fbpx

Virtual Meetings & Events

Previous
Next

Tools & Platform for Running Virtual Meetings

Zoom 

 

One of the most popular tools out there, used by many top organizations and brands, Zoom prides itself on ease of use and smooth experience. It offers both ZoomWebinars, for more 1 to many lecture-style sessions with minimal back and forth, and ZoomMeetings which facilitate plenty of communication in both directions and feature breakout rooms. Meetings also offer some great security features to important internal meetings.

 

Price: $

 

Capacity: 200 attendees with Business, 500 with Enterprise, 1,000 with Enterprise Plus

Livestream.com

 

Built to Livestream to massive audiences, Livestream is a one-to-many platform that allows to you broadcast through Facebook Live, YouTube and Periscope. It’s a technology powerhouse, that is quite flawless in its delivery. Most solutions are custom-built but have robust options including monetization, full custom branding and more.

 

Price: $$

 

Capacity: Unlimited

Hopin 

 

Hopin is the most robust online event platform we’ve seen. It mimics all the facets of a physical conference – from the main stage to breakout sessions, networking and a tradeshow. They are still ahead of their full launch, but we have used the system and the experience was fluid and engaging. 

 

Price: $$

 

Capacity: Thousands

WebEx 

 

From Cisco, WebEx was built as a conference calling replacement that has evolved to be able to host up to 3,000 people in an online event, with streaming capabilities for up to 40,000. 

 

Price: $

 

Capacity: 100 attendees with Plus, 200 with Business, and up to 3,000 with a customized premium account

Hangouts Meet

 

Available for paying GSuite users, this is designed largely for team meetings, screen sharing and group calls. To support businesses through this time, GSuite is offering all Business users the ability to have 250 people on one call, and 100,000 streaming until July 1.

 

Price: $

 

Capacity: Currently 25, going up to 250 as of July 1, 2020

GoToMeeting 

 

Features include polls, handouts and Q&As. 

 

Price: $

 

Capacity: 100 attendees on Starter, 500 with Pro, 1,000 with Plus

Here are some other tools you may want to consider as add-ons to elevate your virtual meeting experience.

Slido – interactive polling and Q&A for events
 
MeetingPulse – Audience communication and interaction for events
 
PowToon – Create custom animations for presentations
 
Promo.com –  Easily create promo videos for presentations
 
Simply Voting – Secure voting for associations and organizations doing polling or elections

Stream– Stream is the easiest way to promote, monetize, and live stream virtual events for your audience

Tips for Running Effective Virtual Meetings

Every day millions of people participate in virtual meetings,, and every day, millions of people get frustrated with those meetings. While the technology has vastly and wifi connectivity is generally strong – still, virtual meetings often go awry. 

 

We’ve spoken with hundreds of meeting organizers and attendees to gather useful tips for improving your online meeting experience.

 

Have a Designated Leader

Without a proverbial “head-seat” at the virtual table, the meeting can feel chaotic and unorganized. Ensure that the leader of the meeting establishes their position, and uses their authority to efficiently lead the team through an agenda. Tip: As a leader, you should cut off sidetracks and keep your team focused.

 

 

Test the System

While some people jump on 16 Zoom calls a day, the platform is still new to others. Often, someone will request a specific platform for a meeting that not everyone is familiar with. To ensure you are able to connect without issue, hop on the line 2 minutes before the actual meeting. Tip: If you are leading the meeting, be sure to hop online ahead of time. People testing the line will be able to chat with you through any issues they may have. 

 

 

 Set Ground Rules

It’s a sign of the times- virtual meetings are becoming more popular. While most team members will be familiar with the virtual meeting process, there may be team members who are new to the e-space. Take a moment to set rules for each meeting and help participants understand virtual etiquette. Tip: Rule #1? Mute when you aren’t speaking!   

 

 

 

Go on mute when you aren’t speaking!

 

Said it above, but it deserves its own section. 

 

 

Plan

Unlike meeting in a physical space, a quick conversation in the hall before a 

meeting or cryptic body language will not be effective in a virtual meeting. Assign your team with specific roles or tasks to prepare for the meeting. Tip: Send out an agenda through email or slack to keep everyone on one page. This will remind everyone of what they were required to do, and it will help maintain a steady flow of the meeting. 

