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Innovation Insights
by Stephen Shapiro

virtual meetings

Answer These Key Questions to Improve Your Virtual Meeting

The key to good virtual meetings is to avoid replicating what you do in real life…

The way we conduct meetings changed over night. Or has it?

Given we are no longer able to meet in person, event organizers and professional speakers have been scrambling to recreate their live meetings using virtual platforms. In other words, automate what has been done in the past.

If a speech was to be given in front of a live audience, it is now delivered as a webinar. Same content. Same delivery method. But now in front of a camera instead of 1,000 faces.

Unfortunately, nearly every virtual meeting I have attended simply tried to replicate the face-to-face experience – and it failed.

Asking Better Questions About Meetings

To create better meetings, we need to ask different questions. What if we didn’t just replicate, but instead we innovated? Here are some questions that might get your thinking differently about your next virtual meeting:

  • What can we do in virtual meetings that we can’t do with live in-person meetings? How can we take full advantage of virtual options? For example, how can we take advantage of the ability to break people into smaller groups instantly – for short periods of time? How can we use polling to drive the direction of the conversation – and make real-time shifts in the content?
  • What aspects of meetings do not require real-time participation? For those, what other options do we have for delivering that content? How can we maximize the value we get from the live virtual meeting? For example, how can we limit the live virtual experience to the interactive components, and deliver the rest via pre-recorded video that is sent prior to the meeting?
  • How can we go beyond the meeting? What processes can we put in place to sustain results over the long-term? What happens after the event? For example, how can we get attendees to apply the concepts from the meting? How can we create cohorts that tackle real-world problems? How can we measure the actual impact of a meeting? How can we engage people long after the meeting is over?
  • When we return to face-to-face meetings, what aspects of virtual meetings will continue to out-perform the in-person meeting? For example, how can we use technology before and after an event to maximize the value we get from the live meeting?

This is just a starter list of questions. There are literally dozens (or hundreds) of different questions that you could ask that would reveal previously invisible solutions.

Don’t Replicate or Automate, Innovate

The point is, don’t simply replicate or automate what you have done in the past. Rethink the entire meeting experience: before, during, and after the event. Use technology the best way possible to get the best results. Sometimes the ideal solution isn’t a live meeting.

My Approach

My plan for 2020 was always to increase the number of my virtual offerings. From a personal perspective it would mean less time on the road. But from a client perspective, when done correctly, the virtual environment can deliver even more value. Although I was shifting to virtual, I didn’t expect the entire world to do the same virtual over night. I’ve been rethinking the way I deliver my virtual content for over a decade.

If you would like to learn more about my approach, visit my “Virtual Page.” Or if you are looking for something completely different, check out my “Ultimate Virtual Meeting” avatar-based offering.

This video shares my 5-step process for delivering value in a virtual environment. Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about anything you see. We have so many interesting ways to deliver content digitally.

This article originally appeared on the Inc. website