What is a Virtual Bilateral Summit – Is this the New Normal?

what is a virtual bilateral summit

In today’s world, there are usually a number of meetings that take place between business leaders as well as leaders of different countries. You might have heard of a bilateral meeting between leaders or presidents of two countries. However, what is a virtual bilateral summit?

In order to maintain good inter-country relationships, it is important for leaders to have meetings to discuss such issues as trade, movement of people and energy among others.

These are discussed to ensure that the two countries have a good working relationship. It helps to provide citizens of different countries with a conducive environment to interact and do business with each other.

Given the rise of internet and restriction of movement as the world comes to terms with the new order of things, it has made virtual solutions acceptable by many people. That is why we can now have virtual bilateral summit.

What is a virtual bilateral summit – Meaning

The way I see it, a virtual bilateral summit is a virtual meeting between leaders of two countries that want to build or strengthen ties between their countries.

In this regard, a virtual bilateral summit is a conversation held by two leaders from two different countries using virtual platforms like zoom to reinforce their relationship in many aspects.

A classic virtual bilateral summit is a meeting where leaders spend time at conversation. This virtual conversation can be scripted, informal and casual or can be formal.

7 Reasons Why Virtual Bilateral Summit are Important

As the world comes to terms with remote working, the idea of virtual meetings is now widely accepted. Here are the seven reasons why virtual bilateral summits are important.

  1. They promotes friendly relationships between leaders
  2. Part of direct diplomacy engagement
  3. Solves problems that junior diplomats could not solve.
  4. Helps in making package deals due to authority of participants.
  5. Creates an opportunity for leaders to develop themselves
  6. An opportunity for international marketing for countries.
  7. They are easy to host with little logistics.

Let us now look further into these ideas that make virtual bilateral meetings an interesting option for leaders.

Top 7 Reasons to Hold Virtual Bilateral Summits Today

As we have seen, a virtual bilateral summit is a meeting between two leaders of a country or organization which takes place virtually.

As you engage or plan to host a virtual bilateral meeting, you should consider the following benefits of having this kind of a summit.

  1. They promote friendly relationships between leaders.

The idea behind bilateral meetings is to promote relationship between the parties involved.  Creating a friendly environment is great in helping build an atmosphere that facilitates bilateral discussions.

  1. Part of direct diplomacy engagement.

Virtual bilateral summits are now part of global diplomacy engagement. It is important for countries to have good working relationships. This includes ensuring bilateral trade works for mutual benefits.

In this regard, you will find that different countries are deploying virtual bilateral summits to promote diplomacy.

It is something that business leaders or leaders of international organizations are using as a strategy to advance their business agenda.

  1. Solves problems that junior diplomats cannot solve.

In some cases, bilateral meetings take place to solve escalating issues between two countries or organizations.

A virtual bilateral summit in today’s circumstance is a great way to solve problems that junior diplomats or officers cannot solve. This is why the presidents of a country will organize a virtual bilateral meeting to discuss and iron out issues.

  1. Helps in making package deals due to authority of participants.

If you have been following deals made by or between countries, you will notice that they sign off on a number of things.

This is very important when leaders from countries meet.

It is common to find that package deals are made and signed off, saving time and allowing for more to be done. It helps both side of the participants.

  1. Creates an opportunity for leaders to develop themselves.

Like you and me, leaders of countries are also human. They have the same challenges and weaknesses that humans have.

When a leader is having a virtual bilateral summit with another leader, it forces them to improve and develop themselves.

This could be as basic as learning about another country or even  being patient and respectful with other people’s culture or points of view.

  1. An opportunity for international marketing for countries.

A virtual bilateral summit provides one of the best opportunities for countries to promote themselves.

In most cases, there is always great media publicity about two leaders meetings. This can be local, regional and international coverage.

Smart leaders use this to promote their country and showcase different aspects of culture, business and beauty of their country.

  1. They are easy to host with little logistics.

Hosting a virtual bilateral summit is easy and has less logistics. Today, it is easy to schedule for a virtual meeting with anyone from any corner of the world.

By choosing to have a virtual bilateral meeting, leaders are able to remove the challenges that come with physical one-on-one meeting. They are able to remove travel and other logistics that would make hosting a meeting difficult.

With a virtual solution, they can easily host it from the comforts of their home or official offices.

How Virtual Bilateral Summit Works – Tips and Strategies

As we have seen above, hosting virtual bilateral summits comes with some logistical challenges. Here are top tips and strategies you can use to ensure you have a successful virtual bilateral summit.

  1. Create a Plan

It is important that create a plan if you are part of the team organizing the virtual bilateral summit. This would allow you to achieve the goals or objectives you set up for yourself.

  1. Choose the Time

Getting the date and time is very critical to the success of a virtual bilateral summit. This is simply because country leaders have very busy schedules and you do not want to set a date when there are other competing events.

Geographical concerns are a total nonissue with a virtual bilateral event. The time, however, is still just as relevant as ever.

You therefore should synchronize the two leader’s schedule so that they are both available at the same time and day for the virtual summit.

Ensure you consider time zones of the leaders who will be part of the virtual bilateral summit.

  1. Promote the Virtual Bilateral Summit

In our earlier discussion above, we had mentioned that a virtual bilateral summit can help in marketing a country or your organization.

To do this, you will need to promote the summit.  Determine the key point you want to promote and use various channels to promote or share about the virtual bilateral meeting.

  1. Ensure Technology is in Place

In a virtual platform, you should expect to have glitches. This means that you should ensure that your technology and the virtual platforms you are using are actually working.

As you plan and prepare to host the virtual bilateral summit, test your internet connection, prepare backups for your presentations and if possible, run a rehearsal.

The sooner you identify problems, the sooner you can identify solutions.

You should also remember that participants of your virtual bilateral summit might not be tech savvy. Anticipate this and create a plan on how you will ensure everything runs smoothly.

  1. Promote Inclusivity

Just like the physical bilateral summits, virtual bilateral summits should be inclusive and accessible to all the necessary participants.

In regard to a virtual bilateral summit, you should ensure that you use clear language and if meeting someone who does not share your language, have an interpreter.

  1. Encourage Engagement

This is pretty simple. If you create opportunities for engagement, the person you are meeting for this internet-based bilateral summit will be more engaged.

This applies to other participants in the virtual diplomatic meeting

Most of the virtual platforms, like zoom, have interactive features. This allows you to provide an opportunity for e=increased engagement.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is very important that countries or businesses continue to engage each other in today’s world.

Hosting a virtual bilateral meeting is a smart way to keep lines of communication open between leaders, while ensuring that protocols are maintained.

The rise of virtual platforms provides great leverage that you can use in ensuring you have a successful online bilateral summit.

For example, it is possible to have or host virtual awards ceremony today. This has been made possible due to access to virtual platforms and increase of remove working due to global situation that started in 2020.