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Ballston-based web development startup OpenWater Software has put together a guide for other businesses to replace physical meetings and conferences with virtual ones.

OpenWater CTO Kunal Johar said in the guide that while in-person meetings are invaluable and irreplaceable, a good online meeting can salvage some of what is lost.

“The rising impact of health concerns around the coronavirus is forcing organizations to reconsider, cancel or postpone their annual gatherings,” the company said in a press release. “Because a majority of OpenWater’s customers rely on annual meetings, conferences and summits, they created a downloadable guide and instructional video that shows step-by-step how to transition your physical event into a virtual event using Zoom, or similar meeting tools like GoToMeeting. OpenWater is not affiliated or being paid by either company.”

Johar suggested having one meeting URL per physical room that you would have had at a conference. A spreadsheet can keep track of which host will be running which room with permissions to manage that room on Zoom. These URLs can be published on a company’s site through a link.

In the guide, Johar said to make sure in settings you allow people to join before the host and to auto-mute everyone as they log in and disable sounds.

“As opposed to increasing risks to physical health or completely canceling an event or meeting, virtual conferences ensure that attendees can still benefit and view recordings from any session while keeping their sponsors happy by allowing them to have dedicated virtual sessions or incorporating them in the beginning or middle of a session,” the company said in the press release. “By following this guide, event managers can transition their event to be virtual in one day with ease and without prior tech experience.”

Johar also suggested, in communications with attendees, to include links to how attendees can access refunds from travel and booking companies.

Image via OpenWater

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