When you think of off-site meetings, trade shows and exhibits, you imagine your friends, peers, and superiors coming together to create a better company, a better industry, and a better tomorrow. Today, that image is a lot different. In-person events have always been the bedrock of our industry. But since the coronavirus pandemic, that bedrock has shifted to a more virtual landscape. From attending webinars, or Zoom meetings, to working from home, we have all found some positive and certainly some negative aspects to our new virtual reality. So, can virtual meetings be a suitable contender against face-to-face gatherings?
There is a joy in the air on a morning of a large in-person event that is indescribable; a little bit of nerves, a little bit of excitement, and a lot of anticipation all rolled into one. In-person events can leave an unforgettable impression, whether it be shaking hands with a mentor, or working with teammates to build a bike for charity or catching up with an old colleague over lunch. Whatever the moment, it will be remembered. And in-person meetings can provide a more targeted, and more focused learning experience than most any virtual meetings. There is the ability to demonstrate products, conduct team building group exercises and offer attendees the opportunity to network with fellow colleagues. When your audience is engaged, your message will also be that moment to remember.
Virtual events have every capability of leaving the same impression, with some more distinctive benefits. You can reach a larger audience by including those who could not otherwise attend, which in turn extends the reach of your message. As long as attendees can connect to the internet, then they can access an online event. This means your event can reach people across the globe. You can also use your recorded presentation as a promotional or educational tool, which then can be shared through other virtual channels also extending the reach of your marketing and brand recognition. Regardless of the decision you make for how to hold your event, realize that there are many benefits to doing both in-person and virtual. And yes, they might be targeting the same attendees, but both components are meant to complement each other, not battle for the same ground. And, with the release of a coronavirus vaccine, the hope for the return of in-person meetings, small and large, is not so distant of an actuality. Whether in-person or virtual, your meeting needs will always be met at both the Four Points by Sheraton Norwood, and the Forefront Center for Meetings and Conferences, Waltham.