The virtual meeting is here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.
For the life sciences industry, not-for-profits and professional bodies – where corporate governance and legislation, never mind travel restrictions, are significant factors – the return to in-person meetings will be highly selective even when they can happen.
Indeed, the return to a ‘new normal’ is likely to involve more hybrid events, where people from the same region – such as the US and Canada or the Asia region – meet in person while others join remotely.
A big concern for companies when it comes to remote working is keeping their employees engaged. Many studies already show that employee engagement is closely linked to employee well-being and productivity, even more so in times of uncertainty. This makes it crucial for HR practitioners and Internal Communications teams to find new ways of keeping strong engagement between teams even while they are physically apart.
For many years, there has been a lot of intellectual snobbery around virtual meetings, with suggestions that unless you have those face-to-face, press-the-flesh meetings you just won’t get the same level of engagement and communication. Now, with COVID-19 forcing physical distancing, companies and organisations have had to rethink their attitudes towards virtual events in order to engage their staff and customers, motivate teams, sell products, and connect with faculty and thought leaders.
Meetings, symposia, congresses and conferences have all moved to the virtual world – many quite successfully.
The situation, however, is a lot less certain when it comes to exhibitions. That’s because sponsors need to know the value of those virtual stands if they are to invest in them.
If you've ever run a virtual event with multiple speakers, you surely know how challenging it is. Coordinating the handovers from one speaker to another, managing the technical side, you name it.