By Matthew Thiel, Fox sales director of meetings and incentives
A lot is changing in the world today— almost on a daily basis. One thing that isn’t changing is our need to connect. Networking, business deals, training and education have to go on at some point, and here at Fox we live by our manta of Find-A-Way. Every day we are working to get you back to business as usual. With the overnight popularity of Zoom and other video chat services, people have been able to put a temporary fix on the need to gather. Let’s take a deeper look and answer the top five questions about virtual meetings so we can understand their difference from in-person meetings and evaluate future needs.
What is a Virtual Meeting?
A virtual meeting is where individuals experience an event and its content online rather than gathering in person. Participants are typically attending from multiple locations and connect through technology such as a phone, video or computer. Hosting a virtual meeting requires the same care and attention as an in-person meeting. Don’t forget all the components that you need to take into account: promotion, registration, website and mobile app, sourcing agreements, attendee engagement, creation of memorable moments and proving the success/ROI of the event. It is more important than ever to keep people engaged and have strong content since opportunities for distraction become much higher in a virtual setting.
Why host a Virtual Meeting or Event?
For the same reason as hosting an in-person meeting: to build brand awareness, motivation, and loyalty, to generate leads, drive revenue, create and accelerate the sales pipeline, to promote adoption and education and as a continuity of business operations. Virtual events should be viewed, managed and executed with the same precision as in-person meetings. Another benefit: virtual meetings are cost effective and can give you the opportunity to increase attendance compared to in-person meetings.
Is it possible to Pivot from an In-Person Meeting to a Virtual Meeting?
Yes. Pivoting is a great option to cut costs and avoid canceling your meeting. For example, travel bans, an act of God and extreme weather can all force you to make a quick decision and pivot accordingly. One of the benefits of working with Fox as your strategic meeting partner is that they we provide consultation and create custom solutions to plan ahead in case you need to pivot. We also help you determine the best type of virtual meeting to fit your business needs.
What is a Hybrid Meeting or Event?
It is any meeting or event with at least one group of face-to face participants that digitally connect with participants in another or multiple locations. Internal hybrid meetings examples include town halls, sales kickoffs, companywide events, trainings or department meetings. External hybrid meetings are held for those outside your organization, such as consumer or industry conferences. Hybrid meetings are the future of meetings and events.
Virtual or Hybrid?
Both options provide great value and increased accessibility, however your choice between virtual or hybrid depends on the content and overall expectation of your meeting or event. For networking, sensitive issues, incentives, celebrations, client-facing meetings and collaborative team building, it is easier to achieve results through in-person meetings. However, virtual meetings can be useful for company updates, new product updates, internal meetings, updates for regional offices, individual projects, daily meetings and staff meetings.
Adding a virtual meeting or event as a key digital strategy to your meeting and event program is an effective alternative. While we know that a virtual meeting does not hold the same power as face-to-face interaction, it has become a necessary and evolving component in today’s environment.
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