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Planning a National Sales Meeting

Planning a National Sales Meeting

In this event-planning playbook, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about planning successful national sales meetings. As you read, you’ll learn:

  • Key steps in the planning process for a national sales meeting
  • How to prepare for both in-person and virtual sales meetings
  • How the right team of professionals can streamline planning and elevate the overall event experience.

When it comes to corporate event planning, few occasions are as important – and as rewarding – as national sales meetings. With the potential to serve as a catalyst for employee collaboration and motivation, these meetings play a starring role in the story of a company’s future success.

For sales leaders, communicating and connecting with teams that are usually scattered across the nation is a valuable opportunity. Ideally, your national sales meeting should be a time to:

  • Share individual, team, and company successes
  • Demonstrate how each team has contributed to organizational sales goals
  • Outline priorities and plans for the upcoming year
  • Establish sales objectives for teams to support effective planning for quarterly workloads
  • Communicate expectations clearly
  • Foster collaboration among teams and the sales staff as a whole
  • Build excitement and boost morale
  • Encourage a positive, motivating approach to upcoming goals and tasks

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed by that list of event goals? Don’t be – with smart planning strategies and the right support, you can get ready for a national sales meeting that will check all the right boxes.

How to Plan a National Sales Meeting

National sales team meetings are different from any other type of event, but your approach to the planning process will be virtually identical: organized, purposeful, and well-informed. The details might vary somewhat, depending on your company’s specific goals and needs, but best practices for event planning remain the same.

Let’s go over the most important steps to take when planning for a national sales meeting so you have an easy-to-follow route to a fantastic event.

Start planning early

If there’s one point we can never stress enough, it’s that you need to give yourself plenty of time to pull off the best-possible national sales meeting. The planning process should begin at least six to eight months before the event date. And if you want to get started even earlier than that, then you’ll really be ahead of the game.

In fact, at Miller Tanner Associates, it’s not unusual for us to hear from clients just a few days after they wrap up a national sales meeting. They’re still flying high from the success of their meeting and are ready to jump right into planning the next one.

There are so many key details to consider, from your sales meeting theme and the agenda to location and vendor selection, and the last thing you want is to end up in a time crunch at the end. For an event of this caliber, even seemingly minute details can have a big impact – so why put yourself under the added pressure of a too-quickly ticking clock?

Identify the objectives of the meeting

Figuring out the purpose of your national sales meeting might seem like a no-brainer. After all, isn’t the entire point to highlight the big wins from the past year? While it’s true that the basic goal of a national sales meeting is to communicate higher-level content to the entire team, like a detailed summary of sales successes, there should be something more. Once you pinpoint clear objectives for the event, you’re much better equipped to move forward with planning the annual sales meeting agenda.

Here’s an example of this concept in action: say your company aims to increase sales by 15% by the end of the year. So, the meeting objective might focus on helping sales employees determine what they will need to do to help achieve this goal. Setting weekly, monthly, and/or quarterly benchmarks, as well as individual, measurable goals for each employee, are tasks that will naturally make sense for your agenda.

Choose a fun and creative sales meeting theme

The best national sales meeting themes can do it all: celebrate, motivate, educate, and inspire your team. Ideally, the theme of a national sales meeting hits the sweet spot between creative and purposeful, connecting to the overarching objectives while bringing in an element of fun.

As you plan a theme for your annual sales meeting, you might have a basic idea of the direction you want to go. For example, maybe you want to focus on building growth-oriented mindsets, or perhaps you’re zeroing in on team building and collective success. We’ll help you translate your sales meeting theme ideas into a fully fleshed-out event that goes above and beyond to create an immersive experience for attendees.

Partner with a professional corporate event planning team

By this point, you’ve likely realized that planning your company’s annual sales meeting is essentially a full-time job. There’s no doubt that there are a lot of moving parts to consider – and plenty of pressure to succeed – which is why a significant number of companies opt to turn to professionals for help.

Miller Tanner Associates has planned thousands of events for a diverse range of clients, including a wide variety of national sales meetings. We understand exactly how important this event is to your company’s growth and success, which is why we are so dedicated to giving our clients the advantage of our expertise, resources, and manpower. Our talented and imaginative team knows how to bring creative and unique event ideas to life, setting your team up for an exceptional event experience from start to finish.

Let us handle the planning and execution of your annual sales meeting, so you can focus on being present and connecting with your team in memorable, meaningful ways. Here are just some of the services we can provide:

  • Event design and implementation, including themes
  • Project management
  • Operations/logistics
  • Travel, hotel, supplier, and transportation management
  • Risk management
  • Entertainment, video production, and presentations
  • Transportation
  • Site preparation
  • On-site event management
  • Budget and financials

Planning a Virtual National Sales Meeting

If you need to take your next sales meeting virtual, there are definitely some special considerations to keep in mind. Engagement becomes even more important while simultaneously becoming much more challenging.

The basic planning steps for a virtual meeting and face-to-face event are essentially the same. However, it becomes critical that you work with a planning professional with experience in large-scale virtual events. Miller Tanner Associates’ virtual event planning experts will show you how to make technology your ally and help you deliver a first-rate experience in a virtual (or hybrid) setting.

Learn how our team recently helped make a virtual national sales meeting a winning success:

Make Your Next National Sales Meeting a Success with Miller Tanner Associates

Your annual sales meeting isn’t just about delivering information and facilitating training – it’s your company’s chance to inspire your salesforce, refine their skills, and unite them in the pursuit of success. And at Miller Tanner Associates, we have a skilled and experienced team that will help you do it all.

