If you're a meeting planner or an event planner who books paid professional speakers, your business revenue probably dropped substantially when COVID-19 began shutting down so much of life. The same is true for professional associations in fields like business, management, human resources, and health care.
Fortunately, there are ways to continue your business and keep meeting your goals, along with ways to help people connect and interact with one another to learn valuable information. Approximately 90 percent of planned events for the foreseeable future will either be rescheduled or go virtual. For some events, both of those things will happen.
So, how can you make sure those virtual events work out well? What can you do about rescheduled events that mean an adjustment to the future schedules of a significant number of people? Here are some of the biggest issues to consider.
- It can be difficult enough to engage meeting participants without going virtual. Due to the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 issues, the level of distraction in your audience will be even higher. Booking good speakers, scheduling convenient times, and being sympathetic to the fears and concerns of the audience are all important.
- You don't have to miss out on the current opportunity to support the members and participants in your organization, just because things have to be pushed back and/or handled virtually. By being sensitive to what your audience and speakers need, you'll have more success with your virtual meeting.
- High energy speakers can keep your audience engaged and take them on a journey that will take their minds of the Coronavirus and put it back on the information they're being given. If you want your audience to benefit from what your speaker is telling them, you need someone who can get (and keep) their attention.
Consider Best Practices Before, During, and After the Program
Before the program – survey members regarding objectives and hot-button issues to get a clearer picture of what they need. They'll be less likely to no-show or not register, because they'll feel heard and have skin in the game.
During the program – select a speaker who isn't going to read from slides, who's non-promotional, and who will end their speech on time. It's harder to do things virtually, but you can make it easier again by selecting the right kind of speaker for a difficult time.
After the program – Make sure you follow up to reinforce the takeaways. You'll want to tie what the speaker has addressed into what the audience member (or their organization) needs. You can also allow the participants to have a link to re-watch the event, and continue to keep up a dialogue with anyone who needs support or has questions.
When you choose a platform for a virtual speaking engagement, make sure you pick one that's common and familiar. By finding a platform with good security that's low on things like hijacking and technical problems, you'll give both the speaker and the audience a much better experience, overall.
Scott Foster is President of Wellco, based in Michigan. Scott is a frequently-invited expert and speaker regarding leadership, engagement and high-value health & wellness. Wellco provides award-winning solutions to measurably improve health engagement and outcomes.
For more information, contact Wellco.
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Scott was the closing speaker at the NBCH Annual Conference. His presentation exceeded all expectations with his interactive, engaging and knowledgeable style. I would highly recommend him for both large and small meetings/conferences.
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