Best practices for virtual meetings
Get the guides:
The Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning (For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People), winner of three publishing awards, by Andrea Driessen
The Non-Obvious Guide to Virtual Meetings and Remote Work, with contributions on virtual event production and speaker curation by Andrea Driessen
With so much of our lives online, the virtual or hybrid experience you’re producing must deliver true value to compete with all the other available choices. And the more consequential your gathering-in-the-matrix, the more you must prepare and strategize. To wit:
1-Preload the fun
When promoting a virtual event, seed messaging with a few practical insights and content-driven teasers. These can build buy-in and foster a feeling of exclusivity. That way, registrants don’t just learn when your event’s happening—they have even more reasons to attend.
2-Start with best first
On “game day,” optimize attention by beginning with your very best, most enticing, carefully scripted content. Dive right into your most compelling ideas. These are never sponsor-related remarks or profuse thank-you’s. If you’re recording the programming, superb content ensures the footage can be maximally used in promotional teasers for the next event (“See what you missed?!”).
3-Plan content before platform
First choose the content you want to communicate, and then choose your platform, i.e. your content delivery technology (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, GoToWebinar).
4-Transform passivity into activity
If you’re not planning to add interactivity, you should reconsider migrating online—your “experience” may be better and more simply communicated via email. Build engagement beyond a simple chat box by ensuring content includes varied interactivity. Try quizzes and contests before, during and after. Use audience polling. Integrate Q&A and whiteboarding. Choose a platform via which your presenter can highlight and draw in real time. Play music and video. End with a pithy, practical summary and a strategic call to action to end on a high note.
Less is more. Virtual guests will remember more when you remember to keep the agenda streamlined. Most 100% online meetings or meeting segments are short: 30 minutes, maybe shorter. So, focus on just two or three important messages and takeaways. And design every agenda element around those outcomes.
5-Create more ka-ching
Record your meatiest virtual meetings, so you can re-use the footage for new hire training, social media posts, sponsor acquisition, video blogs and/or sizzle reels that sell future events.
6-Deliver data-driven results
An inherent benefit of virtual events is easy tracking of virtual attendance, participant retention rates, and your most click-worthy content. Take advantage of this built-in ROI richness, so you can prove value to your stakeholders—and make measurable improvements over time.
7-Boost the afterglow
After virtual or hybrid events, hold smaller online meetups, so attendees can continue connecting, learning, networking and boosting accountability. This can also enhance in-person event attendance over time as relationships crystallize.
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