Guest blog from Rebecca Fearon, Meat Business Women membership marketing manager
Online meetings, webinars and the virtual workplace has become second nature to most of us since the pandemic.
While working in the virtual world has opened up a massive range of new opportunities for member organisations like Meat Business Women, such as online masterclasses, global conferences and mentoring, we also know all too well about virtual burnout and the curse of the dreaded hour-and-a-half-long webinar!
So how do you engage people time and time again to attend virtual events and connect over Zoom? Particularly when work commitments drop into the diary last-minute. In one respect it’s easier to get your audience to register for a virtual event, but it’s also a lot harder to get them to attend as they can simply be cancelled at the click of a button.
The Meat Business Women community is made up of women across the globe and relies on opportunities to network globally. We work with our territory partners in Australia and New Zealand to deliver expert speakers and content that’s super relevant to the industry and to our members personal development, which is a key consideration during any virtual event.
At Meat Business Women, we tend to plan in our masterclass calendar at least 6 months in advance so that we are prepared should a speaker drop out for any reason. Recommendations are key here, so reach out to your contacts to see if they have seen or heard of someone who is truly inspirational.
With a global network it can be tricky to organise timescales that suit everyone, but going for early morning, late evening tends to work well and we record all our masterclasses so that members can watch them back. With accessibility in mind, it’s also a good idea to include subtitles where you can. Make sure you create a social graphic for your speaker so that they can also share on their channels too to maximise reach.
We find that a 30 minutes session with a 15 minute Q & A session works well. Depending on your session, of course, you’ll want to decide whether you’d like interaction from the audience. Do you want them to ask questions, get involved with discussion, or simply take part in a virtual poll? This is their chance to start open discussions that lead to a meaningful connections.
If you’d like your attendees to participate, make sure this is clear ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than having to make everyone turn on their cameras when they were least expecting it! If your attendees ask questions, make a note of them for ideas for your future content. At Meat Business Women, we lead smaller discussion groups which our members can get involved with, particularly younger members who are keen to contribute their passion for the industry and bring their ideas to life.
It’s always worth a follow up email to give your audience details of the next event, a round up of the ideas that has come from that session and ask for feedback – this is really important to ensure that you keep relevant to your audience.
Rebecca Fearon is the membership marketing manager for Meat Business Women, the global professional networking group for women working across the meat industry. Membership is open to all people working across the meat industry globally. More details about the organisation can be found here.