The rapid growth of simulcasts, hybrid meetings, meetings archived to websites and the use of apps and mobile devices prior to on-site meetings reveals that the traditional and virtual meeting spheres are blending together. As the virtual and in-person meeting worlds converge, meeting managers hold more responsibility for making virtual meetings a success. These 6 rules will help ensure your virtual meeting is professional and effective.
1. Be Engaging
A passive experience is an ineffective experience. The medical professional participants at your meetings are intelligent; so engage them through the use of interactive components that make them think.
Get your audience involved through polls, open chats and structured texting. The majority of platforms provide easy-to-use polling features that offer multiple-choice questions, instantly displaying group results. Polls foster a positive group dynamic by offering every participant a voice. They also give presenters insight on the attendees’ thoughts and knowledge in real time. Structured texting prompts participants to respond using an on-screen tool that can either instantly display every response, or only selected answers. Open chats further utilize texting by having participants submit comments or questions throughout the meeting. This is an especially helpful way to promote questions and answer sessions, particularly for larger groups.
2. Make Personal Connections
The convenience and budget-friendliness of virtual meetings can be counterbalanced by their lack of immediacy. Offset this drawback by making a personal connection with your audience. One way to do this is to use web-based video, which is an easy, effective and inexpensive tool that most B2B virtual meetings neglect to utilize. Videos enhance connections by revealing the presenter’s gestures, expressions and zeal.
While video shouldn’t be in constant use, it could at least be used in conjunction with other media. From high-definition streaming, to numerous concurrent videos to live video via mobile devices, there are plenty of video options to suit your meeting’s needs.
3. Streamline Your Content
Tighter presentations will help retain your audience’s attention. People may have no problem attending a full-day, on-site meeting, but it’s unreasonable to expect the same of a virtual audience. The natural attention span for even the most interesting virtual meeting is shorter than it would be for an in-person event, so it is essential to focus the content and strive to shorten the total meeting time. Aim to devote 20% less time to each presentation and establish a limit on the number of slides included per presentation.
Other ways to accommodate the limited attention span of a virtual audience include splitting the meeting into two parts held on consecutive days, removing some presentations from the live agenda and including them on a website as self-learning supplements and cutting superfluous content.
4. Keep Things Moving
Interruptions and a slow pace can break your audience’s focus, so moving quickly is essential. Employ a professional moderator who can guarantee a good pace by prompting introductions, transitions and question and answer sessions. Moderators can also coordinate background activities like texting, polling and other multimedia features.
The best way to ensure a brisk pace is by being prepared. Devise a detailed plan of all of the meeting’s elements and a script for the moderator’s comments. Use a storyboard to organize your multimedia components and make sure these features are ready to play. Finally, rehearse your meeting to make sure it is professional and maintains a brisk pace.
5. Be Visually Compelling
Your virtual meeting should never be boring. Having a visually dynamic display will work wonders in keeping your audience’s interest. Make use of an assortment of multimedia options. Although PowerPoint slide effects can turn a boring presentation into a compelling one, don’t rely too heavily on PowerPoint. Screen-sharing functions can broadcast any computer display, opening the door to guided web tours and the ability to present actual articles, documents and materials instead of describing them on a slide. If your meeting platform supports advanced multimedia, use them. Recorded video clips and 3D animations can really make your presentation dazzle.
6. Use the Appropriate Platform
With so many platform options for hosting a virtual meeting, it can be difficult to choose the right one. While it may be tempting to simply use the same platform your company utilizes for internal conferences and meetings, that platform may not be a good fit for your virtual meeting. Platforms can differ wildly in terms of web capabilities, interactive and multimedia features and customer support.
One platform does not fit all, so it is important to consider many factors before making your selection. Think about the number of attendees you expect, how long the meeting will last, what your communication goals are, whether your audience will consist of VIP customers and what your budget will allow. Take all these factors into account and choose the most appropriate platform for your meeting.
As the traditional and virtual meeting worlds merge, these tips will help make your next meeting a success. If you are planning to host a virtual meeting or are looking for a medical continuing education facility, contact the Oquendo Center at 702-739-6698.
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