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Virtual Conferences have become increasingly popular in 2020 and 2021 as a safe way to connect with others, attend trainings, and continue your education. While we all miss seeing each other and connecting with each other in person, there are several benefits to attending a virtual conference. Below are some of those benefits and some helpful tips for making your next virtual conference the best it can be.

 Benefits to attending a virtual conference:

  1. Cost-saving. You are saving money since you don’t have to purchase airfare, hotel, and worry about the other expenses you normally would while traveling.
  2. Attend wherever is comfortable for you. Since this is online, you can attend the conference in your own home, at your office, or wherever you have a stable internet connection.
  3. Choose from more sessions. In an in-person event, you normally would have to pick and choose between sessions since some of them are held at the same time. With this online format, you have the ability to watch all the sessions, if your conference offers live and on-demand session options.
  4. Rewatch and review. Normally, you would have the disadvantage of only being able to listen and watch sessions once if you were in-person. This way, some conferences are offering the option for you to be able to review them as many times as you would like.
  5. Opportunity to network with more people. When an event opts for a virtual format, there’s the opportunity for new people from around the world that normally couldn’t make it because of cost or travel restrictions to attend. Also, small events can now increase their attendance. This all gives you the attendee the chance to network with even more people from around the world in real-time.

Helpful tips for your next virtual conference:

  1. Explore the tool you’ll be using. There are several different tools for an event to use, so it is important for you to get familiar with the specific tool your event is using. Explore the logistics of the tool like how to log in and out, important resources like the contact or chat tool, and make sure to look through the schedule to plan out your experience.
  2. Set a reminder or calendar notice. It is important that you set your own reminder in your phone, tablet, or computer to remind yourself of your event so that you’re early to it, so you can have enough time to log in, find your first session, and anything else you find important.
  3. Schedule your time based on live and on-demand content. Some events will have both live and on-demand content. Make sure to look through the schedule and plan accordingly to ensure you make it to the live content first, since the on-demand content can be viewed at any time.
  4. Minimize distractions. Make sure you choose a quiet place to view your conference. If you live with anyone or anyone will be around you, make them aware or block out times when it will be quieter for you. Silence any distracting noises, such as phones, entertainment devices, etc.
  5. Take consistent breaks. Since you will not be walking to and from your sessions, you can still treat this as if you are. Stand and stretch in between your sessions to give yourself a break. This is a great time to grab yourself a snack and refill on drinks, so you stay energized during your sessions.
  6. Review and enjoy. If your conference offers on-demand sessions and the option to review sessions, take advantage of it. This would be a great time to take any last-minute notes or just review something that you really enjoyed.

There are many benefits to virtual conferences, these are just a few of the main ones. It may take a little adjusting to the virtual format, but adding these tips into your experience can help you have a wonderful virtual conference experience.

 

Sources:

Howard, Madison, et al. “10 Tips for Attending a Virtual Conference.” Cvent, 10 Aug. 2020, www.cvent.com/en/blog/events/10-tips-attending-virtual-conference.

LePage, Evan. “5 Experts Share Their Tips on Attending Virtual Conferences.” Unito, 25 Mar. 2020, unito.io/blog/virtual-conference-online-event-tips/.

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