Sunday, July 12, 2009

Virtual Meetings … Are They Friends or Foes?

For some time there has been much discussion in the Meetings and Events Business regarding the Virtual meeting imageuse and impact of Virtual vs. Live Events.  The evolving points of view on this issue appear to be:

  1. The Virtual event format, if utilized, may flourish at the expense of Face to Face (F2F) Meetings essentially cannibalizing them.  For organizations where “live Events” are a revenue source this is a particularly sensitive issue.
  2. There is synergy in utilizing both formats potentially leading to stronger overall business results for an organization.


I have been monitoring the chatter on this topic with great interest!  The following are my personal thoughts from the discussions:

  • F2F Meetings:
    • will continue driving business communications and productivity for the foreseeable future.(certainly my lifetime)  Live networking remains the indisputable foundation for initiating, building and maintaining business relationships.
    • may generate “buzz” and excitement for the organization by their very nature, as direct F2F interaction is engaging and contagious.
    • Get people out of the office and into a relaxed, neutral environment, creating a situation ripe with creativity and collaboration.
  • Virtual Meetings:
    • are an alternative platform for delivering educational/informational content to customers/stakeholders where F2F attendance is not possible.  (ie financially or geographically challenged, schedule conflict)
    • Are an efficient business tool for facilitating internal organization meetings, where the time and travel cost savings of convening the event virtually outweigh the benefits of a F2F environment.
    • Are a valid marketing tool to showcase the commitment and value of an organization to its customers.  Particularly in tough economic times (i.e. Now!) a virtual model of delivering event content will significantly expand the reach of messaging from the organization.
    • do not replace the value of F2F Meetings, but compliment them. They are a tool in the right context to enhance the customer experience generating loyalty and new business growth opportunities.Virtual mtg cartoon humorous

Are you considering implementing or already utilizing Virtual Meetings in your organization?  If so I would love to hear your thoughts on this powerful business tool! In my next blog post I will address the issue of pricing models for virtual events.

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