 

 

Keep People Engaged

We all need to do a better job making virtual meetings more human. Don’t be afraid to ask people how they’re doing, to share news – or their favourite meme – and give little human breaks throughout a longer meeting. You would do a little stretch during a 2-hour in-person meeting, why not do a team stretch in the virtual version.

The Pros and Cons of Running a Virtual Conference 

Taking a historically IRL conference and putting it online is challenging- there’s no doubt about it. As many event planners venture into this new format, we wanted to share, from our experience, a few things that you can keep in mind:

 

Benefits

  • Cost Savings – You can engage hundreds of people for a fraction of the cost of a live event. 
  • It’s way easier to remember names…because people’s names are on the screen.
  • You can shift the conversation with greater ease on virtual events. It’s much harder to physically yank people off stage unless you’re the Oscars.
  • Potential for higher attendance with fewer barriers preventing people from attending (travel, lodging costs, large commitments in a schedule)
  • Attrition – You avoid the drop off of attendees at various times during the day.

 

Challenges

  • It’s harder to disconnect from everything and focus. It’s easier for people to get distracted or sidetracked by their home environment
  • Harder to convey value for the price- even if the ticket is cheaper. People associate a great deal of value with the in-person experience.
  • There are improved technologies to enable it, but it’s very hard to replicate the magic of  socializing and networking at physical gatherings
  • Limited opportunities for sponsorship or trade show partners
  • Event planners often take much pride in having 360-degree control of the experience and creating a meeting that people can immerse themselves in. You simply can’t control things as much with a virtual meeting.

 

While nothing will ever replace the experience of human connection and the amazing good that can come from fully immersing yourself in an event experience, it’s important to recognize the benefits of virtual experiences. Technology advancements are happening daily and as society is… well, we’re effectively being forced…to embrace virtual meetings more, the experiences and opportunity to bring people together online will only get better.

How To Make Your Virtual Meeting Stand Out

Creating a virtual event that is remarkable and memorable is important. It’s a new way of thinking, but applying design thinking, similar to how you approach creating fantastic physical experiences, is key. 

 

 

The goal of creating remarkable moments during conferences is often to: 

  • Keep people engaged
  • Create shareable moments 
  • Create joy among attendees
  • Facilitate opportunities to network and connect
  • Leave your audience wanting more! 

 

 

Here are a few ideas to fulfill this same goal in virtual meetings:

 

Giveaways

 

Keep your audience engaged in the content of the meeting by offering a prize or giveaway. Sure, you won’t be tossing free shirts their way, but you can send a snazzy e-gift their way! 

 

 

Small groups

 

Online events won’t always need to be entirely remote for attendees. When and where it’s safe to do so, encourage small viewing parties allowing people to still come together, bond in small groups and elevate the experience. Remember to implement safe social distancing practices.

 

Celebrities and Special Guests

 

The costs of having a celebrity or special guest join your virtual event are much lower than a traditional celebrity appearance. Take advantage of the savings and wow your audience with a presentation, conversation or Q&A with famed personalities. 

 

Branding 

 

While there is a temptation to worry less about the event’s brand and simply get it done, consider taking the brand even more seriously. Design assets that pop, be thoughtful about your event title and theme that can make it unforgettable for attendees and potential attendees. 

 

Facilitated Networking

 

Many online event platforms have built-in networking and direct attendee messaging tools, so be sure to facilitate those interactions. Make time and space for networking in your agenda, promote the function to attendees and offer conversation starters. 

 

Be Real

 

There are a lot of masks worn by people at conferences and events, so let’s collectively allow virtual events to become real, honest gatherings. Don’t shy away from addressing the challenges people are facing, encourage people to be honest and we’ll see an elevated dialogue in our events.

 

Social Engagement

 

Just because your whole event is online doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be experiences, moments and opportunities for attendees to share on their social channels. Think about the “Instagrammable” moments you can create in your virtual environment or the social campaigns that can accompany your event.