Learn more about how we can help you host your company’s best-ever national sales meeting when you connect with our team today!


Corporate Team-Building Ideas

As you read our how-to guide for corporate team building activities, you’ll learn:

  • Practical Ideas for team-building exercises, group events and more
  • The benefits of your team-building efforts
  • How team bonding activities can help you build a positive company culture

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “team building?” Like many workers in corporate America, your mind might immediately go to unpleasant memories of awkward group activities or boring team bonding events.

Unfortunately, team building tends to get a bad rap, and there are plenty of poorly planned team building games and activities out there that aren’t exactly helping. But when done well, it can be a fun way to strengthen workplace relationships, improve communication skills, and boost employee engagement.

Your organization can reap the benefits that come with happy employees and a collaborative work environment, all while having fun at the same time.

The Benefits of Team-Building Events and Activities

So, do team-building activities actually work? Research says yes.

Setting up events, activities, and outings that encourage bonding and communication can create opportunities to build a stronger, more effective team. When you consider the ways in which a great team-building experience can benefit both the team members and their employer, it’s easy to see why so many organizations are making team building a staple of their company culture.

A boost for workplace morale and employee motivation

Close to 80% of workers value having fun at work, with many attributing their job commitment to a strong sense of community. You probably don’t need statistics to tell you that happier employees are always a plus, and team events offer a simple way to give morale a jumpstart.

Another thing to keep in mind is the significant growth in many companies’ remote workforce. About 20% of virtual teams have noted that collaboration can be difficult, which isn’t surprising when you realize that many remote employees almost never have the opportunity to interact outside of basic work tasks. Luckily, there are some great options for virtual team-building activities that can help bridge the game between on-site and remote teams in a digital setting.

Better communication among colleagues and different teams

Employers might assume that socialization outside of work-related topics is something that will detract from employee efficiency. But actually, socializing among team members supports better communication by more than 50%. And while these casual conversations could be something as simple as a water cooler chat about a new TV show, why not set up more productive opportunities for your team?

Increased profitability

You might think that the concept of employee engagement is a “feeling” that must be nurtured in the workplace, but it’s actually a tangible pattern of behaviors. Team activities are a concrete way to put engagement into practice, which then helps your staff do their best work.

In turn, highly engaged teams can bring in a more than 20% increase in profitability in the form of less absenteeism and lower turnover. When you translate that into revenue growth, companies with engaged employees can bring in 2.5 times more – if that’s not a solid return on your investment, we don’t know what is.

Reductions in workplace burnout

A shocking 61% of employees are burned out, with more than 30% reporting that they experience extremely high levels of stress in the workplace. Beyond the health and wellness of employees, stress can also seriously undermine the working environment in a multitude of negative ways.

Ideas for Team Building at Work

Unusual team-building activities can be a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean that you always have to think outside the box, either. With a mix of simple, no-fuss team events and more elaborate activities, you can facilitate bonding and build team spirit with ease.

Here are some of our favorite team-building activity ideas, including fun games, casual hangouts, and professional development opportunities your employees will enjoy.

1.    Volunteering and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

When group members are able to give back to the community, they can foster a deeper sense of purpose and feel united through a charitable team bonding activity. Volunteering events and projects also connect to the principle of Corporate Social Responsibility, which has become increasingly important for organizations of all sizes and types.

Some ideas for this type of team building activity include:

  • Organizing a clean-up effort of a local space, such as a community park or nature preserve
  • Inviting small teams to participate in Adopt-a-Family programs during the holiday season, with each team working together to support a family in need
  • Signing team leaders or an entire group up for a charity walk or run
  • Planning an entire day (counted as a paid workday) for a team outing to volunteer at a local homeless shelter or charity organization

2.    Physical Team Building Activities

Physical team activities can be an excellent way to get both your team’s blood and creative juices flowing. Especially for staff that usually work in an office environment, physical activity is a welcome change from the daily routine. Plus, these fun challenges can promote creative thinking and problem solving, plus set up the building blocks for increased confidence and friendly competition.

Here are a few ideas for team activities with a physical element:

  • An indoor or outdoor scavenger hunt that puts smaller teams in competition with each other
  • A trip to a local escape room, where they’ll have to use both physical and mental skills to conquer a shared challenge
  • Go-kart racing at an area venue

3.    Cultural Experiences

As we learn more about the value of cultural and historical awareness in the workplace, we’ve seen an increased amount of interest in group activities that can build both. The learning that occurs in a shared environment can translate into useful work skills while simultaneously helping employees bond in a meaningful way.

Some ideas include:

  • A shared trip to a local historical museum or cultural venue, perhaps to attend an event or performance
  • A potluck where each employee brings a favorite dish from their culture or family tradition

4.    Professional Development and Training

Aside from the obvious perks of professional development and skill-building, high-quality training events can be exactly what your team needs to strengthen their problem-solving skills and sense of connection. Keep in mind that simply delivering a training webinar isn’t necessarily enough to spur team building; instead, you’ll need to be intentional about creating an “experience” that checks all the right boxes.

Our favorite ideas for professional development and team building include:

  • Assigning specific topics to small groups, then having them work together to teach the rest of the team a new skill or concept
  • A group outing to an industry conference or training

5.    Dining Together

Do team lunches count as team building? They absolutely can. Sharing a meal is one of our society’s foundational ways to build relationships, and many benefits can come from a team enjoying lunch together. It’s important to create a laid-back atmosphere to allow for casual chats, inside jokes, and laughter to contribute to stronger connections.

