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Virtual-Meeting Record Attempt Reveals Planner Insights

Thousands participate in GMID digital event and answer poll questions, including “When will in-person meetings return?”

One month after Anh Nguyen of Spark Events in Alberta, Canada, tweeted out an idea for an attempt at world-record attendance for a virtual meeting, thousands of online attendees inspired by the hashtag #GMIDGoesVirtual gathered online. Although the Guinness World Record organization has not yet verified the numbers for the 30-minute meeting, some valuable insights from industry professionals were revealed.

During the interactive portion of the meeting, Miguel Neves, chief digital strategist of and Jennifer Spear, keynote speaker and president of Clean Slate Strategies, used to poll participants on some of the most important questions facing the industry right now. Although there was no absolute consensus on any of the questions, the thoughts of up to 7,000 respondents were illuminating, especially as 54 percent of the participants identified as meeting planners and the rest were professionals from other parts of the industry.

The Big Question
When asked “When is the earliest live event you are planning or looking to attend right now?” 27 percent of 6,280 respondents said September—good news for IMEX America, set to be held that month in Las Vegas. Sixteen percent answered August, while June and July got 15 and 14 percent of responses, respectively. The most reassuring news: November was chosen by just five percent of the meeting participants, and only eight percent thought in-person meetings would not return until 2021.

Planners Adapt
In answer to the question “Of your previously planned live events for 2020, what portion has gone virtual/online?” Forty-five percent of respondents said up to 25 percent of their events. About a third have not taken the virtual path at all, but three percent of participants have managed to hold 100 percent of their meetings online.

Planners Predict
When asked how live events will change after the pandemic, a whopping 62 percent of more than 7,000 respondents answered that most events will become hybrid, a combination of in-person and online audiences. Only eight percent thought meetings and events would remain unchanged, and 13 percent thought there would be a greater demand for live events.

Virtual Meeting Design Tip
The interactive part of the event began with a “warm up” question designed to get everyone used to the platform. Sixty-two percent of participants answered “yes” to the question “Are you wearing pants?” confirming that the majority of meeting planners are managing to maintain dress-code standards even under lockdown conditions. Miguel Neves responded to the eight percent who answered “no” by saying, “I look forward to attending events where pants are not optional.”
As do we all, Miguel.

To contribute your own ideas on what the future of meetings will be, click here.

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