fbpx How to Make Your Association’s Virtual Meetings a Hit With Members

How to Make Your Association’s Virtual Meetings a Hit With Members

Engagement, Technology Audra Hopkins

Let’s face it, getting all of your members in the same place to have monthly, face-to-face meetings is almost impossible for every association- including yours.

Your members are busy people. With hectic work schedules and a personal life to maintain, they may not always want to dedicate the time to meet with your association regularly. And not to mention those members who live far from your association’s headquarters- think about the time and money that goes into travel. With all of these roadblocks in place, there has to be a better way to keep all of your members on track.

And there is- with the help of virtual meetings.

According to this infographic created by PlanningPod, approximately 26% of meetings were estimated to be either virtual or hybrid by the year 2017. On top of that, 13% of event professionals reported they would likely use virtual technology in 2017. It seems like virtual is the way to go for many organizations out there, and it could be the answer to your association’s member engagement problems.

If virtual meetings sound like the right more for your association- then you’ve got a lot to learn. You want to make sure your virtual meetings are a consistent and valuable resource for your members, and lucky for you- we’ve got just the tips you need.

Let’s take a look at a few different ways your association can incorporate virtual meetings into its engagement strategy and create a new informational resource members will love.

 

Virtual Meetings: Putting In The Work

When it comes to any resource your association provides, keeping up with a consistent schedule is a month.

You want members to able to trust that a virtual meeting will be held regularly and according to the schedule you create. If members look forward to having the chance to speak with your association and discuss problems only to see the meeting is cancelled (or even forgotten about), they may get completely turned off to the idea of virtual meetings altogether.

However, this means some effort must be put in by your association’s team.

Yes- there is a learning curve to hosting regularly scheduled virtual meetings. Your association’s team is going to have to take time out of their day to learn the in’s and out’s of conducting virtual meetings, speak to members on what they’d like to get out of those meetings, and learn new technology tools to make it happen. A lot goes into hosting virtual meetings, but if the return of investment is right, your association should hope to see an increase in member engagement (and even member retention) from this effort.

Thankfully, there are helpful tools that can make hosting virtual meetings a bit easier.

Web conferencing systems can help your association get everyone on the same page without the hassle of coming up with a complicated process. Be sure to choose a web conferencing system that works with both your needs and your members’ needs. For example, what is your price range? How many members at a time are you looking to include in your virtual meeting? Are you looking to record these meetings for later?

If your association can come up with a schedule for meetings and find a platform that can host its meetings, you’ll be on the right track to keeping your members engaged.

Audience Tracking: Are Members Attending?

Once you get the ball rolling with your virtual meetings, you need to make sure they really start to hit home with your members.

Measuring the success of your virtual meetings early on can help you keep track of how your engagement efforts are fairing. It’s the perfect way to see the progress of your virtual meetings from the very start- seeing how your audience grows and watching the work your association puts in pay off in the long run.

But if the idea of virtual audience tracking is one that overwhelms your association and it’s staff- you’ll be in good shape to know it’s a lot more simple than it seems.

The truth of the matter is, by using technology to host virtual meetings, you’re actually already doing half of the audience tracking work. In fact, virtual audience tracking is seemingly much easier than tracking attendance at in-person meetings and conferences.

Using online web conferencing tools like Facebook Live and Instagram Live, you have access to a built-in live count tracker that counts the exact number of those watching at all times. This is great to see how many viewers can last through an entire virtual meeting, showing you what your average watch time is. And once your stream has ended, both tools give you a run down of the total amount of stream viewers, saving you a ton of time and frustration.

But if your association is going a different way with its virtual meetings, using a tool that does not offer this service, there are easy ways to keep track of attendance.

For example, you can create an attendance chart that allows you to tally up the data that matters most to you. For smaller associations, you can use this chart to track both the names of your attendees and the total number of those who attend. For larger associations, you can simply tally up those members who decide to join in on the meeting fun.

You always want to know how many members are engaging with your meetings in order to evaluate where to take your meetings next.

 

How to Set General Rules

With any meeting, virtual or in-person, there should always be ground rules set in order to keep everyone engaged and on track. And when setting these rules, you should always make your members aware of what should be expected.

So, what are some good rules to set for your virtual meetings?

To start, you want to make sure those speaking have the floor and are not interrupted. Interruptions can take up time and frustrate those trying to make a valuable point- slowing down the process. In order to combat this, you should ask those involved in your meeting to mute their microphones unless speaking. This will also mitigate any distracting background noise that could annoy those in attendance.

Additionally, you should have a set flow of how you want meetings to run and advise attendees to follow this flow. For example, you could start with introductions and move into pressing topics, ending with time for questions and answers. Think of your virtual meetings like an in-person meeting and plan accordingly.

For larger meetings, you can utilize a chat service in order to make sure everyone’s opinions and questions are taken into consideration. It can be hard to listen to everyone in attendance if these meetings are large. This way, less members are fighting for their comments to be taken into consideration.

Having a set rulebook in place can help keep everything together and create a balance for your association’s team and those in attendance.

Give virtual meetings a try and create a brand new resource members will be excited to hear about. Incorporate these tips, and your association can see success in virtual meetings in no time.

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