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Businesses still need to have their event ‘Plan B’ until 2021 – here’s why

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt on major public events worldwide, with Japan flagging the postponement of this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games and several F1 Grands Prix races cancelled to avoid further spreading of the virus.

There’s also the impact on businesses – share markets have fallen, travel plans and supply chains have been disrupted, and major trade shows have been cancelled. How businesses globally respond to the virus, and the robustness of their risk management strategy, will significantly affect the impact on the economy longer-term. So, how should you prepare for similar events in the future?

What these past few months have taught us is that it’s essential to plan for every contingency and ensure your risk management strategy covers all foreseeable circumstances. Exploring options to keep your essential meetings, presentations, AGMs, annual conferences and other events in play – with some modifications – can protect the plans and investments you have already made. It can also maintain the engagement of employees, prospects, and customers alike, and support the longer-term growth of your business — while reducing and managing any associated risks.

Conferences and events

Now is the time to think about including virtual conferences and events in your communications plans. Here are my recommendations for streaming your content live online and letting it live on afterwards through on-demand hosting.

1. Offer a hybrid event. Hybrid events provide you with the best of both worlds – the ability to create content from a physical conference and offer it online. This is a great option should your venue charge any cancellation penalties. Streaming your live content online also means your delegates (physical and online) can access it once your event is over.

Tip: Always ensure your streaming partner is in contact with your AV supplier and venue – it’s important for all resources to work together to make this happen.

2. Run a Remote Webinar. When presenters and attendees are unable to make your conference, consider running a remote webinar. All content is delivered online and there is no need for travel. Presenters and facilitators can log in from their home or office and appear on camera, move their slides on their own accord, and use interactive features through an online interface.

Tip: Ensure you have completed thorough testing prior to running remote webinars and that you work with a partner who will provide technical support both to you and your online attendees.

3. Host a Studio Broadcast. If your presenters are still able to travel, consider using a broadcast studio to host online content. Broadcast studios offer high definition video and audio capture, green screens, and the ability to choose your seating layout. You can have presenters seated on a panel or connect them in from various locations. 

Tip: Studio Broadcasts offer a ‘TV on the internet’ style and should be hosted by professional streaming producers.

Meetings and Presentations

Travel plans for businesses for internal meetings, strategy days, customer appointments and board or investor presentations have drastically changed. If your organisation is affected, consider video conferencing your regular internal meetings, town halls, board presentations and investor hook-ups. Modern meeting technology will ensure there are no drop-outs, you can manage your Q&As virtually, and resources and presentations can be made available online.


Tip: Make sure your video conference is hosted locally with adequate technical support and conferencing features so your important meetings are as engaging online as they would be in person.

Marketing and lead generation

Online webinars are a great way to continue holding marketing events in times of uncertainty or when you’re looking to reduce risk. You can deliver your content online using engaging presenters and multimedia support materials, with attendees attending virtually. In addition, making them available on-demand afterwards potentially increases your audience.

Tip: Ensure the webinar-based platform you choose is feature-rich and you have sufficient tech and facilitation support so that your presenters can focus on the content.

Education and Professional Development

Many member organisations rely on remote options when it comes to offering professional development and education courses to a dispersed membership base. If your organisation hasn’t explored this option yet, now is the time to do so. Online studio broadcasts and video webinars provide all the resources and engagement of in-person courses at greater convenience and without the cost and risks associated with in-person attendance. They can also provide valuable information on engagement and drop-off rates at different times during your content, enabling you to improve your offering continuously.

Tip: Select a technology provider that can provide engagement analytics as well as adequate tech support.

We live in a changing world, as the emergence of the coronavirus has shown, but responding to those changes in a measured, prepared way that reduces risk will help all our organisations cope and prosper into the future. 

Businesses still need to have their event ‘Plan B’ until 2021 – here’s why

Jeff Downs is the CEO and founder of Redback Connect – a serial entrepreneur and a corporate leader.

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Jeff Downs

Jeff Downs

Jeff Downs is an expert in conferencing technology and services. In 2007, he moved to Sydney with his family and established <a href="http://www.redbackconferencing.com.au/">Redback Conferencing</a>, a web, video and teleconferencing specialist provider.

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