Managing speakers in multiple time zones

One of the most attractive benefits of virtual conferences is that people can join in from anywhere at any time. Meaning that your speakers can come from far-flung places, but unique challenges crop up when you have speakers all over the world in different time zones. Here’s some advice for events managers struggling with managing international events.

1. Plan your event agenda timings around your speakers

If you have a number of international speakers at your event, you want to ensure that they can present at a time convenient for them – which might mean putting off speaker talks until the afternoon or changing schedules around so that they can make sessions. There are some great tools that determine the time for different countries so that you can plan accordingly. Monday can help you plan an events schedule or the CalZones app that has an in-built time-converter along with a calendar. Many events managers use the ‘follow the sun’ principle to book speakers during their daytime hours.


2. Advance-record your sessions

Due to time constraints or large time differences, some of your speakers may not be able to make a live session at all. For these speakers, you can consider pre-recording their session to play during the conference. Although make your audience aware that it is pre-recorded session, so they don’t expect a Q&A at the end.


3. Automate speaker onboarding

Sometimes getting replies to speakers’ questions pre-event in a timely fashion can be difficult. If you automate responses, they won’t have to wait for when you are next in the office to answer their questions. They can also register online when they can instead of waiting for an events manager to onboard them.


4. Optimise your agenda for speakers and audiences

Be aware that virtual event participation is international. To make it easier for your audience to see when speakers will be live in their country – it’s a good idea to add in time zone calculators or include multiple agendas created for each main time zone, i.e. CST, BST, EST, taking into account any Daylight Saving Time.


5. Develop multiple presentation slots

You could consider doing matinee and evening presentations so that two audience regions can livestream at a time that suits them. This can only be done with the agreement of the speakers to do more than one slot. This approach is suitable for an audience that is split across two very different time zones.


6. Ensure that technology is to a good standard

For some international speakers, i.e. those speaking out of remote offices, they might not have access to a professional set-up. It’s critical to discuss what their bandwidth speed is and what technology they will be using and, if necessary, suggest or provide kit items that will help to improve their network strength, camera or sound performance – for further ideas, read our blog: How to get the best technical set-up for virtual stage.


GoRemote has been handling speakers on a truly global level – this year alone, we have supported speakers at international events like the ChangeNOW global environment summit, The International Liver Congress, The Amundi World Investment Forum and Mobile World Congress. Have a chat with one of our events managers by contacting to discover how we can help make your international event speakers really shine.

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