Last year, event planners had to figure out how to convert an in-person event to a virtual event; this year, they are tasked with planning hybrid events, a marriage between the two formats. Abby Jensen, Senior Account Manager at MedLogix Communications, shares her experiences in planning pharmaceutical training meetings as gathering restrictions continue to evolve.Background on MedLogix Communications
MedLogix Communications is an independent, full-service medical communications company. MedLogix serves as a third-party meeting-planning company for Pharma, Biotech, and other medical device companies. Abby Jensen has been utilizing MeetApp for about 2 years for investigator meetings and recruitment meetings; these meetings occur about 10-15 times per year and, on average, receive 75-100 attendees. Pre-pandemic, these training meetings were fully in-person but have recently made the switch to virtual. In the fall, however, these meetings will shift further into a hybrid format.
Differences in Format
Jensen explains that one of the main differences between planning in-person meetings and planning virtual meetings is the setting. For in-person meetings, much of the focus was on venue logistics. Whereas the focus with virtual meetings is mostly on how the audiovisual elements impact the experience and attendees’ ability to engage and comprehend presentations.
Tech Platforms and AV Partners
MeetApp and other AV partners have become critical components to the event planning process. Jensen has never before relied so heavily on tech platforms and AV companies for hosting meetings. Now, they serve as key players in ensuring that participants are all aligned with the goals of the meetings and that the program’s agenda is structured for success.
“One of the biggest challenges is knowing when your audience is dedicated to the virtual component of your program.”
Overcoming Audience Challenges
“One of the biggest challenges is knowing when your audience is dedicated to the virtual component of your program,” Jensen elucidates.
It is important for her to be able to gauge the sentiments of her audience because the purpose of many of the meetings is to train, making information retention crucial. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to engage a virtual audience when people are more apt to multitask when attending online.
Luckily, MeetApp’s polling feature helps keep a virtual audience active. The presenters for Jensen’s events have always used audience-response systems during meetings and are especially excited about MeetApp’s polling feature which is useful for both virtual and in-person audiences.
“MeetApp takes off the pressure of the transition, going from virtual to hybrid–it’s really the best for both”
Overcoming the Transition from In-Person to Virtual and Virtual to Hybrid
Another challenge Jensen has run into has been transitioning from in-person to virtual agendas. An eight-hour in-person meeting cannot be treated the same as an eight-hour live-meeting and finding a format that works for both types of audiences can be tricky. Each type of audience needs different forms of engagement. With meetings soon to become available in both format options, Jensen has been working on ways to accommodate her hybrid audiences with the assistance of MeetApp.
“MeetApp takes off the pressure of the transition, going from virtual to hybrid–it’s really the best for both” she relays. MeetApp’s user-friendliness, polling feature, agenda format, and ability to livestream presentations while also supporting ancillary resources are some of the features that Jensen and her team appreciate.
MeetApp and AV companies come together with MedLogix Communications to set their clients up for success. Together, tech platforms, AV companies, and event planners mix the perfect recipe for an immersive virtual and soon-to-be hybrid event experience.