As virtual conferences continue to rise in popularity as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the opportunity to attend has never been greater. With reduced costs such as admission and travel expenses, along with the ability to visit multiple booths in a shorter time span and view product demonstrations, access content, and attend online presentations – virtual conferences can provide more value than actual conferences themselves. However, attending conferences online creates a different experience for attendees and requires a higher level of organization and focus to maximize value. With that being said, there is still a lot to be learned during these conferences, as well as great networking opportunities which can really be beneficial for attendees. To help ensure you are ready for any upcoming virtual conferences, such as Cyber HITEC and the Best Western Virtual Conference, both of which Jonas Chorum will be attending, let’s take a look at some tips to make the most of your virtual experience.
Setup appointments and organize your time.
While virtual conferences offer great learning opportunities, there are also dedicated time slots to browse through the virtual exhibit halls. However, with so many different exhibitors, it is often challenging to make the most of your time without planning ahead. Ideally, individual appointments should be made with the vendors or exhibitors you would like to speak with to ensure you have meetings setup prior to the start of the virtual conference. Without meetings established, you run the risk of standing around waiting or being unable to get a meeting with some of your exhibitors of choice. In doing so, you can better plan your time while maximizing the value provided by the show itself.
Learn how to use the platform in advance.
The transition from in-person conferences and tradeshows to virtual formats has happened very quickly. With that being said, it is very likely that for many people, this year might be the first virtual event they have ever attended. It is advisable to take some time prior to the event to learn how to use and navigate the platform. An hour or two before the event starts, access the main lobby, check out all of the tabs, and see what options are available and where everything is so you can make the most of your time at the virtual conference. Make sure to test the audio and video as well, as you don’t want to be stuck fixing technology issues during the conference. In addition, if the conference facilitator offers any training sessions on how to use the platform, make sure to watch those prior to the event.
Engage with exhibitors and presenters.
Leveraging the chat feature within each booth is essential to making the most of each exhibitor visited. As technology has continued to evolve, most virtual event platforms now offer both text and video chat options. With text chatting, this can be a great way to gather some initial information or be pointed in the right direction. Video chatting creates a more personalized experience that more closely resembles a traditional, in-person tradeshow. In addition, the chat functionality is typically available within the presentations themselves, allowing for questions to be asked throughout. Taking advantage of the chat capabilities can truly make the difference between an average and a great virtual conference.
Block out time in your calendar.
As most of us can attest having to work from home – distractions can be a big challenge. One way to help curb this, is to ensure that the time when you will be attending the virtual conference is blocked out on your calendar. While there is always work to do, emails to respond to, and incoming message to read, co-workers will at least be able to see that you are busy. This will help to reduce the amount of notifications, while allowing you to focus on the sessions, exhibits, and networking opportunities you had paid to experience. In addition, it is recommended that you set your status on any messaging platforms to either ‘busy’ or ‘in a meeting’ to further reduce distractions.
Make time to revisit exhibits and review sessions.
One of the biggest benefits of virtual conferences is the ability to access the sessions on demand after the event has concluded. The reality is that most people can’t attend every single session and view all of the exhibitor booths, which is why it is important to set aside some time to review the conference. For example, the sessions and booths at Cyber HITEC will be available for about a month after the virtual conference has ended, providing attendees with ample time to review anything missed, or re-watch sessions in greater depth. This will allow you to take detailed notes and absorb more of the information available through the virtual conference.
Attending Cyber HITEC or the Best Western Virtual Conference this year? If so, please reach out to our sales team to book your personalized meeting!