Some ideas include:

  • A dinner and karaoke night hosted at a neighborhood restaurant
  • A monthly team lunch for department teams or small groups
  • A fun game-themed lunch event, complete with a board game tournament and an employer-provided meal

Facilitate Meaningful and Fun Team-Building Events with Miller Tanner Associates

Whether you’re planning a face-to-face meeting, a virtual event, or something in the middle, Miller Tanner Associates can help you plan and implement team activities that have a positive impact on your company culture. We understand what it takes to pull off an event that achieves its goals, and we know how to do it in style.

If you’re ready to put team building to work for you, we would love to help you get started. Connect with the Miller Tanner team to start bringing your team-building event ideas to life today!


What Are Hybrid Meetings?

Why You Need a Meeting/Event Planner for a Hybrid Event

“Hybrid” seems to be one of the latest buzzwords we hear everywhere we go – from hybrid vehicles to a hybrid approach to education, the term is being used in a multitude of ways. But when we’re talking about going hybrid in the world of business, it has a distinct meaning all its own.

As a growing number of companies evolve their working and meeting environments, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the way we collaborate is changing significantly. And understandably, there are plenty of people that are hesitant about this shift, especially because it seemed to come about so quickly. But interestingly, hybrid events within the professional realm have been around for quite some time. Although the global pandemic pushed this type of event to the center of the work world stage, the idea of the hybrid meeting has been growing in popularity for years.

If you’re new to the idea of hybrid events, planning your own can often seem intimidating – and because they are so unique, they definitely do require a measured approach. However, once you learn more about the hybrid event and the long list of benefits it has to offer, it’s likely that you’ll be feeling more excited than apprehensive about hosting one of your own.

What are Hybrid Meetings?

A hybrid meeting involves meeting attendees participating from two types of locations: some participants are physically present in the meeting space, while others are joining from a remote location. And this blended format isn’t just limited to meetings; there are a wide variety of hybrid event types taking place this very minute: hybrid trade shows, seminars, and conferences have all exploded in popularity during the pandemic.

Essentially, the hybrid model combines traditional, in-person events and meetings within a completely virtual setting.

Benefits of a Hybrid Meeting

There are many different reasons to implement hybrid meetings in the workplace, whether you’re planning training sessions, networking events, investor meetings, or other kinds of events. And while your company may start hybrid meetings for a certain reason – say, the pandemic or to cut costs – you’ll likely realize that there are many benefits you didn’t necessarily expect.

Here are some of the benefits of hybrid meetings that you can look forward to:

A collaborative solution to suit everyone

When you unite a team of participants within a shared space and provide them with a common goal, the stage is set for the ultimate in collaboration and innovation. In comparison, trying to replicate that same “magic” while being completely remote is difficult (though not impossible!). And yet, there are many situations in which it’s just not feasible to bring all participants on-site for an in-person meeting.

Hybrid meetings are a middle point between these two contrasting scenarios. Both participants that can meet in person and those that are remote can collaborate more effectively.

Flexibility

Technology has allowed businesses to build teams, departments, and entire companies made up of employees from all over the world. Being able to venture beyond your geographical boundaries to find outstanding talent is a major positive for any organization.

However, staff spread around the globe is bound to be in different time zones, with differing working schedules and availability. Live meetings are virtually impossible simply because all participants can’t be in the same place at the same time. Hybrid meetings make it possible to bring the entire team together with ease.

Cost-effective and environmentally-conscious

Few companies would want to miss out on the opportunity to practice smarter spending – but if your business has yet to use hybrid meetings, you’re leaving real money on the table. Think about how much you can save when you aren’t paying for travel, accommodations, and other expenses for meeting attendees. A hybrid meeting can help you cut costs considerably without sacrificing collaboration and networking opportunities.

Challenges of a Hybrid Meeting

Of course, like any kind of event, a hybrid meeting can present certain challenges in both the planning and execution phases. For anyone that’s considering using a hybrid approach for future meetings, being familiar with potential difficulties – and having strategic solutions – is key.

Here are some of the most common challenges we have heard associated with hybrid meetings and events:

Technology issues

Even in our tech-savvy society, running into frustrating problems with technology is all too common. In fact, according to 2021 research conducted by Markletic, about 67% of people said that being able to count on technology for a smooth event experience was a concern. Connectivity issues seem to be the most frequent foes of a hybrid event (with close to 33% of organizers reporting a problem), and yet just 12% of people have a backup plan in place.

This statistic is a perfect example of how proactive planning is a necessity for hybrid meetings (as well as any kind of event). We’re all familiar with the sometimes temperamental nature of technology, so expecting the unexpected is a must. When you’ve partnered with an event planning professional, you have the peace of mind of knowing that tech problems – and their solutions – are in very good hands.

Engaging with and connecting both audiences

When you’re presenting to a group in a typical in-person meeting room, figuring out how to engage attendees and support collaboration can be tough. But when you expand that meeting to include both in-person and remote attendees, you have an even trickier task on your hands.

Hybrid presentations simply aren’t the same as face-to-face meetings, so the entire event approach needs to be different. And because many businesses are still learning how to navigate the best way to host a hybrid event, everyone is facing a sort of “trial and error” situation.

However, this is where working with hybrid event planning professionals can really make a world of difference. When you have someone who understands the hybrid environment’s nuances, they can help you develop an experience that will engage everyone involved, no matter where they’re physically located.

Why You Need a Professional Planner for a Hybrid Event

When you weigh the benefits of hybrid events, it’s easy to see why they’ve become a part of the future (and the present) of event planning. But at the same time, they come with their fair share of challenges – which makes it important to partner with a professional planning team. If you truly want to take full advantage of everything hybrid meetings have to offer, you’ll need an experienced team that knows how to navigate the largely uncharted territory with ease.

For more than two decades, the Miller Tanner Associates team has been planning, hosting, and executing events of every type, size, and style. In the 22-plus years since we were founded, we’ve handled thousands of events, an immersible number of attendees, and a diverse range of clients with unique needs, goals, and event visions.

Miller Tanner Associatesstarted working with virtual event planning more than ten years ago, building a plethora of experiences that have helped our team grow and evolve into the experts we are today. It is that knowledge and skill that have allowed us to master the art of the hybrid event long before it became trendy, giving us an advantage that most other corporate event planners simply don’t have.

Here are some of the perks you’ll enjoy when the Miller Tanner Associates team takes your goals for a hybrid event and makes them a reality:

  • Our in-house production team is always in the wings, ready to design, build, and launch extraordinary audio and visual components that elevate the event experience.
  • We’ve spent some serious time crafting events in the virtual space, which means that we know the ins and outs of a wide variety of virtual platforms – so customizing and optimizing your preferred platform to fit your needs is our area of expertise.
  • We’ve built our very own training solution, called Virtual Assessment Learning & Training Source (VALTs), which extends on-demand content, provides audit-ready records, and more. It’s the tech-driven training option you might not have even realized you needed but is sure to become a staple for your team going forward.
  • With a globally dispersed team, including partners that are on the ground throughout the world, we have the necessary manpower to ensure the safety and satisfaction of all event attendees (in-person and remote alike). Let us take care of balancing global and regional guidelines, venue policies, and company protocol, so you can get back to what you need to do.
  • Thanks to our virtual and hybrid event planning expertise, you’ll have an abundance of robust technology to incorporate into the overall event experience. As a result, both your in-person attendees and virtual participants will have a closely mirrored experience – nobody will be missing out, no matter where they are.

Miller Tanner Associates: A Pioneer of Hybrid Events and Your Newest Event-Planning Professional

These days, topics like Zoom meetings, remote work, and conference calls often get a bad rap – but that’s because so many people in the industry aren’t equipped with the expertise, resources, or even the technology to do the hybrid model justice. At Miller Tanner Associates, we’re changing all that one hybrid event at a time, proving that a collaborative and positive event experience can happen when you have a professional planning team at the helm.

Discover how a hybrid meeting or event could be the solution you’ve been searching for when you connect with the Miller Tanner Associates team today.

Hybrid Events: The Best of Both Virtual and Face-to-Face

https://www.millertanner.com/hybrid-ebook/

Hybrid Events: Two Audiences, One Experience

As organizations have become more comfortable with the virtual model, they are experiencing some of the powerful advantages of virtual events, like increased brand awareness and expanded audiences.

But we’ve also learned that humans are designed for connection and people miss being face-to-face. In general, in-person events are the preferred format to fully engage with others and with the content that’s being delivered. 

As regions of the world begin to reopen, companies are exploring how they might extend and further engage their audience in the future considering the juxtaposition of these distinct meeting formats.   

Given the unpredictable nature of these times, there must be a safe, effective, yet flexible way to accommodate for the unexpected – abrupt changes in the lives of speakers and/or audiences such as illness, childcare, travel restriction, and community outbreaks. While at the same time, the future also needs to include space for when the purpose of gathering requires a face-to-face meeting experience. 

Enter the hybrid event model.

Hybrid events present the unique opportunity to bring together two distinctly different audiences — virtual and face-to-face (in person)— for a single dynamic experience.  

Hybrids of the past were primarily about delivering the content that the attendees were missing in person; now it’s about offering an equal experience for both audiences. Hybrid events are not a substitution for the face-to-face portion of the event, but rather are the event itself in a new, multi-dimensional format. It’s about creating a universal, captivating experience for both audiences. 

Hybrid Events – A Multi-Dimensional Experience

In Miller Tanner Associates’ (MTA) 10 + years of planning hybrid and virtual solutions, we’ve discovered the configurations of a hybrid event are practically limitless. That’s its superpower! 

You can:

  • Bring speakers together in the same venue to deliver their messaging live to a remote audience.
  • Design your event around small groups of audiences in various cities across the globe to interact with one another virtually while presenters are streamed remotely.
  • Plan a face-to-face event with a hybrid event in tandem. Should your plan change unexpectedly, your event can still carry on virtually.
  • Prerecord presenters that are unable to travel enabling their message to still be delivered to an in-person event.


Hybrid events are the next event format trend offering a new innovative event approach to reach both remote and live audiences.  

Want to explore beyond the basic hybrid event? Contact our team to learn more.

Virtual Event Ideas for Social and Unique Special Events

Virtual Event Ideas for Social and Unique Special Events

Virtual events may have originally started as the solution to a global problem, but it’s quickly become clear that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Offering the ultimate combination of convenience, flexibility, and versatility, remote online events are completely changing the way we collaborate.

If you want to host something truly unique, special event ideas aren’t limited to in-person experiences. In fact, a virtual event can offer all of the same dynamism and memorability as a traditional, on-site event – as long as it’s properly planned and executed. With the right approach and a few handy tips, you can pull off a virtual experience that your attendees never forget.

