Tips for Hosting Virtual Group Meetings and Conferences


Amid constantly changing work environments, business leaders and employees must remain agile. That means embracing technology for remote meetings as well as various collaboration tools. This is not always easy, especially for those in an insurance industry that relies on face-to-face interactions.

When the global coronavirus pandemic hit, for example, PIMA events — which traditionally are held in person — had to be adapted using online conference platforms and other collaborative technology. In June 2020, PIMA successfully hosted a weeklong virtual conference that included keynotes, workshops, and topic-based sessions.

PIMA conference organizers (and attendees) quickly learned that there are benefits to hosting virtual group meetings, events, and conferences.

In-person events don't always see as many participants. After all, it's easy to skip them due to other obligations and meetings; with virtual events, people can attend them from wherever they might be.

Virtual group meetings and events also allow for more engagement. Using technology for remote meetings like Whova and Intermedia AnyMeeting — to name a couple — makes it easy for participants to ask and answer questions, give feedback, connect with other attendees, receive updates and reminders, and more. Virtual chat rooms let speakers or meeting hosts personally acknowledge attendees and allow everyone to contribute. For an in-person event with high attendance, that is not usually possible.

Aside from using the best platforms for virtual meetings, here are some additional tips for virtual meetings for anyone planning on hosting an online workshop, conference, or companywide gathering:

  • Communicate with attendees about the technology that you will use. This communication should include detailed instructions and helpful screenshots. That way, attendees can easily navigate the technology and give their full attention to the meeting or event.
  • Offer opportunities for attendees to test the technology before the event or virtual group meeting to reduce unexpected technical issues.
  • Keep details simple for those who may not be as tech savvy.
  • Build excitement around the event. Some people may be averse to technology and worried about how the content will be delivered virtually. One way to get them interested is by sharing testimonials that showcase the benefits of virtual group meetings to ease any anxiety around online gatherings.

The insurance industry is adaptable and will soon become adept at running and participating in virtual group meetings. Moving forward, we may even see the value of hosting virtual events in place of in-person gatherings.

Published on September 22, 2020.

For more tips for virtual meetings — and to see how others in the group sponsored benefits industry are adapting to new working styles —
become a PIMA member today.