December 10, 2020

Q&A Series: How can I level-up my virtual meetings in 2021?

In this series, Within3 tackles some common questions about planning and launching successful virtual engagements.

Q: Like everyone else, we’re doing a lot of virtual meetings – and people are over it. How can I reinvigorate my meetings going into next year?

A: Great question. We all know what it’s like to sit in back-to-back (to back-to-back) web meetings, and we’re all definitely guilty of multi-tasking or letting our attention wander. If you’re seeing a drop-off in participation, here are three tips to revamp your approach to virtual meetings and get back on track with great results.

Be strategic about your guest list

If you had a recent virtual meeting that was a bit lackluster, take a look at the invite list. If you’re getting feedback from physicians, for example, did you invite a good mix of experienced and trusted KOLs in addition to some rising stars? For over-time meetings, did you include people you know to be very vocal in face-to-face settings, as well as some who tend to be more reticent? We’ve learned that advisors who are quieter during in-person meetings are among the most prolific contributors during asynchronous meetings, so make an effort to include these folks in your next session.

Bonus tip: Don’t assume that personality, age, or perceived tech-savvy will indicate the quality of participation. Most of us spent the better part of a year getting used to virtual meeting technology – your colleagues and KOLs can handle this!

Be proactive about your expectations

Answer honestly: Have you ever launched a virtual meeting without setting and sharing an agenda? We get it, these things take time – but you’re missing out on an easy way to get more out of your meeting.

For asynchronous settings in particular, it’s important for participants to understand what the meeting is about, what’s expected of them from a participation standpoint, and the objective of the meeting. Launching a meeting without these is like asking people to sit down to dinner without setting the table – or cooking the meal! If your KOLs or internal colleagues don’t know what to expect, you’ll get subpar participation and shallow feedback that may not move your project forward. Freshen your approach by telling participants how much time you’ll need from them, what if any resources they should read or view prior to the meeting, and what you expect in terms of participation.

Bonus tip: If appropriate, hold an onboarding webcast prior to launching an over-time session to give everyone a chance to level-set. You can use the time however you like – for introductions, for training, or to review meeting objectives.

Be open to changing things up

We’ve helped to plan, launch, and conduct thousands of virtual meetings, and that experience is key to helping clients avoid common mistakes, delayed timelines, and underwhelming results. But our expertise goes further than that – we can also brainstorm creative ways to ensure you get the highest-quality insights.

Whether it’s combining a live web meeting with an asynchronous session, using pre-recorded video, using different question types to get quantitative and qualitative feedback, or making adjustments mid-session to meet key business goals, we have lots of ways to help you get your team out of its virtual meeting rut. If your tried-and-true approach has become more tired-and-true, a new format will provide welcome change.

Bonus tip: Taking the initiative to drive more actionable insight into your decision-making process reflects well on you and your team – why not make 2021 your year to stand out?

To dive deeper into more tactics for successful virtual meetings, download “The Live-to-Virtual Pivot: 4 Best Practices.”