Virtual Meetings + Events: Best Practices for Conducting a Virtual Meeting

Digital Meetings 101 for Hosting a Successful Virtual meeting or digital event

In today’s changing landscape, the need to continue business and hold digital meetings is paramount. Read more from Imprint VP of Accounts, Franny Starkey, based on our recent video conference “Digital Meetings 101”.



Develop a Business Strategy for Hosting a Digital Meeting & Improving Virtual Meetings

If you’re looking to hold a virtual meeting or want to improve corporate meetings now taking place online, there are a variety of things to consider as you start to strategize how to accomplish this.

While the technological portion of your meeting is critical, how you structure your online meetings will be vital to the overall success of your digital event.

Here are Suggestions to Help you Facilitate a Successful Online Meeting:

No attendee wants to sit in front of their computer for hours listening to a series of speakers go on and on.  Your meeting agenda must force movement, have the ability for attendees to interact dynamically, and provide content that’s energetic through a dynamic presentation.

Your online content has to have a strong focus. There’s no timeframe you *have* to fill in digital-to-digital conference – however, what you’re offering, and subsequently asking your attendees to spend their time watching, must be critical content that must be shared and shared now.

Bottom Line. Do not waste time, yours and your attendees, with filler content.

A digital meeting gives you more flexibility as you plan, and the online agenda should reflect this. You’re not confined to a certain room on a particular set of days in a set number of hours. As such, one advantage of virtual meetings is your virtual agenda can extend beyond your typical meeting schedule and live online for a set time period so invited guests can interact with the material at their leisure – whether later that day or in one week.

As you Plan Your Virtual Agenda, Here are Key Questions to Consider:

  • What content and information is critical to provide as part of this meeting?
  • What content needs to be shared live?
  • What content requires interaction with attendees (feedback, suggestions, questions, etc.)?
  • How many subtopics (or breakout sessions) are pertinent?
  • Do you want multiple content options simultaneously or would you rather offer a multiple single content experience?
  • Of those subtopics, which require, or would benefit from, attendee interaction?
  • For those subtopics that don’t require live interaction, can that content be prerecorded and produced in advance?
  • How many total attendees are you hoping will tune in?
  • How many attendees do you hope will participate in subtopic sessions or recordings?
  • Do you have the advance time needed to create worthwhile content?
  • Do you have the right partners to help create the content?

Key Suggestions for Optimizing Your Digital Meeting

  • Offer (1-2) daily live “general sessions” where all attendees can join that last NO MORE than 90 minutes – 45-60 minutes is ideal
    • General sessions, unless it’s a set keynote, should include a multitude of speakers.
    • If budget allows, the “set” for the live session should be dynamic and include a multitude of looks to keep the attendee interested and engaged whether that’s through technology (green screen, LED backdrop, multi-stage and camera set up.)
    • Think about how you can plan for dynamic interaction and engage guests.
    • Speakers must be engaging and energetic. They should be coached and presentations should be rehearsed.
    • Communicate “rules of the road” in advance for these massive online gatherings so attendees know what to expect and how to engage.  For instance: attendees are all muted, questions are submitted through a hashtag (or chosen platform), comments are submitted through chat or in a post-meeting survey, etc. 
  • Use Live Breakout Sessions to Interact with Attendees
    • Use live sessions, held in proximity to the general session (but not directly following), to give guests an opportunity to engage through polling, Q&A and conversation.
    • These sessions should have individual agendas, shared in advance, that outline how attendees can interact and when.
    • Limit the number of attendees to these sessions so interaction is meaningful and controlled.  If interest exceeds capacity, host the same session multiple times – again, the benefit of a virtual meeting is giving flexibility with the schedule and providing options for your attendees.
    • Record and post to live on following the live session.
  • Provide Prerecorded and Produced Breakout Content
    • Content that’s useful but not as exciting should be prerecorded and produced so its available but can be observed when the attendee has time or interest.
    • Prerecording and producing also allows you to spice up the content through graphics, animations and b-roll. 
    • Prerecording is a great option for speakers who aren’t great in front of a live crowd or for panels where you’re struggling to get the right speakers on the set day and time.
  • Don’t Forget to Entertain When Hosting a Virtual Meeting
    • In a live meeting, there are moments throughout the experience meant to surprise and delight your attendees, that sentiment can’t be lost when your program goes virtual, in fact, those moments are all the more important.
    • As guests are logging on and joining the meeting, what music or video is playing?
    • As speakers switch or breakouts start or conclude, what do guests hear or see?
    • How can the users’ device (computer or phone) come alive as part of the experience?
  • Help Facilitate Networking During Remote Meetings
    • Similar to live breakout sessions, can you create virtual happy hours grouped by interest, professional role or region?
    • Can sponsors or executives host “booth hours” or a period of time they’re available for virtual chats and pop-ins.

Virtual Meeting: Sample Conference Agenda Template

Need assistance in facilitating an online meeting or building a dynamic virtual meeting for conference attendees? Contact Imprint Group to do the heavy lifting!

Related Resources:
Adding a Human Touch in a Digital World
Taking your Fundraiser Online

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