As the Coronavirus is making victims around the globe, meeting and conference organisers are thinking about contingencies in the event that attendees are not able or allowed to travel. The health and safety of communities and attendees is of course the first priority for every organisation that hosts an event. Yet events require a huge investment in terms of time, money and effort, so cancelling them entails a much greater cost than just the cancellation as such. What are the options when your in-person meeting or event cannot take place?
1) Take the meeting online
When the event objective is to share information and gather questions or feedback from participants, it is actually quite easy to organise it online. All presenters and audience members connect via the internet from wherever they are, and can view and hear the presentations in their own language. They can interact by leaving chat messages or taking the floor. This type of multilingual webinar can be set up very quickly. You can keep the original event dates and hence be sure that people will attend, as they have already reserved the time for you in their diaries. We can also train the conference interpreters that you had booked for your in-person event so that they can interpret during your online event. This will mitigate at least some of the financial consequences of the cancellation of your in-person meeting.
2) Pick up the phone
For shorter meetings, or updates that do not require a lot of interaction, a multilingual conference call may be what you need. All participants dial into a virtual meeting room, and into their language channel. There is no limit to the number of participants so you can swiftly reach a wide audience. You share your update and keep everyone informed of the latest news. Interpreters work simultaneously, so having the conference by telephone does not affect the length of the event.
For an overview of the countries with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19, click here.