The Unique Challenge of Planning a Virtual Event

Whether you’re hosting remote or in-person events, being able to engage and captivate your audience’s interest is the most important thing. You want your event to be something that guests remember as valuable, not as an exhausting waste of time.

If you’ve ever been a virtual event attendee yourself, you already know that it can be draining. Sitting down for hours and staring at a screen for an extended period of time is tiring, no matter what context it’s in. There are constant distractions from the on-screen action (whether attendees are at home or in the office), and the lack of face-to-face moments can make it particularly challenging to stay focused.

Luckily, you’re going to be prepared ahead of time with fun virtual event ideas to combat these factors.

Creative Ideas for Every Type of Virtual Event

Just about every one of us has participated in a remote event that’s left us half-asleep at our desks, with our mind wandering to what we’ll be doing once the screen shuts off. Unfortunately, it’s probably that far fewer of us have attended a virtual event with the perfect combination of fun activities, quality content, and thoughtful details – but that definitely doesn’t mean these exceptional events are impossible.

Whether the goal of your event is to educate, persuade, or celebrate, putting time and effort into the audience experience makes a world of difference. From the Miller Tanner Associates’ event planning experts to you, here are some of our favorite virtual event ideas for planning an online experience that your attendees will love.

1. Create an event look and feel that gives attendees something to get excited about.

Virtual or in-person events should all begin with a design concept. What is the event experience going to look and feel like? Just because your audience isn’t going to be attending in person, that definitely doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the event design.

The majority of virtual event hosting tools offer a variety of advanced design options that allow you to add a special touch. One great way to make your virtual event stand out is by centering it around a specific theme, incorporating that theme into every element of the design. You can create a fun virtual environment with colors, images, icons, graphics, feeds, and pages, all tied to the theme.

2. Use the invitations as a chance to send the message that it’s going to be an event worth attending.

The invitation is the one and only time you’ll get to make a first impression on your event audience, so use the opportunity to wow them right away. First, send a fun invitation email with all the pertinent details.

Then, think about ways to keep building anticipation for the event. You could set up a feed to share hints about what’s to come, a video of attendees introducing themselves, or even a pre-event message board to encourage conversation.

3. Incorporate entertainment that includes the audience as much as possible.

Think of your event hosting platform as a virtual stage – and it’s your job to put on a show. Break up sessions with entertainment to give attendees a short break, keeping spirits up and engagement high.

Think of ways to get the audience involved, whether they get to play parts as entertainers themselves or simply get to participate in the “on-stage” action. Even your speakers can join the fun!

4. Make the most of live sessions and streams with great tech tools.

Don’t assume that the entertainment portions of your event are the only time you can make sure people have fun – your attendees can (and should!) have a great time during sessions as well.

There are many different tools that can be used to add interaction, interest, and even humor to your live sessions. Polling, quizzes, and word cloud questions are all smart ways to keep sessions engaging, and real-time Q&A feeds can be both fun and functional.

5. Boost interaction with team-based activities and group elements.

Searching for fun event ideas for small groups? Even when you’re going virtual with your event, there are still plenty of options out there.

Build-in video breakouts during or after each speaker session, giving each small group a creative challenge to tackle. Or, shake things up with virtual break rooms, where attendees can enjoy some social interaction during their free time. Competitions and games can have the dual purpose of entertainment and engagement and are especially productive when you base them on the event’s key content.

6. Keep your eye on the prize: interaction.

Ultimately, the best ideas for virtual events are the ones that take interactivity to the next level. Whether you use one of the many tools available through your event platform or create fun activities all your own, the purpose of your planning efforts should be centered on driving engagement.

In order for your virtual event to really work, people should feel connected, interested, and involved in what’s happening on their screen. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to making your next virtual event a win for everyone.

Let Miller Tanner Associates’ Professional Event Planners Help You Host an Online Event that Brings People Together – Even When They’re Apart

Here at Miller Tanner, we know a thing or two about professionally, well-planned events. We’ve been in the event coordination and management business for nearly a quarter-century, long before virtual events were even a twinkle in a tech-savvy host’s eye. When the earliest versions of virtual events started to take off, we’re proud to say that we were hard at work pioneering the best way to encourage attendees to have fun, participate, and work together in a remote setting – and we haven’t stopped building on the concept since.

With more than a decade of experience as pro event coordinators in the virtual space, the Miller Tanner Associates team has learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. We know how to create a remote experience that feels anything but giving guests all of the benefits of in-person engagement without actually requiring them to go anywhere.

From planning programming content to working out the technical details, we’ll make sure that you have everything you need to host a virtual event that is a smashing success.

Get more information about how Miller Tanner Associates’ services can be your secret to the best virtual event you’ve hosted yet: contact our team today!

Frequently Asked Questions

In effort to help readers to summarize the information found within this post, we’ve recapitulated the article in question and answer form.

What’s the Main Challenge to Planning a Successful Virtual Event?

The most essential aspect of a virtual event is to be able to attract and capture your audience’s attention. This is true whether you’re presenting remote or in-person events. You want your event to be remembered as a worthwhile experience rather than an arduous waste of time.

Why is Having a Creative Idea for a Virtual Event So Important?

Almost all of us have been part of a distant event that has left us half-asleep at our workstations with our minds straying to what we’ll do when the screen goes dark. Unfortunately, few of us have seen a virtual event that perfectly combines entertaining activities, high-quality material, and thoughtful details – but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of such events.

