Meeting professionals are going to have to add to their skill sets to effectively manage virtual (one to many) or hybrid (a virtual offering or extension of a live event) meetings. “It’s something we’re going to have to get out in front of, think differently about as a mode of meeting,” said Marsh. In addition to everything else, now planners also have to become “quasi-IT experts to be able to launch those meetings,” said Helen Kalorides, meeting management consultant, Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis.

One particular challenge with producing virtual meetings that disseminate critical drug information to attendees is proving their ROI. “What is the effectiveness of training a doctor over the computer if that doctor isn’t paying attention?” said Marsh in one of her sessions. “I don’t want that physician doing three other things at the time.” Vander Ploeg said information transfer can work when the virtual program has pop-up test applications that users must take before they leave their desks. It can also be an efficient way to train physicians globally.