From the cancellation of SXSW to the postponement of the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, the ripple effect of coronavirus on industry events is happening in real time. As CEO of an accelerated learning company, I hoped a moment like this would never arrive. But as a futurist, I’ve been anticipating some version of our current reality and I’ve been teaching companies how to engage employees in a remote setting for more than a decade.
Over the past month, my FutureThink team and I have heard a strikingly similar set of questions from clients, professional contacts, and industry leaders. If you’re grappling with event or conference concerns too, I hope the answers below will help clarify your path forward.
Q: Our global conference is scheduled for late spring, but it’s unclear whether the virus will be contained by then. How can we provide our employees with an immersive experience while hosting our conference safely and virtually?
A: It’s wise to pursue a Plan B at this stage — especially if you want to provide a high-impact online event. Talk to your event organizer or training vendor about coordinating remote breakout sessions for attendees using a video-conferencing platform that allows for interactivity with a dispersed audience.