Is This The End of the In-Person Advisory Board?

Breaking with what is comfortable and known is never easy, but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to confront change.

In the meeting space – and especially advisory board meetings – the journey away from the in-person meeting and towards virtual meetings has been both fascinating and positive.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of doubt within the life sciences and healthcare industries. We’ve had clients that were certain the virtual ad board wouldn’t work. However, we recently ran an ad board meeting that not only worked but was so successful that the client is now reconsidering whether they will have physical ad board meetings in future.

This is where an experienced meeting organiser is a critical piece of the puzzle since the success of a virtual event – and, I would argue, an in-person event – depends on several factors. These include: pre-event activities to prepare the moderators and delegates; a behind-the-scenes meeting director to assist with real-time reorienting and keep an eye on body language; and a capable moderator and moderating team. Arguably, the meeting director’s role is even more critical in the virtual space since the meeting platform focuses the host or moderator on the face before them, without giving them a view and sense of the room’s atmosphere.

In the most recent meeting, for example, in such a role, I spent a lot of my time messaging members of the moderating team, watching for body language to ensure quieter delegates had a chance to have their say or to determine where there might be problems and using the breaks to discuss possibly changing the agenda for the next session.

Obviously, it takes a little adjustment and preparation for delegates and moderators to prepare for a Zoom, Teams or other virtual platform meeting.

Nevertheless, there are some obvious benefits to a well-run virtual meeting.

1)    The cost element – having a virtual ad board meeting means the client doesn’t need to spend a fortune flying delegates around the world, putting them up in hotels and paying for food and transport to and from the meeting.

2)    The fatigue factor – instead of tired, jet-lagged delegates, in the virtual space you have people who are in their own homes or offices, alert and ready to engage.


To find out other benefits and to read the rest of this blog, visit Open Audience's blog here.

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