* This is a special edition of Communique to help those who must suddenly shift their face-to-face meetings, events and training sessions to a virtual space. These tips should help ease the transition.*
By Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights, and Jesse Bibbee, Gazelle Interactive
After months of planning, everything is finally in place for next week’s two-day meeting in London, which will chart the course for the launch of the company’s new product. The 25 participants from eight countries will be convening to make final decisions on pricing, sales and marketing programs, and launch details. (The meeting has suddenly taken on a new sense of urgency, with the recent discovery that their competitors are well on the way to launching a similar product.)
As the meeting convener and facilitator, you’re feeling optimistic that the meeting will be a resounding success. The hotel rooms and meeting center are booked, everyone has plane tickets and visas in hand, the room logistics and menus are nailed down, and the agenda is finalized. You breathe a sigh of relief, eager for the weekend ahead when you can muster your energy for next week.
That’s when you get the email that upends every single one of your plans: “Out of abundant caution for the health of our employees and colleagues, all travel plans are on hold until further notice. This means that all business meetings outside of your local area must be cancelled or postponed, with no exceptions.” When you appeal to your manager, she advises you to put your energy into figuring out how to achieve these same goals remotely. “After all,” she says, “Our competition won’t be taking a break. Neither can we.”
If you or someone you know is facing a similar situation, Jesse Bibbee of Gazelle Interactive joined me to create this checklist of steps that we have found to be essential, as a start: