Virtual Meetings and Events: Tales from the Front Line

Virtual Meetings and Events: Tales from the Front Line

September 17, 2020

The last few months, I’ve been working closely with a number of our planners and clients on virtual meetings and events. With COVID-19, we’ve all become Zoom and Teams pros, but the Next Level team is crafting more complex events that are worthy of our clients’ brands and their audience, from employees to channel partners.

The biggest thing I’ve learned? The venue may be virtual, but the planning remains the same.

Just like a live event, virtual or hybrid planning demands thoughtful, accurate project management. Our team of incentive planners knows just what they’re doing when they provide:

  • Venue or platform recommendations
  • Speaker management and training
  • Rigorous show-flows that make every connection and transition clear
  • Creative ideas on entertainment or engagement
  • Vendor management from gifting to production

I’m working side-by-side with my colleagues as they track down missing content or give advice on this blouse or that suit for the camera. We’re writing operating documents for our producers and designing invitations to virtual cocktails after the general session. Although we’re online instead of in the Bahamas, the needs and the deliverables are nearly the same as for a live event.

So what do you need to get started? We’ll need to know:

  • How many participants do you expect and where are they located?
  • How many general sessions and breakouts are you planning?
  • Will you be presenting live or using pre-recorded video?
  • Is there a tradeshow or networking?
  • How about any entertainment or teambuilding?
  • What’s your program date? Lead times vary from days to months depending on program complexity.

We’ll work closely with you to choose a platform – they aren’t all the same and they offer different benefits and challenges. We’ll identify the right production team and select engagement tools that reflect your company’s style. Then we’ll get to work delivering an event to be proud of.

The next year will be one of transition. After the complete halt to live events in 2020, we’re seeing a blend of live and virtual in 2021. And we’re betting that hybrid events are here to stay. We’re ready!