Have you integrated virtual / digital meetings into your meetings and events yet? If your answer is no, it is probably because:
- Your organization’s culture does not embrace virtual / hybrid meetings yet
- It does not fall under your area of responsibility
- A perception exists that it is too complex and no one has the time to tackle the tasks
- It is uncertain how or where to start
- A perception exists that face-to-face meetings and events offer an improved return on investment over virtual meetings
Regardless of the reason, the business world is moving toward the use of more virtual meetings through the use of digital technologies. I offer some resources below and also have other tools in my toolkit, if you need help.
Since 1998, when I led PwC’s technology training team, I have been involved with virtual technologies as our training team delivered computer training to multiple offices using one trainer with one computer. Rudimentary - yes; unsuccessful – no. In fact, it was a huge success because we broadened technology training for more attendees throughout the country. E-learning was here to stay…and today, it is a common practice worldwide.
Fast forward to 2002, when I led PwC’s meeting and event services team, I developed the industry’s first virtual meeting and event group under the same team as the face-to-face meeting planners. If I was successful in transitioning face-to-face trainers to e-learning instructors, why couldn’t I transition face-to-face meeting planners to virtual / hybrid planners? And, the rest is history. Today, the PwC virtual meetings team is one of the best groups of professionals in the industry and it delivers thousands of virtual meetings to internal staff and PwC clients every year. Virtual meetings are here to stay…and if you are not using some form of virtual / hybrid meetings, you may be falling behind your competitors. If you have relinquished the responsibility to another department – you may not be progressing or staying current with new roles, responsibilities, and technologies.
This blog has published numerous articles about virtual / digital meetings over the years; below are some of the links that you may find useful in the development of your virtual / digital meetings:
2013 – Creating a Virtual Meeting and Event Strategy
2011 – The 20 roles and responsibilities of the virtual meeting planner
2010 – 20 reasons to consider virtual meetings
2009 – Eight common motivating factors that may derail a virtual
If you want help building your toolkit to develop a program, please feel free to reach out to me.
Over the last several years, I have experienced an astonishing feeling of synthesis as my career in training and development (virtual and instructor-led training) has merged with my career in meetings and events (virtual and face-to-face meetings). While these two industries seemed like disparate elements and separate careers, in fact, the business forces are stitching them together. For example, when I was a trainer and training director…I needed to learn and conquer ROI and training effectiveness. Now, as a meetings director…I have had to learn and conquer ROI and meeting effectiveness. The two careers are no longer individual parallel paths but rather, a logistics and content journey that produces ultimate success for all meeting types. To that end, I am SO excited about this industry and our journey forward.
Let me also share some exciting news about my journey forward … I have accepted the role of Divisional Category Director of Congresses and Events, and Global Lead Virtual Meetings at Novartis in the Strategic Sourcing Department. I am thrilled and cannot wait to get started!
I will still be mentoring and coaching my industry colleagues, on a volunteer basis, on Strategic Meetings Management, virtual meetings, meeting effectiveness / ROI, training / development, and travel - so feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share with me. More books are being released before the end of year – Susan Losurdo and I finished editing our second book together, “Meeting Planning Playbook” so look for it on this blog and on Amazon within the next week. The SMM Toolkit and other mini-books on topics such as meeting effectiveness and virtual meetings are also undergoing edits and will be released soon.
In the meantime, I would like to share two valuable resources with you.
Shimon Avish, President of SMM Consulting, provides us all with a wealth of knowledge on Strategic Meetings Management topics via his blog at www.smmconsulting.com. Please sign up for his regular articles, e-books, and blog posts.
Deborah Borak, Director of Global Accounts at ConferenceDirect, recently released an excellent article featured in Facilities & Destinations titled “Getting Strategic About SMMPs: Guidelines to Choose the Best Third Party to Help Implement Your Program.” Please take a few minutes to read it.
A BIG THANK YOU to all of the meetings and travel leaders who continue to support me through the T&E blog, LinkedIn groups, client engagements and most important, your friendship.
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