Around the world, many events are now at risk due to the outbreak of COVID-19, also called coronavirus. Conference after conference is coming under threat. But, despite all the difficulties, you don’t need to cancel your conference.
While in-person meetings and events will always be the ideal, it helps to have a backup in place in case the worst happens. In the case of conferences, I would like to make a few simple recommendations:
- As soon as possible, contact a virtual meeting company.
This is especially important if your conference was going to be multilingual. Companies such as KUDO or Linguali (neither are paying me to mention them) enable you to provide complex video and audio feeds to everyone who was going to be at the conference. Better yet, they allow you to still run a multilingual event by providing an excellent platform for interpreters too.
- Talk to sponsors and those who have bought stands about alternatives
No matter what your contracts say, you will keep better relationships with key supporters if you get them in the loop early. If you move the event into the virtual space, offer sponsors the chance to have their logos on slides and to have their name mentioned. Those who have bought stands might be interested in sponsoring talks.
- Be prepared to jiggle the schedule
We all know that a virtual event is no replacement for sharing the same room and it should be no surprise either that attention drops much more quickly during virtual presentations than it does when we have a speaker right in front of us. This means that switching to virtual for a one-off will also inevitably mean shortening speeches, trimming sessions and generally shifting the whole schedule around. None of this will be easy but it still provides a better experience than cancelling the whole thing.
In short, when thinking through your options, don’t write off moving the event online. Not only does it mean that your guests still get the best content, it can give you great ideas for how to use modern virtual meeting technologies in your next, hopefully virus-free, edition.
And, as ever, if you would like to schedule a free, 20-minute advice call, drop me an email.
A more detailed appraisal of the current state of remote interpreting and where it is leading can be found in my personal position.