This video was not produced by but has been included within the library because it is directly relevant to individuals who work in medcomms and is here with permission from its owner.

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Are you getting the most out of your virtual and hybrid meetings?

In this Spirit Short, Senior Account Manager Laura Mackey reflects on our team’s learnings through 2020 on how to increase reach and engagement in the online setting.

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2020 has certainly been a catalyst for re-evaluating how we approach meetings: face to face meetings have almost disappeared, whereas virtual and hybrid meetings have become the norm – a trend set to continue in 2021.

When planning for successful virtual hybrid meetings, we consider the following four key components. The first is how to engage your audience. We know that pre-event engagement is vital for virtual hybrid meetings to create excitement and interest and increase attendance. Approaches that work well are pre-event microsites, where we include key information about the meeting – for example, presenter biographies or details of the individual presentations. Teaser clips from the faculty are particularly effective at increasing interest, and also allowing the audience to input into the programme pre-event makes it more meaningful and relevant.

The second key consideration to bear in mind is your content and the storytelling behind it. My colleague Jude has developed a Spirit Short on this topic, and you’re more than welcome to go and take a look at it on our website. Some things I’d like to highlight from that are, firstly, the importance of making the content as visually engaging as possible. This allows delegates to remain focused when viewing content on a small screen. The second is that the content and the presenter should be complementary to one another. If the content is simply a replacement for the presenter, then the attendees may as well just be reading the slides.

The third key component is user experience. In virtual and hybrid meetings, it is key to have great moderation to ensure that the meeting stays on topic and to time and that the audience are all engaged and also all voices are heard. Also, you could consider including gamification. We know this works well for face-to-face meetings, but it works even better for virtual and hybrid meetings, including small things such as a live Q&A or a quiz will make the audience feel more involved in the meeting…even if they are attending from home. And who doesn’t want to win a quiz?

The fourth component to consider is the post-event communication plan and how to continue the dialogue following the meeting. For an Ad Board, for example, you could consider working with the advisory board attendees and have regular touchpoints to develop a post-meeting deliverable. On the other hand for a symposium, you could consider working with the presenters to deliver a short interview or a live Q&A session a couple of weeks after the meeting, where the presenters reflect on what was discussed and also the impact of that information on clinical practice.

And just to highlight one final but vital point: A trend that has emerged now that all meetings are virtual and lives are getting busier is that the drop-out on the day of a meeting is becoming common, even for people who are genuinely interested in the topic. So always ensure that your meeting materials or highlights are available on-demand and there is a method for delegates to get engaged in the dialogue with you following the meeting whenever they view the materials.

If you’d like to delve further into how Spirit can support you with your virtual and hybrid meetings, then please do contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

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