Potomac Memo - May/June 2011 - (Page 10)

planner feature Virtual Meetings Won’t End the Reign of the Face-to-Face Meeting…Yet by Stacey Royston, CMM, CMP Manager, Meetings and Technology Services, U.S. Pharmacopeia In 2009, at the height of the recession, legendary Cisco president and CEO, John Chambers, gave this credo to his staff regarding meetings: “No travel, no off-sites, no catering.”* For the meeting planner, this was surely a harbinger of things to come. If this technology industry bellwether, who had spent millions of dollars in previous years on off-site meetings, events and catering, was putting a moratorium on face-to-face meetings, what would my association/company/university/nonprofit do? Would my organization cut off face-to-face meetings, too? Can my job exist on solely virtual meetings? The answer is yes – and no. To be sure, virtual meetings have become ubiquitous in the meetings industry. Meeting planners utilize virtual technology to access international speakers, and attendees on a budget can participate in a conference regardless of its location. Virtual meetings are a wonderful way to digitally capture and document presentations and track discussions. They extend your content reach; you can get your word out to customers all over the world without having to travel. Your dollar goes further – costs for catering, travel and copying are virtually eliminated. You can support the green initiatives of your company since a virtual meeting leaves behind an all but invisible carbon footprint. While wholly virtual meetings have their place, “hybrid” events – events that utilize both face-to-face and virtual aspects – are the reason why meeting planners aren’t going anywhere any time soon. As every planner knows, business is deepened by relationships, which are fostered by face-to-face connections. Networking is the number two reason people attend meetings.** It’s also the number one reason face-to-face meetings aren’t going away. Nothing virtually can take the place of personal, eye-to-eye interactions. A virtual handshake will never replace a real one. Salespeople need to connect with their clients, and vice versa. The casual banter that happens at a cocktail reception or over lunch doesn’t happen over the internet. However, virtual meetings do have a place in the meeting world. Check these points to see if you can have your meeting entirely in the virtual realm: • Is your meeting under two hours long? • Is your meeting informational in nature – not requiring any audience participation? • Is your meeting a training or demonstration? • Does your meeting require a shared desktop? • Are your presentations full of charts, graphs or other multi-media presentations? Use virtual meetings to inform. Meetings such as budget sessions, trainings, informational/orientation sessions or any medium that doesn’t require audience feedback can be held entirely online. With more than 109 million U.S. mobile subscribers (47% of all users) accessing mobile media** you can be sure that virtual meetings are not going away. The ability to connect with a meeting from any location is crucial with today’s busy lifestyles. Here are some additional ways to make certain that your virtual meeting doesn’t hit any bumps in the road: Prepare, prepare, prepare. Don’t assume that since your meeting is online it doesn’t require preparation. Be sure to log on at least an hour in advance of your meeting. Have your presenters log in early as well. Have a trial run in advance of your event date. Check your links and teleconference numbers. Don’t rely on what’s been given to you. Even computer generated links can have glitches. Check the web address you are giving to your participants before you send out the information. Have a virtual meeting expert on hand. Even the most seamless of virtual meetings can go horribly wrong if you don’t have someone on hand to troubleshoot. If you don’t have an audio visual technician available, become your organization’s virtual meeting guru. Several companies offer training and advanced classes on virtual meetings, including www.webex.com and www.infocomm.com. Be ahead of the curve and learn the technology today. For more information on what virtual meetings can do, be sure to check out some of Webex’s on-demand webinars – http://www.webex.com/webinars/listing/type/ondemand. * “Leveraging Virtual Meetings” by Linda Mansouria, CMP, CMM presented at the IACC Conference March 24, 2011 ** ComScore Mobile Year in Review, 2010, February 2011 10 PMPI POTOMAC MEMO www.pmpi.org http://www.webex.com http://www.infocomm.com http://www.webex.com/webinars/listing/type/ondemand http://www.pmpi.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Potomac Memo - May/June 2011

Potomac Memo - May/June 2011
Calendar of Events
President’s Message
Virtual Won’t Replace Face-to-Face Meetings
Risk Management
Become a ‘Searchinista’ in Four Steps
PMPI’s 2011-2012 Leadership
Preparing for WEC
Potomac Profiles
AIBTM Meets in Baltimore
New Members Spotlight
Community Outreach
Member Recognition
March Learning Experience
Index of Advertisers
Where in the PMPI World?

Potomac Memo - May/June 2011