Demand for engaging and informative virtual meetings has never been greater. But producing these types of events at scale is no easy task. In this post, we’ll break down what a virtual meeting producer does and how it helps pharma and healthcare firms create better virtual engagements.
Let’s start this post by stating the obvious: People are burnt out on virtual meetings.
And the truth is, they should be.
This poses a serious challenge for businesses that regularly host engagements at scale, such as those in pharma and healthcare. Speaker programs, sales training, product launches, ad boards and countless other events like these (which can span multiple days and include hundreds of attendees) must all now be delivered virtually. The last thing anyone wants is another disorganized Teams or Zoom meeting.
So, what if your business has serious meeting needs like those above? How do you handle the transition to virtual? How do you make your virtual meetings as engaging and informative as your in-person-events?
That’s where a virtual meeting producer comes in.
What Is a Virtual Meeting Producer?
At the most basic level, a virtual meeting producer helps you design, build and deliver an effective environment in which people can learn and engage in a meaningful way. More importantly, they usually have a process or platform that allows you to do this at scale and run high-quality meetings over and over again.
It’s worth noting that virtual meeting producers don’t take on the role of creative producers. Instead, they’ll work with your creative division or agency to find the best way to engage participants.
So, what does the virtual production process look like?
Virtual Meeting Production: 6 Steps
Before you can start planning, you need to take a big picture look at what you need the meeting to accomplish.
A meeting of 200 people listening to a presentation has different objectives than a multi-day event with leadership panels and breakout sessions.
During this stage, the virtual meeting producer works with you to establish the specifics and objectives they need to achieve. You’ll ask and answer important logistical questions, such as:
- What type of meeting is this?
- How will participants engage?
- What does a custom agenda need to look like?
- What does the virtual environment need to look like?
- How will the background support manage user issues?
Once these high-level objectives are in place, the virtual meeting producer will then dial in the design, logistics and technology.
Most of us have grown used to meetings with no framework. We’re trained to think of a virtual meeting as going into Outlook and setting up a calendar meeting with an invite.
This approach works for an average meeting. But it almost always falls short for routine, large-scale virtual engagements that need to be informative and engaging.
To create a meeting noticeably better than your average Outlook meeting, a virtual meeting producer will work with you to design a timebound environment, customized to your agenda, where attendees can participate more fully.
This work takes place on a design call between you and the producer. They’ll work with you to plan out every day, every meeting and every minute of your program. This may take several calls, depending on the scope of the project
The producer will also use this stage to identify the degree of technical support your sessions and speakers will need. This plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of the virtual meeting. Because when you think through every minute of your agenda, you can eliminate uncertainty and prevent potential errors from occurring.
After design, you need to choose a technology platform to host your meeting. A virtual meeting producer will have experience with most, if not all, available platforms, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, GoToMeeting and many more. While each has its own strengths, a virtual producer will help you pick the one best suited to the needs of your meeting.
After you’ve designed a framework and picked a platform, you need a centralized place on which to stage it. To do this, a virtual meeting producer will create a virtual environment that mirrors your real-world, in-person environment as closely as possible.
Using a web-based collaborative platform, like Microsoft SharePoint, they’ll construct a branded, virtual meeting hub for your event. Here, attendees can browse general sessions, join guided activities, collaborate in smaller breakouts and chat in real-time – just like they would be able to in person.
One way of thinking about the virtual hub is that it serves the same kind of role a hotel does during an in-person event. There’s a virtual registration booth for check in, virtual event staff to guide attendees to events and even someone to ring the bell, virtually, when it’s time to switch sessions.
Once the technology is in place, it’s important to practice the meetings in the virtual environment to make sure everything functions as planned. The producer will work with each speaker to make sure they have the technology and training needed to present virtually.
The extensiveness of the rehearsals varies depending on the number of meetings. A series of 400 meetings will require a much more robust rehearsal and preparation than a few standalone meetings.
A major component of this process is a technical check, which tests each speaker’s audio and video quality. This addresses any major technical errors or issues with audio/visual quality up front. It’s also important because a speakers’ confidence tends to be higher when they know attendees can hear them without asking.
During the rehearsal, the producer will also work with the speakers to plan and practice how to create engagement. Participant engagement doesn’t happen by accident in a virtual meeting. It requires a framework of calls to action and the necessary technology to connect speakers and participants. By rehearsing engagement touch points, the producer prepares the speakers to conduct more engaging meetings.
Overall, this stage works to eliminate uncertainty, reduce the margin for error and prevent technical failures that inhibit participant engagement. Running an effective rehearsal makes sure frustrating audio and video failures happen before the meeting, not during.
The only way to ensure a smooth experience that keeps the discussion moving is by being present for it. That’s why, once preproduction is taken care of, the virtual meeting producer plays a vital role in running and supporting the meeting.
Activities, panels, breakout sessions and collaborative notes add a level of complexity to meetings. The virtual meeting producer facilitates these components, making sure they run smoothly.
Production staff will also find lost participants who don’t make it to their meeting and help them get where they need to go. This drives up attendance numbers, an essential part of creating an engaging meeting.
After the meeting, the producer will send out the reports and surveys to gather intel. This stage translates all of the data on attendance, polling and engagement into a meaningful format that you can use. This helps you refine your virtual meeting process and find easier ways to keep attendees involved and willing to participate.
Virtual meetings are here to stay. But engaging virtual experiences don’t happen by accident. A virtual meeting producer can help you establish a reliable and scalable framework to make your meetings more impactful for your audience.
Want to create a better virtual experience for your attendees? Intempio can help deliver seamless, user-friendly engagements at scale. Tell us about your meeting needs today!