A meeting's a meeting... virtually

Employee communications channels

Virtual Meetings

Purpose Typical audience Pros Cons Can you do it yourself? Thinking points
Ideal for delivering the personal touch when a larger group of people can’t get together physically Usually better for specific teams and groups It’s free, inexpensive, versatile, and gives you instant feedback on your message Virtual meeting fatigue; plus it’s dependent on the quality of the various internet connections Yes Build-in plenty of breaks, keep the agenda moving along, and avoid hybrid (online/offline) virtual meetings where possible

What is this channel?

If face-to-face meetings are logistically difficult (because of geographic distance or lingering Covid restrictions) a virtual meeting could be just the channel. Depending on your requirements, you can keep them very simple or you can build them out into true conferences - with breakout rooms and plenaries! The choice is yours.

What and when is it typically used?

Think about your audience; can you share your messages properly and reach them via this channel? Check out the comparison notes below and weigh your pros versus cons. This will help you decide how to spend your time/ money for the best result.

Benefits

  1. Lower cost than f2f.
  2. Potential to share live content (ppt, video, desktop, etc).
  3. Human interaction! 

Challenges

  1. It doesn’t deliver the personal touch of f2f.
  2. Some people may not have a stable internet connection.
  3. Technical issues are always a risk.
  4. Virtual meeting (Teams) fatigue!

How to use this channel

Identify when you need to meet and with whom. When your purpose is clear, check out which meeting format best suits your needs:

  • The cheapest and easiest option is a Teams meeting. Here, you can even create break-out rooms!
  • Live events are an extension of Teams meetings that enable you to schedule and produce events that stream to large online audiences. This needs more planning and preparation than a regular Teams meeting. Note: during the meeting you need a ‘producer’ to manage what the audience sees.
  • Virtual meetings for larger conferences: you can host many visitors, with different meeting rooms and sessions running in parallel. There is some cost involved here so contact the DSM Meetings and Events team for guidance. 

Things to keep in mind

  • We’ve all done a lot of virtual meetings as a result of Covid-19.
  • Being in a lengthy online meeting is more tiring than a face-to-face event so keep your audience engaged through surprising energizers: for example, ask for quick feedback by running a survey; or why not take a fun online group picture?
  • Build-in plenty of breaks.
  • In our experience, blended/hybrid meetings that combine both virtual and f2f elements don’t really work as those joining online tend to feel less involved.
  • There are some great (free) external platforms to co-create during a virtual setting. Check out Miro or Mural for example, you can use sticky notes!
  • Consider using the Teams white-board function during a session.
  • Live meetings are more complex than a regular Teams event and take longer time to prepare. You need to really train and instruct the speakers because they don’t see what the regular audience sees.

KPIs for this channel

How will you know ‘what success looks like’? Measuring the response to this channel /tool could give you a better understanding of whether you’ve reached your communication objective. KPIs can be qualitative or quantitative. Here are some ideas:

  • How many participants do you have compared to invitees?
  • Send a digital survey to the participants shortly after the meeting, together with some useful documentation.

Final thoughts

If this a stand-alone initiative, then go ahead! However, if this is part of a wider initiative, you might want to take a step back and look at the broader communications perspective. A good starting point is our 9-step approach to creating your communication plan - which includes an overview of all the internal channels and tools.

Read more

  • The DSM Virtual Venue

    For a glimpse into the future of where business – and our brand – is going, look no further than the DSM Virtual Venue.

  • Teams

    Suited to smaller virtual meetings including one-on-ones.

  • Management cascade

    These regular meetings offer a great potential channel for reaching an already engaged audience.

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