Has your conference, convention, or meeting been cancelled by the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus?

If so, I’m sorry to hear that. The amount of time, energy, and money that pours into these events is gargantuan. Sickness is a common reason for absence. But for an entire organization to shut down a conference because of worldwide health scare isn’t something I have ever experienced before.

Back in 2015 I wrote the book Screen to Screen Selling in order for organizations to learn how to have better remote meetings, speakers to deliver better virtual presentations, and how everyone can dramatically save on operational costs. This commercially published book by McGraw Hill was the first of its kind to feature Zoom video as a meeting tool and with the CEO Eric Yuan endorsing it on the back cover.

What’s interesting now is how many organizations at the time didn’t take remote meetings seriously. The excuses stacked up more than the reasons to change. And now with the coronavirus on everyone’s mind, you can imagine how many CEOs, CIOs, and CMOs are rethinking their strategy to how they can become more adaptable to the remote working arrangement, virtual sales performance, and how to engage customers without being physically present.

I can remember back in 2015 I was scheduled to deliver a presentation at the National Association of Realtors Association Executive institute in Vancouver British Columbia. Months before the conference I had learned that my son was also about to be born around the same time. When I notified the meeting planner of my great news, I was removed from the program because they didn’t want to take a risk of me not showing up and wouldn’t let me deliver the presentation remote because “they had never done that before.” Now in 2020 with the coronavirus outbreak, they have cancelled the meeting and are most likely scrambling to figure out what to do next. It might have been a policy issue then which refrained my participation. Now I would only assume they are rethinking their policy, process, and technology considerations with how much money has been lost with this year’s cancellation.

Remote meetings take significant amount of care and attention to the technology selection for a hassle-free experience, operational procedures to ensure quality, and for those who are presenting – the skills needed in order to communicate effectively with a distant audience. A virtual presentation isn’t a webinar with a bobble head like video camera feed and slide narration. A virtual presentation is one that engages participants of all kinds with the sensitivity of their familiarity with technology and how they can best implement key concepts. Just like mastering a craft on stage, a virtual presentation involves a specialized set of skills that can be learned, mastered, and transferred into business outcomes.

If you don’t already have a copy of Screen to Screen Selling, I would encourage you to buy it. If you already have a copy then I would encourage you to read it again. Chapter one talks about the ROI and is a good place to start. Then Chapter 16, 17, and 18 are ideal for those who plan, organize and speak at conferences.

I hope that you are smart in whatever decision you make should you decide to travel or not. This coronavirus too shall pass. Now is your opportunity to skill up so you can remain relevant now and years to come.

Doug Devitre

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