Food for Thought

by Abigail Solazzo

Conducting virtual meetings or sessions may seem daunting for some of us; whether it’s the technology requirements that seem unattainable, or the lack of engagement and interaction between audience and speaker. Yet, they present an opportunity for members to access education that they may not be able to otherwise. Additionally, with the many online meeting platforms available for virtual meetings, we can still interact with the speaker as well as with one another. Virtual meetings offer other benefits as well.

Engagement & Interaction – While a virtual meeting is not a traditional in-person meeting, it can still be conducted as a face-to-face meeting. Many platforms, like Facebook Live, allow the audience and speaker to interact with each other and see each other without being across the table from one another.

Economical – There are many online meeting software programs available, some with all the bells and whistles, while others are more bare bones. Some will be more costly, while others are more cost effective, like Zoom, and offer videoconferencing, screensharing and an unlimited number of meetings. Hosting a virtual session or meeting may also help the chapter reduce costs on speaker honorariums, travel, lodging, and event space. This will also provide savings to your attendees if they no longer have to travel to the meeting.

Expand Audience Reach – Virtual meetings or sessions allow us to reach more members that may not able to attend the in-person meeting. While you may not wish to host an entire meeting virtually, you could broadcast a few sessions for attendees that were not able to travel to the meeting.

Attracting Younger Members – Many of our younger members are very familiar with technology and have embraced the benefits of it, including the opportunity to earn CE online. As they may prefer to obtain CE via a virtual session, this presents a wonderful opportunity to give younger members what they need, as well as introduce them to the ANFP brand and the chapter.  

Record for Future Use – Many online meeting platforms offer the option to record your session/webinar as well. This is a great benefit for your members, as they can still access the education, but when it is most convenient for them.