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Modernising your meeting strategy

As the world celebrates the safe return to travel and meetings, many organisations are asking whether this is also the return to “normal” (in pre-pandemic terms) or if we have arrived at the dawn of a new age.

Undoubtedly, the pandemic instantly changed our view of how to hold a meeting. The widespread onset of digital tool usage allowed us all to see each other without being with each other. But we also learned that virtual meeting execution can be complicated and attendee engagement a challenge, both requiring thoughtful planning and execution to ensure maximum return on investment.

The pandemic has provided businesses with an opportunity to redesign and redefine their company-wide meeting strategies to enhance audience engagement while also optimising meeting-related spend and mitigating risk.

Here are four things to consider for your modern meeting strategy:

1) Omni-channel engagement

Organisations may benefit from the thoughtful redesign of their meeting agendas to accommodate both synchronous (in-person) and asynchronous (virtual) content delivery. Meeting attendees have become accustomed to viewing meeting content on-demand at their leisure, but a well-known side-effect of virtual meetings is increased distraction and reduced engagement. What if your content is crucial and your attendee never views it?

Thoughtfully designed meeting agendas should incorporate multiple channels of engagement. In-person content delivery focuses on driving collaboration, idea-creation, relationship building and, most importantly, controlled messaging. To complement your in-person agenda, layering digital content can extend your meeting’s reach and continue engagement outside of the core meeting agenda, both pre-and post-event. This layered approach optimises the time investment of both face-to-face and virtual attendees and the financial investment of the organisation.

2) Intentionally establishing connections

High-performing teams and businesses require strong internal and external relationships built on trust and respect. This can be difficult to establish and maintain in a virtual environment. In fact, in our 2020 customer survey 65% of respondents globally cited a downward trend in their ability to engage with customers and employees due to the inability to travel.

And what about onboarding new employees and defining your corporate culture in a virtual environment? How are new employees connecting to the organisation and representing your brand?

In an era of blended work-environments, organisations should consider a carefully balanced mix of in-person and virtual engagement opportunities to enable employees to collaborate, learn and engage with colleagues, partners and peers.

3) Motivate and recognise

Many organisations have used incentive travel to recognise top achievers. Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) studies show that experiences have a longer-lasting impression than cash-based awards. However, the pandemic forced significant changes to incentive strategies for organisations that primarily used group travel rewards.

With the definitions of ROI changing for both organisations and their high achievers, now may be the time to re-examine or implement an incentive program that inspires achievers to contribute to the organisation’s overall objectives.

4) Managed meetings

Organisations that had a strategic meetings management program (SMMP) in place are likely to have enjoyed more strategic outcomes from their meetings investment during the pandemic. The visibility into meeting-related contracts allowed for the strategic approach to cancelling and rebooking, minimising amounts paid in cancellation fees.

In addition, central oversight during the pandemic helped ensure that only approved and safe meetings took place. By incorporating elements of a virtual meeting strategy into an overall SMM program, your business can extend its meetings engagement to a broader group of attendees (once limited by budget and/or geographic spread), while optimising content engagement, duty of care and budget.


Eager to find out more about modernising your meeting strategy?

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