Reports of the death of live events have been exaggerated. You may still be wary of large conferences and exhibitions but, as Covid eases, event planners are working hard on internal business events and town hall meetings.
Managers recognise they must try to bring teams together as staff have been isolated in their homes for so long. CEOs want to explain strategy. R&D need to brainstorm new ideas. There will be requirements for team building, new starter induction and motivation. In all this, face-to-face remains most people’s preferred option. I believe this need for occasional set-piece business meetings will be long-lasting due to continued remote working for some businesses.
We’ve been doing it long enough now to know that meeting people over the internet just isn’t the same as seeing that person in real life. Not only that: Zoom fatigue is real. Staring at a screen for even an hour can really make us feel tired as I explained in my previous blog.
And don’t just take my word for it. There is more detail on Zoom fatigue and how to solve it from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.
Cooperation and collaboration is a crucial element in our social make-up. John Donne famously wrote ‘No man is an island’ but it goes further than that sense of self-worth. An article in the scientific journal Nature reveals how we must cooperate to survive and tackle global challenges.
Even tech guru Steve Jobs from Apple thought face to face meetings were better than online ones.
Hybrid meetings just a short-term solution
At the moment, people think hybrid is the answer. They are certainly going to be an important part of bonding teams when some are happy to ‘return’ to the office and others prefer to work from home.
I don’t think hybrid meetings will be the long-term solution. If people can travel to an event and remain safe.
Hybrid is there for convenience as it always has been prior to Covid. It's more convenient for those who really cannot travel to meetings due to international travel restrictions, scheduling or if they are isolating. It’s also very useful for capturing the event for people to be able to watch or re watch in their own time. I think if people can venture out to meetings and events they will. For some, it will be a reason to get out of the house, for others, camaraderie and meeting people plays a pivotal role in their mental health and wellbeing regime.
This seems especially important for young workers. Many starters have not even met their colleagues and are working from cramped bedrooms. The BBC has reported that 82% of Gen Z workers feel ‘less connected’ working remotely.
Audience engagement built through technology
Bringing business colleagues together for a meeting is only worthwhile when the audience is fully engaged and feels their contributions are worthwhile. This is true no matter if the event is hybrid or all in-person. A key requirement of a successful brainstorm or town hall will be audience engagement and gaining feedback and participation from all attendees.
Polling is a great solution to prevent chaos when 120 people try to give their opinion in a Zoom call or a conference room. It’s also a way to encourage less assertive members of staff to put their views across, secure in the knowledge that they will be as authoritative as those of the more vocal members of the team.
Soundbite provides a range of cost-effective voting handsets plus unique consultancy services to ensure you get the most out of your voting system and event technology. Our audience engagement consultancy gives you two advantages:
Objectives & Question Setting – we will frame your objectives and help you develop precisely the right questions to obtain data you can use to enhance your business
Data Capture & Analysis – we capture all the information for subsequent analysis and follow up
Advice on running an internal business event
So here is a summary of how to hold a safe and value-creating internal business event, post-Covid:
Ensure socially distant if required – some teams may be split around different rooms, so video of keynote speakers may be required. This then allows team discussion in an open format
Polling is great – use the technology to generate maximum audience engagement
Keep it short – keep business elements focused and let people ‘escape’ to their own bubble as quickly as possible
Let conversation flow – social interaction has been hugely missed, so don’t overemphasise the work element. Give people space around the meeting to catch up socially, check in with one another and provide mutual support
There are several more tips on this recent blog from We Work.
The value of in-person business events can be immeasurable. All employees need interaction in these times – and that includes those desperate to work in an office as much as it does those who have taken to remote working successfully.
Meeting in person you have gain so much more as you can read the body language, brainstorm freely – all things which are difficult to do online. And feedback is much better when it’s given in person, when you can recognise team members’ achievements, train people and mentor them.
For more advice, technology and event planning consultancy to ensure you get the most from safe, effective internal events and Town Hall Meetings, contact Soundbite on 0207 118 9818 or via our website form.