Three steps I take for stress-free, successful virtual meetings and events

Written by Stacey Osafo on Tuesday 5th May 2020

As a Senior Account Manager, I have been running medical communications events with my team for many years. Virtual events have been growing in popularity over the past few years, and in the current environment, they are necessary to continue peer-to-peer conversation. From hub and spoke meetings to virtual webinars, we’ve dealt with it all! Here are some of the practical steps I take for successful virtual meetings and events based on OPEN Health’s vast experience.

1. Design an engaging, interactive event

This might sound obvious, but it is more difficult to keep your audience engaged in a virtual setting. Therefore, taking time to consider your agenda and how to incorporate interactivity is critical to keep people engaged throughout the event. There are multiple ways to add interactivity, including virtual meeting platforms with ‘Bring Your Own Device’ mobile applications. Bite-sized sessions with plenty of opportunity for Q&A are a good idea when possible.

TOP TIP: use our handy checklist when planning a virtual meeting to help think about the purpose of the meeting and ensure the right technology is used.

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Briefing the Chair and speakers properly is important and is possible via several different tools, such as meeting flow documents, which are reviewed in advance of the meeting. If needed, these can indicate minute-by-minute granularity of the meeting/event. I find it particularly helpful to clarify the roles and responsibilities and allocate a ‘Digital Facilitator’ who manages all aspects of the system set-up and troubleshooting so that the Chair can remain on task! In addition, testing the systems or platforms well in advance is a must, and not directly before the event, to allow time to address any issues that may arise.

TOP TIP: sending a webcam and microphone to speakers is a cost-effective way to ensure good quality video and audio.

3. Consider what happens after the event

In the current climate, healthcare professionals may not be able to attend webinars and virtual events due to clinical priorities. However, we can make the content and sessions available on demand so that they can watch it in their own time for conciseness. This maximises the outputs and encourages a cascade of the content after the meeting to ensure it ‘lives beyond just one day’.

TOP TIP: signpost audiences to future events, online content or discussion forums in order to encourage peer-to-peer engagement. 

To discuss our capabilities, or to get advice on running virtual meetings, please visit our virtual meetings and events page.


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