One of the great things about modern technology is that it has an "on" switch. Which is to say: You don't have to be an engineer to use it; it's so simple and so straightforward that it practically runs itself.
That leads many meeting professionals to make a false assumption: that planning a virtual meeting is as easy as putting a camera on a panel of speakers and pressing "record." The truth is, it's a lot more complicated than that.
"It's not just turning on the camera and hitting 'stream,'" says Jennifer Kingen Kush, vice president and executive director of the Professional Convention Management Association's (PCMA) Digital Experience Institute (DEI).
According to Kingen Kush, virtual meetings aren't a "set it and forget it" proposition. In order to succeed, they require careful and deliberate planning -- the most important aspect of which is devising a strategy for how to engage attendees.
"With each session that we do there is planned engagement," explains Kingen Kush, who says PCMA's virtual meetings don't just broadcast video to virtual attendees; they actively engage them by incorporating text chat with virtual event hosts, speakers, and/or online moderators, who ingratiate themselves with virtual attendees by actively involving them in sessions -- via shout-outs, for example, Q&As, or interactive exercises. "[You have to have] a deliberate plan for how presenters will acknowledge the online audience and interact with them."
Simply put: A good virtual meeting isn't a broadcast; it's a conversation