Until a few years ago, it was hard to get anyone to take virtual meetings seriously. People would strictly stick to in-person meetings and physical team-building events. Remote meetings and webinars were primarily considered cost-savers, not operational necessities. But after 2020, everything changed. We’re entering the days of hybrid corporate events.
The lockdowns and remote working forced corporate event planners to re-evaluate how to proceed with meetings and activities. People quickly realized that there are virtual conferencing tools available today that can host any meetings or team-building activities online.
But now the question is: where do we go from here? Will we stick to online meetings, or is there a chance for everything to go back to in-person and physical events? What will corporate meetings look like in the future?
The answer is hybrid corporate events. In fact, 62% of event planners believe that hybrid events are the future and plan to continue catering to a virtual audience in tandem with a live one.
Keep reading to find out 7 strategies to prepare for virtual corporate meetings of the future.
1. Get the Right Team
Most of us have gotten used to conducting meetings online. However, with the shift to hybrid events, we’ll need to continue to learn and grow. The virtual events industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 23% between 2020 and 2027. Since much of the space is still uncharted territory, the first thing you need to do is get the right team to navigate it.
Regardless of how much automation you introduce, it’s up to the human team to make it a success or failure. You need to have the right team consisting of trained and highly skilled personnel.
A possible team could include:
- A digital event strategist who is experienced at conducting digital events and is familiar with the costs, physical requirements, and overall management of the event.
- A tools expert who is trained at handling the software and all the technical aspects.
- A moderator who knows how to handle a live audience and virtual attendees together at the same time.
- A content manager who will be responsible for creating all the virtual and physical content for the event.
2. Choose the Right Platform
We might be familiar with certain online meeting platforms, like Zoom, that we use for daily continuity of business. However, there is no guarantee that these platforms will work effectively for hybrid events. Hybrid corporate events will require a unique platform that allows the virtual attendees, as well as the in-person audience, to interact seamlessly.
Depending on the type of event or corporate meeting, the platform will need to have additional features as well, such as private rooms, customization, flexible resource sharing options, etc. Choosing the right platform can make a big difference in how the meeting goes and how successful you are in accomplishing the objectives of the meeting.
Fortunately, as virtual and hybrid events gain more traction, companies are working hard to develop advanced online software that meets the demands of hybrid events today. There are many great options out there such as Bizzabo, ON24, Hopin, SwapCard, 6Connex, and more.
3. Adapt Your Content
A corporate event planner or events agency will need to work on adapting the content to the new kind of corporate meeting. A few years ago, you could get by with a simple presentation with photocopies for everyone, then everyone expected a PDF, then attendees wanted hyperlinked and media-rich versions of all presented content.
Things are different now. You can change the content to better satisfy your audience’s wants and needs. With hybrid events, people tend to have a shorter attention span, so the content will have to be engaging yet concise.
Likewise, the content will have to be adapted according to the physical audience, too, so that the message or key takeaways from the meeting can be relayed properly. Include more Q&A sessions to get the audience involved or even include short physical activities to get everyone moving and break the inertia.
4. Send Out Agendas in Advance
Hybrid events are still something very new for many people out there. If event planners want the virtual corporate meetings to be a success, they need to ensure that the audience knows what to expect. Otherwise, they will just spend the whole meeting in confusion.
Sending out an agenda outlining the whole event and its objectives for everyone will help the attendees get familiar with the event pattern as well as the expectations.
5. Engage Everyone
Event agencies will also have to think outside the box and come up with different strategies to keep all participants engaged, whether they are online or present in person. They can break the meeting into several parts to keep everyone focused and prevent them from zoning out. In those breaks, they could hold polls or surveys on different topics to get the audience’s opinion and keep them engaged.
Similarly, the organizers can hold Q&A sessions where the online speakers and live audience can interact directly and ask each other questions or direct the questions to the speaker.
6. Use Event Insights to Perform Better Next Time
One of the great things about online events is that it offers a lot of opportunities to track and gather data about the event. Even the most rudimentary video chat tool can capture basic metrics. More advanced software can score things like screen time, attention to content, downloads, and unique engagement criteria.
Insights to consider tracking:
- Which sessions or speakers in the meeting attracted the most audience or had the highest engagement?
- Which demographic had what kind of behavior throughout the event?
- When did people start clicking away?
- When did people change tabs or navigate away from a session?
- When did users ask the most questions?
Using this data to draw meaningful insights and then applying them to future virtual corporate meetings can help make them more successful.
7. Amplify Event Content
Events are places where industry experts share ideas, trends, and research. Even when creating a hybrid event, there will be people who want to see the content but are unable to attend in-person or virtually. Work to capture top-tier event content and promote it through brand channels. You could turn them into webinars, make video clips for social media, or use them as lead magnets by gating them in your CRM. Don’t let great event content die at the show.
Whether it’s team-building events or corporate meetings, there’s no doubt that the norms and best practices are constantly changing. As a result, if event planners and businesses want to remain effective and efficient in their online events, they need to strategize and prepare for these changes beforehand. Think about hybrid corporate events as your plan your field and web marketing strategies.
Whether your event is online, in person, or both, TINT creates tools that engage and delight attendees. Start with vibrant social walls, then move into the TINT Experience Builder to create social media-driven activations that will keep your attendees engaged- wherever they’re participating. Learn more and chat with our events team today.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd, a leading event organizer offering virtual event solutions and venue finding services in the UK. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.