Virtually, A Given
Whilst we have access to vaccines, social distancing is still expected to be around with the prediction that we will "dive even further into virtual worlds".
The development and sophistication of virtual environments can also be expected to affect economic activity, so it comes as no surprise that online meetings and presentations have entered the mainstream and is virtually, a given. Everyone, especially now in these unprecedented times, has adapted to survive in the modern age of communication.
Thanks to technology, events don’t have to be held in just one geographical location anymore. People can gather virtually, using screens, video cameras and phones to experience an engaging meeting, conference or training without having to shell out for costly plane, train or taxi fares or worry about where they are going to stay the night before or whether they will be safe when doing so. From conference calls to sales seminars, award ceremonies to product launches, video-conferencing sessions can replace the more traditional business get together very successfully indeed.
We explore the essential steps to follow in organising professional virtual and hybrid meetings, conferences or training, highlighting pertinent aspects to consider.
Virtual and hybrid meetings, conferences and training attended by more than 14 delegates require more than just an internet chat facility, a webcam, a Poly-type speaker and computer. It requires the combination of several video elements with seamless switching, and all of the staples of professional video production such as video overlays, multiple camera angles and picture in picture content and should be provisioned for accordingly.
When it comes to the pre-event admin, virtual and hybrid meetings, conferences and training should be handled the same way as a traditional meeting with lots of notice given, invitations and agendas issued and reminders sent. Use all appropriate methods of contact open to you, such as email, phone, social media and ‘hard copy’ letters. You could offer incentives for delegates who agree to take part, such as prizes, preview clips or competitions on LinkedIn or via the company’s web page. Keep track of replies and chase up any outstanding ones. Don’t forget to send step-by-step instructions for how to join on the day.
Considering the importance of aesthetics in an environment remains useful during the planning process.
on the day
First and foremost, you must ensure that the equipment works smoothly throughout. It is worth employing someone with the right level of expertise to focus solely on this element of the day. Try to have a back-up plan ready for the worst-case scenario of transmission failure. Keep people’s expectations realistic – make sure delegates know what they can simply listen to or watch, and how they can interact, e.g., via webcam, phone or via an internet chat facility. Make sure speakers are both loud and clear enough and tell them to speak slightly slower than they would to a traditional meeting to allow time for the message to be transmitted and digested by their virtual audience. Try to have some eye contact with the camera so as not to alienate those not in the room. Schedule in regular comfort breaks, with clear instructions for when (and how) to return. Make sure the microphone and camera are switched off if you want to say or do something that you don’t want to be transmitted as part of the event.
Do not forget to thank people for participating and to seek feedback, both on the content and the technology involved. You could fix a time to hold a follow-up session for people to discuss the content and make plans for future meetings, conferences and training.
Once the initial outlay for equipment has been accounted for, it can spread the message to more people, more quickly, efficiently and safely when they are not able to do so in person. It allows people to log in wherever is most convenient to them with post on-demand access to everything that took place in the form of a video recording. This video recording can be edited and sent out to delegates and interested parties, such as the media, government policy makers or other key stakeholders.
Capturing and maintaining peoples’ attention and interest can be harder when attempted virtually, as they will have other distractions around them, instead of being contained in one meeting room as a group. It can feel easier to pull out of attending the event at the last minute if no effort has been made to physically get there. Content must therefore be doubly compelling to keep people engaged and logged on. The equipment must be carefully checked too, as technological hiccups are more prone to happen, and it is most off-putting to be cut off, or have interference on the screen disturb the quality of the conference delivery.
Whilst the reliance on virtual and hybrid solutions will intensify, Lane End previously explored whether we still need face to face interaction. Read more here, as to why we believe we do.
LANE END Virtual and Hybrid Meetings, Conferences and Training Solutions
Lane End is purpose built to accommodate all your meeting, conference, training and hosting needs and together with our handpicked small group of suppliers can further assist you to produce high quality virtual and hybrid solutions. 3 Reasons Why We Can Host Social Distancing Meetings and recent reviews reflect this as such:
"Thank you so much for all you generosity and help, you and your team were ever so wonderful to us all. Each of the Panel members also said how pleasant it was to stay at Lane End, and particularly enjoyed the food and the fantastic walk suggestions! They were keen to return again for future work of this nature. I don't think I have any other feedback or suggestions - except to just say it was wonderful stay and you were very accommodating. It worked very well having us all in the one building."
"All went well, thank you and we have received positive feedback from delegates on the event. Thank you very much for hosting and for your excellent customer service! The support you gave was really excellent!"