With a physical event, people travel to the same location and therefore the same time zone to have their meeting but with virtual events, you can have people attending the meeting while located in every time zone in the world. That makes it pretty hard to schedule a convenient time for everyone. Until recently, this problem was largely relegated to virtual event producers, but now, with physical events becoming more regional every day the problem cuts across all types of events and meetings.
I had two different discussions with events producers last week who both were noting the challenge of time zones for their events. First, I was having a conversation with an executive that produces meetings in virtual worlds and she works for a very large company that is moving more and more of their meetings to virtual environments. Her biggest challenge had nothing to do with training people to function and communicate in the virtual world or getting their execs to feel comfortable with being an avatar–it is scheduling meeting times for global meetings so that the meeting can come off in somewhat of a normal time. With normal being sometime between 6am and 10pm (ideally).
Skip forward to the conversation I had with a physical event producer who was used to a large international attendance at her events. She was saying that they were trying to work through the problem of serving their usual attendees who are not able to travel but who still want to participate remotely. We were brainstorming ideas on how to do this and came up with what seems like the best plan which is to have the main event connected to other regional events running at the same time and all of this augmented with virtual events and virtual meeting technology solutions. That works for them because they have enough executives to have key personnel available in-person which will be augmented with live streamed keynotes and other high profile sessions. But no matter how you work it, there are some pretty tough options on when you can have everyone together at one time experiencing the same thing.
What are your solutions to this challenge?