The initial reaction to the COVID-19 lockdown measures that have swept the globe was to set up remote working systems so that people could work from home; then came the realisation that team meetings would need to continue in the virtual world, and everyone became used to Zoom, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams and other platforms as ways to keep in touch with their colleagues.
Now, it is becoming clear that all conferences will have to move online for some months into the future. Moving a one hour team meeting online is relatively simple - but converting a two or three day conference into its virtual equivalent is a much more complex task. Timezones, attention spans, social opportunities and many more factors need to be considered.
In this interview, UNDP Green Commodities Programme's Communications Lead Simon Cooper speaks to UNDP Senior Adviser and Strozzi Institute Leadership Coach Lise Melvin about the work involved. She talks about building the human factor into online conference design and shares valuable tips on how an effective facilitator can ensure diversity, inclusion and accessibility in online gatherings. Her guidance is especially aimed at those looking to convert a face to face conference into an online version.