If you are still wanting to pursue the remote option for meetings due to COVID-19 then find new ways to connect with one another and keep attendees engaged virtually. They are becoming commonplace in our “new normal” causing the events industry to reimagine how we do meetings. Event planners are now event producers and no longer are bound by in-person logistics. They have gained a new skills that will open new doors to them for event production.
Why Should I Host Remote Meetings?
Remote meetings, just like in-person events, have one main purpose – fostering connections. Since we are all no longer traveling to events, we are less likely to meet with and talk to people we don’t know. Virtual events fulfill our need for human connection, even if it’s at a distance
Remote meetings are a great way to foster socialization. Internally, they allow people from different departments to meet and engage. They allow attendees to collaborate with people they normally would never have known or gotten the chance to work with. Their collaboration could be the difference between a good year and a great year.
Your attendees can connect over a vast distance while attending a remote meeting. The attendees can connect from one continent to another without needing to travel. In-person events are limited by capacities and travel approvals. Remote meetings don’t have those same constraints. Attendees can connect with others on the other side of the world.
When we do return to in-person events, you want attendees to remember who hosted the amazing events they attended while they couldn’t travel and continue to move forward with their businesses. Remote meetings are a great way to do that! They allow events to reach a new audience as well as capturing the same audience as usual.
Have an Icebreaker
When you are hosting a meeting where the speaker and attendees are present in the same room, the first few minutes can be filled with silence. Begin breaking that silence with an icebreaker. You can do something as simple as asking attendees to introduce themselves with an interesting fact. Many people think because you can’t get up and greet people you can’t do an icebreaker, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! For a more intimate experience, use breakout rooms to create smaller groups where attendees feel comfortable sharing.
Keep Time In Mind
We all have had those days when we are in back-to-back virtual meetings and suffer from “Zoom fatigue.” When you are planning a remote meeting, you want to keep this in mind. You don’t want your attendees to go too long without a break. Remember that attendees are no longer changing rooms after each session and constantly moving, rather, they are generally sitting in one place. Make sessions a manageable length and add in time between sessions. This will give attendees a quick breather to run to grab a coffee, get a snack, or run to the bathroom. Better remote meetings are individualized and keep attendees top of mind.
While you want to have conversations about new topics that come up during your remote meeting, you need to keep to an agenda or stay on the session topic. This will help you stay within the assigned time constraints. Build-in time for Q&A at the end of the session. That way you’ll get through your content and still engage attendees without derailing the session.
Give Everyone a Chance to Participate
Attendees are generally more engaged if you utilize tools like polling, live Q&A, chat or allow them to unmute themselves. It breaks up speaking and keeps its eyes on the screen, ready for new instructions.
During in-person events, polling was the main source of audience engagement and it still can be. To promote networking, you could start the meeting with a poll about something unrelated to the meeting, so everyone can get to know each other on a personal level.
Live Q&A gives attendees a chance to interact with presenters. It helps the attendee feel that presenters aren’t just talking at them but talking with them. The questions they ask may help you tailor content for a future event if you decide to present on that topic again.
Will Remote Meetings Ever Go Away?
We are all looking forward to the day we can once again meet with people face-to-face, but we also see the value to of having a remote/virtual component to your meetings. So, will remote meetings ever go away? Not completely. There will still be a virtual component when we return to in-person events.
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