Authored by: Dr. Jea
What if I told you, it’s possible to attend virtual conferences and have the experience be more effective than an in-person event? I know, it’s hard to replicate the experience of rooms buzzing with energy, the warm greeting from a colleague you haven’t seen in months, and let’s not forget the food. Yet, there are benefits and strategies to make virtual attendance more meaningful than in-person events.
2020 took all conferences virtual, and I joined as many as possible since I wasn’t restricted by travel budgets and time away from family. What I experienced surprised me. I’m an extrovert and LOVE people. In my mind, nothing can replicate an in-person live event. However, many of the conferences I attended resulted in greater opportunities for networking and post-event collaboration. Say what?! I know… here’s what I discovered:
- Have the meeting link and your notes open. This makes it easy to screenshot content and drag it into your notes for ease of reference in the future.
- Engage in the chat. Don’t be shy…share your name and where you’re from. Invite dialogue.
- Monitor the chat. While you are participating, take notice in interests and comments that are related to your professional goals. Send these individuals a note on LinkedIn and request to meet and further the discussion. You’ll be surprised what connections emerge. Also, remember this is an opportunity for you to engage with presenters too!
- Have LinkedIn Accessible. As you engage in the chat, examine the profiles of speakers and individuals who are working toward common goals. I’ve reached out to individuals who are working on similar projects and have been able to connect and collaborate to advance our thinking about topics of discussion. You may also find a great mentor this way.
- Utilize the Search Function. The search function of your laptop makes it easy to access notes linked to the content being presented. Search for connections to the presenter’s content, copy from your notes, and paste in the chat to advance the conversation. You’ll also be building your credibility and expertise while learning!
In a nutshell, be the person you want to meet and extend your reach to others. You’ll learn more, expand your network, and experience greater joy!
Another benefit of attending virtually: You will have access to on-demand replays to refresh your memory making it easy to share your lessons learned with your colleagues to expand the reach of your attendance with your organization. #ThatsLeadership
I don’t know about you, but using these strategies, I’ve actually met more people in 2020 during virtual events than I ever did attending in-person events. I also enjoyed sharing my lessons learned with my teams. Together, we can make Identiverse 2021 a hybrid experience to remember!