70% of meeting planners are shifting upcoming face-to-face meetings to a virtual meeting
Face-to-face meetings have been replaced by virtual meetings due to Covid-19. Sometimes it feels like we have lost the true purpose of meetings which is “connecting” with the other parties involved in the meeting.
Before you set up another of those “virtual meetings” it would be wise to take some advice from Nigel Brown, Director Marketing & Partnerships of BestCities Global Alliance.
The sweet spot is 1 hour for a virtual event going up to at most 2 hours.
It is key to brief your speakers so they are to the point and keep time, as overruns will be disastrous for the rest of your program. Make sure to build in some buffer between sessions for participants to grab a coffee and for your team to reset and prepare for the next live sessions.
You should include networking in every virtual event you are running, because it makes your participants feel part of the event when they can interact with others.
Decide what content could be pre-recorded and what needs to go live.
Identify the right platform; for webinars and networking style sessions go for Zoom and GoToWebinar. YouTube and Vimeo are best to store pre-recorded videos and embed them in your virtual event. Live broadcasting, and integrated virtual event solutions like OnAir from EventsAir can be used for integrating everything from registration right through to delivery.
Converting your virtual audience to a face-to-face audience post-Covid-19
What can you do now to capitalize on opportunities post-Covid-19?
- Identify people registering for your events who are not part of your core audience. Who are they? What made them register for your event? This allows you to start profiling this group with the aim of converting them into customers.
- Have a rethink of all the events you deliver throughout the year. Do they need to be face-to-face or can they be virtual? Can you offer a hybrid meeting solution to bring together the face-to-face and virtual worlds?
- Explore new opportunities in underserved regions or segments. Are there possibilities to launch initiatives, face-to-face meetings, or tap into a new customer base?
Virtual meetings are not new - but the need to use them right now due to a lack of alternatives certainly is. Remember this is a learning process for everyone, and that before we iron out the wrinkles we need to figure out what those wrinkles actually are. It takes time, and it needs people to share experiences and opinions as we work out what best practice actually looks like.
The same applies when it comes to figuring out how to turn the situation to our advantage. The current crisis presents a great opportunity to get creative, and provides license to try things out and see what works. Get it right, and we might just have some very effective new tools to use when Covid-19 is finally behind us.