How Do I Create an Event that Attendees Are Excited to Be a Part Of?

The majority of virtual event hosting solutions provide a number of sophisticated design features that enable you to personalize your event. One effective approach to make your virtual event stand out is to focus it on a single topic and include that theme into every aspect of the design. Colors, pictures, symbols, graphics, feeds, and sites should all be linked to the theme to create a pleasant virtual environment.

How Do I Make a Good First Impression When Announcing a Corporate Event?

Use the chance to amaze your event audience straight away with your invitation, which is often the only time you’ll have to create a first impression. Send a nice, eye-catching invitation email with all the essential information first.

How Can I Get the Audience Involved at a Corporate Event?

Consider how you can engage the audience, whether it’s through giving them roles as performers or just allowing them to join in the “on-stage” activity. Make sure that your guest speakers know they are welcome to participate in the fun too.

Case Study: How to Expand Recruitment Training Capability Using VALTs to Support Virtual Events

The Event

A pharmaceutical company, launching a global-wide Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) study, needed to host an investigator meeting (IM) series as well as a recruitment training series.

The Challenge

Given the large scale of the study, combined with the challenges of the pandemic, the client needed to proceed with the investigator meetings and recruitment trainings while also providing flexibility and accessibility to site staff and sites involved in the study.

Due to the complexity of this study involving OCD, the specialized training involved the interaction and management of patients from initial communication throughout the lifecycle of patient care and the many touchpoints in between. In order to maximize the patient recruitment capabilities, it was imperative to make comprehensive training accessible to every staff person at every site who interacts with the patient at each touchpoint, in addition to the HCPs, site coordinators and principal investigators.  

This was the client’s first fully virtual event series; they needed guidance from the Miller Tanner Associates team to plan and execute these meeting series to ensure accommodation of multiple time zones including North America, Canada, and Europe. 

The Solution

The Miller Tanner Associates team worked with the client to determine their goals and created a thorough strategy to execute multiple virtual meeting series for the investigator meetings and the patient recruitment training as well as an on-demand training option through VALTs, (Virtual Assessment Learning and Training Source), MTA’s proprietary learning management system, for those unable to attend the live sessions. By offering multiple meeting options, attendees could choose based on their availability, enabling a higher participation among those invited.

  • Because recruitment was integral to the study, MTA planned four branded 2-1/2 hour recruitment meetings for U.S. and Canada sites with focus on implementation of recruitment strategy, patient interviews, explanation of illness and symptoms, and patient retention.
  • For the investigator meeting series, we planned four branded strategic, 4-hour meetings to disseminate protocol overview and education for U.S. and Canada sites.
  • European investigator meeting will be offered later in the year.
  • To further maximize both meeting series, our team created a branded training portal within VALTs to accommodate all participants who could not participate in the scheduled dates of the study series. The benefits included:
    • Extend the training to additional site staff members who would normally not attend the investigator meeting (i.e. additional sub-investigators / study coordinators, recruitment specialists, chief pharmacist, etc.)
    • Create roles-specific modules within the training content
    • To use as a refresher for those who did attend
    • To train new site staff throughout the life of the study

To maintain the efficiency and efficacy for the study team, both the IM and the recruitment meeting series were live streamed events with pre-recorded content. MTA provided speaker coaching, remote recording, and editing of the remote pre-recorded content.  

Additionally, MTA designed and implemented brand uniformity throughout the VALTs study portal, vendor portal, and the landing page of the virtual platform used for the meeting series. The landing page featured speakers’ bios to be repurposed for use within VALTs.

The pre-recorded captures were live streamed using an elevated virtual platform. To create a more engaging virtual experience, the speakers and moderator provided live Q&A throughout the meetings. These sessions were then repurposed within VALTs.

Results

  • Most notable outcome is the significant increase in recruitment capability as a result of using VALTs for repurposed content; recruitment training can be made, with version control, accessible and available to anyone who interacts directly with the patients, beginning with the point of initial contact, providing a broader baseline training.
  • This strategy expanded recruitment training from 3 site contacts to more than 15 contacts per site, with unique role-based learning plans. Because this training is captured within VALTs, anyone trained can submit questions directly to the trainer/speaker. Using VALTs also allows content to be used as a refresher or for onboarding of new staff joining the sites. Our client was excited to have this capability that expands beyond the limitations of a face-to-face training that is typically limited to principal investigators, site coordinators, and HCPs.
  • Our team selected an elevated experience platform for the virtual event that seamlessly supported both the prerecorded and live segments of the event, enhanced engagement opportunities, and optimized the playback quality.
  • MTA’s thoughtful strategy to leverage the strengths of VALTs significantly improved the recruitment training leading to a more successful, effective recruitment process with expanded reach and ROI.

Need to expand your training? Contact us to learn more about VALTs.

6 Reasons On-Demand Training Should Be Part of Your Training Strategy

The ways in which companies can use on-demand training are virtually endless. If you want to expand your training capabilities, on-demand training is a cost-effective tool that can help accomplish all of your training goals. If you’ve not tried on-demand training as a way to streamline your training, here are six compelling reasons why you should:

1). Engagement with content over time makes training more effective.

Meeting over a few days may not be enough for knowledge retention among your audience. The most effective training is one that engages your audience ongoing beyond the initial face-to-face meeting.

