So Your Conference Got Cancelled…Now What?

If you are a leader inside a company, what do you do to ensure your employees feel invested in when they aren’t at a live conference? If you are an association, what do you do to stay relevant and present with your members when you can’t gather them in person? If you put on customer events, how do you maintain your relationship and share your services when you don’t get that face-to-face you were planning on?

Let’s face it, whether you think the abundance of caution isn’t enough action, or you think all of this is out-of-control hype, the impact is real. Not all events are being canceled but there seems to be an abundance of caution at the larger, more global events.

So now what?

Now’s the time to be innovative. Now’s the time to think differently about how to stay connected, drive engagement, and build relationships in a different way. The last thing we all want to do is go dark for months and then have to work our way out of the hole and back into the hearts and minds of the people we serve. That’s double the work.

I’ve fielded dozens of calls lately for different approaches to serving members, teams, and customers. Whether you work with me or any other person out there, I want you to know what seems to be resonating with my clients so you can build an innovative solution that works for you.

Here are the top 4 options clients are getting excited about as we navigate this time:

#1 Virtual Summit: While the requests we are getting range from 60-minutes to 3-hours, what’s true about all of them is the need to bring tremendous value to the people sitting at their desks, not on the conference floor or strategic offsite. What better time to talk about innovation than when you have to shift gears quickly to find new solutions? Whatever your chosen topic, virtual summits can still be informative and engaging. Most importantly, it shows your people that you are still invested in their growth and success.

#2 Online Book Club: I don’t just mean the traditional, drink all the wine, book club. I’m talking about picking a great business or professional development book your team or members can rally behind. Give each of them a copy. Set up one or multiple “ask the author questions” or group discussions. There is something very bonding about reading and discussing a book, as a team. For book clubs, my new book, Innovation is Everybody’s Business, even has discussion guides to spark conversation. Other authors may create them for you. Whichever book you choose I think the keys are to first, find one that everyone can benefit from and second, engage everyone in lively discussions to build knowledge and community.

#3 LiveStream: I’ve been asked multiple times if the organization can LiveStream my talk for those that can’t make it. Of course, my answer is always yes. Most speakers will allow it, especially given the circumstances. The key is to talk to the speaker and the LiveStream service about how the speaker moves on the stage and in the audience. If the speaker is interactive, make sure they have instructions for those sitting at tables with 8 others and those sitting by themselves at their desks. Everyone should still feel as if they have a chance to participate.

#4 Online Courses: If you are an individual or small team looking to supplement the professional development you were hoping for live, I suggest finding some online courses you can do together. Doesn’t need to be fancy, or even expensive, just valuable. Small, and even large teams, love our online Innovation Toolkit because it’s only $79. Find an online course or program that will engage your mind, maybe even foster conversation with your team. Udemy is a great source for a range of content as well. has some great articles and resources on this topic, including a recent article on how to create a virtual conference.

I have many conferences on my itinerary for April and into the summer that I’m thrilled for, and can’t wait to attend. And now I have a range of virtual summits and book clubs. The thing to remember is that wherever you are in your conference, there’s an innovative solution for you.



Tamara Ghandour is the pioneering voice in the field of human-centered innovation, the creator of the IQE assessment, podcast host, and Crossfit addict

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Tamara Ghandour

Tamara Ghandour is the pioneering voice in the field of human-centered innovation, the creator of the IQE assessment, podcast host, and Crossfit addict