At this point, you may have attended a virtual conference, and you’ve probably attended a webinar or two. While organizations are getting creative with their online events you can still probably expect to be sitting in front of your computer watching sessions for multiple hours a day. Here are some tips to make sure you’re ready to attend and get your money’s and education’s worth!
You may already have one if you’ve been working remotely, but if not, get ready to hunker down for a few days. Make sure your space is quiet and comfortable so you can focus and not feel compelled to be getting up and moving around during a session. When you’re at a conference in-person, you attend sessions at a dedicated location and dedicated room leaving (most) of the distractions behind. Virtual should be no different.
Okay, maybe you don’t have to put on full conference garb, but don’t use the virtual conference as an excuse to lounge around in pajamas all day. Wearing real clothes will help you feel more productive, and more present during the virtual conference, instead of on your way to take a nap.
Yes, you can’t just grab a cocktail at the welcome event or see a concert in-person, but doesn’t mean you should skip all of those things at a virtual conference. While not every conference has all of these things, many hosting some type of social events – be it a morning yoga class, happy hour breakouts, or a virtual performance. These allow you to connect with others you’d typically connect with in-person as well as have some fun!
Just because you can’t roam the exhibit hall in-person doesn’t mean you should skip it virtually. Many are at least incorporating some type of virtual exhibit hall into their event – avatar or not – allowing you to download information, watch videos, and even chat with representatives of exhibiting companies.
Going along with networking, following the conference hashtags on social media is another way to interact with attendees and presenters. Get involved in discussions or keep an eye on them as the day goes on to pick up any great information shared there that may have not been shared during a session.
As organizations become more experienced with virtual conferences, many have started taking a different approach – shortening some sessions, shortening some days, or at a minimum making sure they provide enough breaks for you to stand up, stretch, get some food, check your email, and be able to be present during session time. So, make sure you do all of those things! If you sit down all day and barely eat, you’ll be burned out after Day 1!
If you were attending a conference in-person, you’d most likely have some sort of out of office email response set up. Why do anything differently for a virtual conference? If you have an out of office email up you’ll feel better about not checking your email every five minutes and those that are emailing you will know that your response may be delayed.
No matter the length or style of the virtual conference you’re attending, there is a good chance you won’t be able to attend all of the sessions you’d like. We strongly recommend all of our clients record their content and make it accessible on-demand after the conference. If they do, you should have plenty of time to catch up on sessions you missed!