One of the easiest ways to do this is through on-demand training, where you can provide continual learning through pre- and post-testing, videos, support documents, and more.

“Instead of having your event be one big data dump, space the learning out. Chunk it up into a series of webinars, blogs, videos, social media posts, podcasts, pre, and post-event tests—bolster what you want them to learn on-site with multiple other learning options before and after the actual event,” according to Kristi Casey Sanders, CMP, CMM, DES, HMCC, director of the MPI Academy at Meeting Professionals International who spoke at an IMEX conference

2). Ongoing training improves knowledge retention.

“Without any extra effort or reinforcement, more than 50% of what we learn at a conference is forgotten within an hour, and 80% by the end of the month.”² according to the research behind the Forgetting Curve, developed by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus.

If you want your training attendees to get the greatest return from their training event, it’s essential to provide ongoing educational opportunities that reinforce key learning concepts long after the training. Offering on-demand training is a simple solution that significantly impacts knowledge retention.

3). Offers a training solution for staff turnover.

Make onboarding a breeze when training new staff by using on-demand training. It’s the easiest way to disseminate your company’s standard operating procedures as needed for the newly hired staff or build out individually customized learning plans for each department or staff personnel.

4). Improves consistency in your message and training.

Consistency in training and message is crucial to a company’s success. By using on-demand training, you can keep your message fully intact and avoid second-party interpretations for consistency across the board.  Content can be repurposed and used well into the future.

5). Supports ongoing learning for any industry to enhance required training.

Online, on-demand learning has become a more effective training tool for businesses of all industries thanks to the convenience of technology and the variety of options for a diverse set of learning styles, whether using a slideshow, video presentation, or handouts.

One benefit is the ability to enhance learning, as it can be used to facilitate training before a live event, or used as a refresher course or continuing education. “E-learning is also a great tool to enhance the traditional learning experience, a method known as blended learning.”³

6). Supports continuous training for remote sites.

Whether you have a franchise or a medical research business, on-demand training is an excellent method for keeping all remote sites and personnel up to speed with operational procedures. And when policy changes, on-demand training can quickly update those sites saving you time and money.

More specifically, for those in the medical research and pharma industries, on-demand training can cover a lot of bases for keeping your sites on top of important protocol amendments and critical updates as well as ensuring compliance is met.

According to the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative, “Research sites must value and support training for study personnel. Targeted training specific to clinical research must include all staff involved in clinical research activities, not solely the investigator. Participation is paramount and can be achieved through online training courses, professionally provided training, on-site mentoring, and participation in professional organizations.” 4

You can make your training more effective and more efficient by incorporating on-demand training into your strategy. Let Miller Tanner Associates introduce you to our VALTs, Virtual Assessment Learning and Training Source, and help you meet your training goals in the upcoming year. 

Sources:

1 http://www.meetingsnet.com/event-design-ideas/5-ways-make-learning-stick

2 http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/create-an-afterlife-for-your-conference

3 https://www.yourerc.com/blog/post/4-rising-training-trends-of-2017

4 ctti-clinicaltrials.org

How to Beat Virtual Meeting Fatigue and Energize Your Audience

With months of meeting only virtually, are you beginning to experience “virtual meeting fatigue”? It’s actually a real thing, according to recent studies.

Two Common Causes of Virtual Meeting Fatigue

More Concentration Required

Recent Microsoft research suggests that “brainwave patterns associated with stress and overwork were much higher when collaborating remotely than in-person.” Basically, more concentration is required for a virtual conversation.

Being on a video chat requires more focus because a person has to work harder to process non-verbal cues such as facial expressions, body language and voice tone, according to a recent BBC interview with Gianpiero Petriglieri, an associate professor at Insead.

Overused Virtual Platforms and Technology

Additionally, because the typical “go-to” virtual platforms are available to the masses, virtual meetings have become stale and monotonous – seen one, seen them all. They lack engaging features that combat against the barrage of stagnant virtual experiences which inevitably lead to virtual meeting fatigue. 

But virtual meeting fatigue doesn’t have to be a hurdle. Miller Tanner Associates (MTA) has a comprehensive solution for both improving your participants’ focus and enhancing your meeting platform.

How to Create Elevated Virtual Experiences that Energize your Audience

MTA thinks outside the box of the typical virtual platforms to instead offer our clients an elevated virtual event experience using one or a combination of MTA’s many dynamic, engagement-driven virtual platform options to produce an event that keeps your audience focused and engaged. 

Platform Diving

No matter if you’re planning a basic webinar or a complex extended engagement portal, it’s not just about plugging into a virtual platform with all the best bells and whistles. It’s substantially more nuanced.

A successful virtual event requires a team of experts who have in-depth knowledge of various platforms and technology who can then curate and support an event production customized to meet your event’s specific goals.

Once we know the event’s goals, we can determine the types of features needed to customize for your specific audience, such as:

Need to showcase a sponsor? We can design key elements that enhance interaction between your sponsor/s and your audience.

Want to provide networking opportunities? Our team can build in features such as a “virtual handshake” that automatically connects audience members together based on commonalities.

Have multiple speakers in various locations that need to present? We can pre-record presentations and stream into one seamless production.

Want to elevate your branding within the platform? Our team can custom design a branded platform and speakers’ backgrounds that align with your brand, add continuity, and reinforce professional quality.

Interested in engaging your audience in a unique and different way? No problem. Our creative team has a host of unique gaming and entertainment options as well as interactive features designed to activate engagement from your audience.

