Webinars will not Save the Meetings Industry

25th Mar, 2020

"We are social beings and we are organisers of all sorts of gatherings because we are. We learn from each-other, we get to know, like and trust strangers and we simply enjoy discovering places, people and things. NONE of these are ever present in a webinar. At least not in a way close to a real gathering of human beings. Our industry is suffocating, because gatherings are taboo. Travelling is prohibited and our participants are locked up. This killer flood may take months plus all the cancellations further down the year.  

We cannot just cancel and believe we will survive. What can we do other than cancelling or postponing? How about a webinar, or a whole bunch of them?  Come on people. We all know it, but there is a bit of the emperors’ clothes present. So let me say it out-loud and in front of the whole world: WEBINARS SUCK! And i do not need to explain to you, organiser of gatherings, why that is. 

We can do much better! We can do online meetings. Or online conferences. Or online training. Online seminars and online congresses. And i do not mean a series of webinars! I mean an on-line environment where we have the learning from speakers and add the learning from each other. We have plenary sessions, break-outs, coffee breaks and small group conversations. It is fun in many ways, social, interactive and even magic. A bit like real meetings, but online. If well designed, timed and prepared and well executes, they get people to say things that they never say after a webinar, and certainly not after two! After a good online meeting, people say things like:  

“This was the best online meeting I have ever attended. I have been in many webinars before, but this digital meeting by the Meeting Design Institute was highly interactive and engaging. Breakout groups were superbly organised and in these smaller groups we were able to brainstorm some key issues. The event was informative and a true way to feel connected with the industry in our time of crisis and isolation.”  Gordon Glenister 

So people, lets raise the bar and do better, MUCH better thanks to online meetings that make participants forget there was ever such a thing as a webinar. 

When our participants are no longer locked up, in some countries initially, we may go for a Multi-Hub meeting before fully returning to the real deal! 

Let’s allow our teams and members to enjoy a great experience, even despite the lack of travel and accommodation.  

International meetings of just a few hours are easy, affordable and possible 

Online conferences of many hundreds of participants and dozens of break-out rooms are possible 

Small group Conversations and Input (C&I) as in ‘real interaction’ are possible 

We will share some of the secrets and tips and tricks with you when you want to investigate going online with your meetings and conferences. Don’t cancel or even postpone yet, you want to TRANSFORM. And we want to help. 

Find more on free online sessions on online meetings and other things under resources on https://www.meetingdesigninstitute.org/going-digital"

Maarten Vanneste - President at Meeting Design Institute

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