Also, consider the fact millennials—your likely core base of attendees—are connected to technology unlike ever before. Virtual events, by nature, require attendees to use technology to connect to the event and engage with hosts, presenters, and other attendees. Pairing your virtual meeting itself with other popular technology such as mobile devices (e.g., event apps) and social media may provide a more seamless experience for content engagement and drive conversations well after the event ends.
While virtual meetings offer many benefits, event planners must address a unique set of obstacles due to a dependence on technology. Consider the following:
- What type of content is shared and how will presenters be sharing it? Various technologies such as webinar platforms, live streaming services, and video conferencing may need to be identified.
- Will you have sufficient bandwidth to ensure all attendees enjoy seamless access?
- Are there tools in place for everyone to interact with one another?
- How will you hold attendees accountable when virtual environments often lead to shorter attention spans?
Understanding virtual meetings and planning in advance gives event hosts time to address these different challenges.
The Hybrid Meeting
Many companies and organizations opt for a hybrid meeting—in other words, a traditional face-to-face event with an option for additional attendees to join remotely. Hybrid meetings offer the best of both worlds and give those who prefer face-to-face interactions the chance to attend in person. Virtual attendees also get to experience a more traditional meeting from afar, as a core set of presenters and attendees in one space enables event hosts to structure the event similar to a conventional meeting.
Everlasting Value of In-Person Interactions
The vast majority of people still prefer face-to-face meetings for social interaction and building long-term relationships. A digital environment simply cannot replicate the human factor. Event hosts shouldn’t go overboard and ditch in-person meetings all-together—especially for the most important events of the year.
Picking which events should remain in-person and those better suited for a hybrid or fully-virtual approach are vital for hosts trying to balance evolving technology trends with the importance of networking and other factors where seeing other attendees in person remains a perk.
The Bottom Line
Virtual events offer untapped potential to reach broader audiences around the world. Balancing the potential for increased exposure with the value of in-person interactions is critical to keep in mind as event planners weigh the pros and cons of every meeting type. A sound strategy to implement the right technology—for the right event—ensures companies and organizations leveraging a virtual meeting will maximize its many benefits.