Have a lot of content to cover but need to keep your live virtual event short? You can deliver content in advance of your event using our learning management system, VALTs (Virtual Assessment Learning and Training Source.

These are just a few of the many options available to create an elevated virtual solution that’s tailor-designed for your audience and aligned with your event goals.

Shift your boring virtual meetings to a more dynamic, engaging virtual experiences with MTA. Contact us today for a demo of our elevated event options.  

Resources:

https://www.bbc.com/

https://www.forbes.com/

5 Key Essentials for a Successful Incentive Travel Program

5 Key Essentials for a Successful Incentive Travel

Miller Tanner Associates knows first hand the value of recognizing, rewarding, and investing in employees through internal incentive programs.

We aren’t the only ones who know the value. In fact, Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) conducted a study which concluded that incentive travel programs strongly impact:

  • Motivation
  • Retention
  • Performance
  • Organizational culture
  • Business results 

The Impact of Incentive Programs

This research conducted by IRF determined that the combination of the following five essential elements defines the core of the successful travel program:

  1. The earning and selection criteria for the reward were clearly tied to business objectives.
  2. Communication about the program and the progress participants were making toward goals was clear and consistent. Anticipation built throughout the year and kept employees motivated to achieve their objectives.
  3. The design of the travel program, including desirable destinations, interactive sessions and leisure time for the earners, added to the overall excitement.
  4. Executives and key managers acted as hosts to reinforce the company’s commitment to the reward program and recognition.
  5. The company kept detailed records that prove the productivity of the earners and their contributions to the company’s financial performance.

The study also found that in order to maximize the benefit of an incentive travel program it must also include:

  • Recognition of earners
  • Networking opportunities for top performers to build relationships with other top performers and key management
  • Collaboration among top performers and management about best practices and ideas
  • Motivation of earners to continue to achieve high performance

The study concluded that employees are motivated by both the incentive travel award and the recognition they receive from participating corporate leaders. Additionally, incentive travel programs are an important factor for retaining top performers within a company.

This study suggests that when companies use incentive travel/rewards programs as a way to invest in their employees they are more likely to gain better business outcomes as a result.

The event planning team at Miller Tanner Associates knows exactly how to create the ultimate, rewarding experience that will recognize the hard work of your top producers. We can help design and deliver an incentive travel experience that accomplishes the 5 key essentials mentioned to ensure a successful and memorable incentive program event for your team.

For more ideas on how you can create a rewarding experience for your top producers, click here.

For the full details regarding this study, visit IRF.

Contact our team to learn more about how we can plan your upcoming incentive travel.

3 Proven Ways to Keep Your Virtual Event on Track for Success

For many people, virtual events are an entirely new way to deliver their message and content. Virtual events require a distinct set of skills. As a result, a lot of people are left scratching their heads to figure out the next steps when planning a virtual event. Do you create the agenda first or determine the platform? Will the presenters be pre-recorded or live? How can you ensure that your technology is secure?

It can be quite challenging without guidance from an event professional. Similar to a face-to-face event, there are many moving parts that have to be thoughtfully planned, rehearsed, and executed; however, unlike a face-to-face event, the flow of a virtual event has to be thoroughly considered in order to maximize the abbreviated time with your audience in a way that creates a connection and not a barrier.

Consider these three proven ways to keep your virtual event on track for success:

1. Rethink Your Agenda

Meeting and event agendas aren’t one size fits all. You’ll need to approach your virtual agenda very differently from a face-to-face one. “Cultivate the agenda you have to maximize and keep attendees engaged and make the content captivating and purposeful for them to be engaged in a virtual setting,” advises Julie Hacker, Miller Tanner Associates’ Sr. Global Experience Manager.

Our team can help you align your agenda specifically to the goals of your event in a way that creates an outside-the-box experience for your audience; it’s imperative to consider the overall flow in order to create an agenda that delivers a seamless experience.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Presenting virtually is an entirely different experience from presenting live on a stage face-to-face with your audience. Lighting, timing, cues, understanding how to use the technology tools, and technical rehearsals all play into a flawless production. Make sure that your presenters and moderators are well-rehearsed not only with their presentations but also with the technology tools.

Miller Tanner Associates offers extensive coaching to prepare speakers for delivering their presentations in a virtual landscape. We have developed a speaker’s guide and conduct one-on-one coaching as needed. We break down the virtual event minute by minute and walk the presenters through every detail of the virtual event through a full technical rehearsal so that they are prepared, comfortable, and ready to deliver their content in a way that excites, engages, and resonates with their audience.

3. Know Your Technology Options

This is where it gets tricky for most people. It is a full-time job in itself to determine all of the virtual technology that is available as well as learn how the platforms work and understand in such a way that aligns with the goals of your event. You could invest countless hours researching a platform which in the end doesn’t reap the outcome you intended. With technology, you have to consider the intentionality behind how it will be used for your virtual event, as well as the potential build-out of the platform itself.

With over 10 years of experience in producing virtual events, our team of experts knows the features, strengths, capabilities, and best use-case for each platform. We guide you through a solution that fits your desired outcomes for your specific virtual experience. Tailor-made to tailor your success.

The Miller Tanner Difference

The Miller Tanner team can determine how to best operationalize your virtual event from beginning to end. We have the training and experience necessary to curate customized virtual solutions that connect with your goals and maximize its impact while maintaining control of your budget – moving beyond a virtual event to an engaging and memorable virtual experience.

Contact us to learn more about how you can make your next virtual event a success!