The future of company meeting programmes
HubSpot , the VEI and VIBE discuss which formats will return to in-person and where the opportunities lie for virtual meetings .
Company-wide ‘ town hall ’ meetings are the format most likely to remain virtual as in-person meetings and events return but employers retain more flexible working patterns .
That ’ s according to an audience poll during a webinar , entitled , ‘ Running Successful Virtual and Hybrid Internal Company Meetings ’.
The webinar featured panellists , Courtney Dagher , manager , global events content programming at HubSpot ; RD Whitney , co-founder of the Virtual Events Institute and founder of the Community Leaders Institute ; plus Valerie Bihet , founder of the VIBE agency .
“ Town hall meetings benefit the most from staying virtual in order to encourage that feeling of connectivity between all company employees ,” Dagher says . “ You need to meet people where they are . With remote working policies here to stay , that means including people in a virtual meeting environment who are at-home looking after children , on sick-leave or simply working different hours .”
According to Whitney , America is currently experiencing the ‘ Great Resign ’, brought about by people and companies who no longer see eye-to-eye on what ’ s acceptable working requirements .
He says : “ As offices are opening back up and deciding what their meetings programme should look like , employees are demanding a more flexible approach to both internal and external communications . Employers need to understand which meeting formats benefit from a face-to-face exchange , plus the opportunity for serendipity , and which translate better online . Carrying out this assessment will help prevent companies from losing talent to more flexible competitors .”
In England , the Government ’ s Covid-19 Autumn and Winter ‘ Plan A ’ encourages people back to work for a more productive workforce . But if the NHS struggles , its ‘ Plan B ’ includes advice to work from home again for ‘ a limited period ’.
Dagher advises companies to adopt a more ‘ intentional mindset ’ and plan strategy for what works in-person , online or a combination of the two , rather than reacting to circumstance .
She says : “ Life isn ’ t going back to how it was before so leaders need to action strategy now based on what makes the most sense .”
The panelists all agreed that some meetings formats , such as hands-on training and practicalbased product learning just can ’ t be replicated online . But for most knowledge-sharing meeting formats , the opportunity exists to create better engagement through online storytelling and technology .
Several of VIBE ’ s clients have seen a 96 % satisfaction rate for virtual sales meetings over the past 18 months so Bihet knows that the format and strategy will continue for the foreseeable future .
She says : “ The benefits of virtual meetings include costs , reach , and enhanced measurement but also include time and the environment . If companies can make more sales by staging engaging digital events and spend less time travelling , they ’ ll continue to invest in the platforms and technology .”
Dagher agrees , admitting that her company ’ s in-bound meetings are much more accessible when people don ’ t have to get on a plane .
Whitney meanwhile believes he ’ ll never get on another plane to go and have lunch with a business client in a different city again , but is planning an in-person only event in April because ‘ we want to drive FOMO amongst the audience ’.
“ I ’ m a big believer in great content , captured and used as a year-round means to educate and communicate with your audience - whether that ’ s from a live event or produced in a studio ,” Whitney says . “ Just as 2020 was a good year to get braces on your teeth , it was also a good time to start investing in technology and a consistent delivery of on-demand content . We ’ re all storytellers now and it ’ s how we communicate those stories that will determine business success and the retention of talent .”