The following is a guest article by Amber Doster, Director, Speakers Bureau at Agency Ten22.
During the Virtual HITMC20 Part Deux event held November 19th, I had an opportunity to host an unconference breakout session on the topic “Speaking Engagements and Virtual Events.” For many of the HITMC community, these unscripted sessions have become a popular option, where attendees are invited to connect with everyone in the audience via their web cams. The atmosphere is flexible, fun and judgment free. Here are some current trends and other highlights from our discussion.
Influx of SMEs
For both speaking and virtual events, we’ve seen a steady increase in availability of subject matter experts due to COVID-19. With limited travel, the talent pool is full of SMEs accessible by phone or Zoom. It’s much easier now to connect with well-known speakers in the industry. You might even get drive time or coffee talk with a CEO as part of a forum for event participants.
Virtual trade shows
When it comes to virtual events, attendees want to see familiar faces from previous in-person booths. It’s important to showcase their images along with colorful graphics and clickable content that is unique to your brand. The goal is to achieve the same booth draw with compelling content and quality attractions such as games, giveaways and downloads featuring your best practices. To make virtual events stand out, do something unconventional, but make sure it’s executed with the same A+ prep game you bring to in-person events.
Call for speakers
Virtual events actually provide more flexibility for the speakers. I’m working with a group now that only wants to do virtual events. And even better, they want to pre-tape events, which will increase their options to participate and help them remain flexible. When choosing speakers for virtual events, selection committees look for:
- Excellent reputation with unique perspective, expertise or experience
- Ability to engage and hold the attention of the audience
- Name recognition, relevant background and credibility
- Active social media presence
To determine the best forum for your speakers, review the options with them—such as a master class, keynote, webinar, general session or panel discussion. And make sure your speaker is ready for the virtual experience by practicing in advance for timing and voice.
Writing winning abstracts
Your abstract should identify an industry-specific problem and your solution for addressing customers’ challenges. However, it’s not intended to be a sales pitch. The most effective approach is to engage a customer who can tell their story backed by real-world examples, results and practical takeaways that listeners can implement. Create a compelling title that sums up your entire presentation in one sentence to grab people’s attention.
Investing in virtual events for 2021
In today’s environment it is easy and cost effective to take advantage of virtual events. Every lead helps. To increase interest as we move toward 2021, send a survey to attendees to determine what they’re most drawn to in terms of delivering content—live stream, one-on-one meetings, breakout rooms, recorded sessions, infographics and more. Then ramp up your marketing efforts to match your customers’ needs for another challenging year ahead.
About the Author
With well over 25 years of healthcare marketing knowledge and seasoned leadership experience, Amber’s primary focus and passion are health information technology and health information management. She is proficient in strategic planning, market research, event planning, trade show management, internal and external brand management, contact management, B2H marketing, and communications. To learn more about how Agency Ten22 can help with speaking abstracts and more, visit www.ten22pr.com.