Panel discussions are the hallmark of modern conferences and events, even virtual ones. The purpose of a panel discussion is to spark conversation between a group of experts or industry and thought leaders, so that the audience can learn from their discourse and interaction.
“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
The rapid shift to virtual has created a significant problem for large conference organisers – especially associations and not-for-profit organisations, that depend on high percentages of their revenue being generated from the sponsorship of such meetings.
Webinars have always been an essential strategy in a marketer’s toolbox. According to the B2B Content Marketing Trends 2020 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report:
- 57 percent of B2B marketers used webinars/online events as part of their overall strategy, and
- Of all the different content types, webinars were among the highest performing content type to secure leads (16 percent) and close leads (11 percent).
COVID-19 has only raised the importance of using webinars to keep engaging audiences while socially-distancing.
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.