Traditional in-person conferences are likely to be replaced (at least to some extent) forever. Technology now provides a way to access learning and networking opportunities that’ll help you to be more effective and efficient in your professional role.
Many conferences have shifted to an online or hybrid online/in-person format, using a mix of live Zoom meetings and webinars with pre-recorded videos, and drawing on intense collaboration among teams. These conferences have been a huge success and digital events and conferences will likely endure.
To help, we’ve put together a list of tips that will help you maximise your experience at any virtual conferences you attend.
If you’re attending a virtual conference from home, you’re likely to face distractions on multiple fronts. Set aside time for your session, clear your calendar, find a quiet, comfortable location to optimise the outcome.
When you’re attending a virtual conference, it’s tempting to multi-task. But avoid the temptation! In order to get the most out of a virtual event, it’s important to really focus on the content.
Although you won’t be in the room with a speaker, try to dedicate your time and attention to the online session to optimise your learning.
Make new connections virtually
A top reason people attend conferences is to connect with other industry professionals. Chat rooms, discussion forums, along with dedicated networking times, are just a few ways to enhance the virtual experience.
The conversations had pre- and post-conference, allow you to share ideas with others and make lasting connections that can help you throughout your career. Find ways to socially connect with other participants and continue the learning and conversations.
Hold a post-conference debriefing session.
Look to keep the conversation going by sharing key takeaways on LinkedIn and other platforms.
A debrief session can enable you to continue the conversation, continue the learning, force you to think about what you’ve learned, and help you to get insight about what other people learned.
Try to figure out who else in your network will be attending the conference in advance, and then scheduling an informal debriefing session after the conference. This could remind you something you forgot or spark an idea that’ll help you level up in your own work.
Follow up with action.
Conferences are typically a gold mine for actionable insights, but if you don’t make any adjustments based on what you’ve learned, what was the point?
Try and commit to some sort of action after every session. That action could be learning more about a certain topic, sharing a new insight with someone else, making a new connection, reading a book or article that was mentioned, or adjusting the way you work or do business. The key is to combine insights with action.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget to have fun. You’re here to learn, connect and, most importantly, have some fun!