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President’s Point: How to Get the Most Out of Virtual Conferences

With conferences shifting to a virtual format, there are new ways to branch out and connect with industry leaders from across the country.

Of course, attending a conference from your couch is much different than a large conference hall surrounded by your peers. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less valuable. Here are 5 ways to get the most out of virtual conferences.

1. Turn Off All Distractions

While you may think you’re an expert multitasker, try to limit disruptions. In order to get the most out of a virtual event, you have to give your undivided attention. Set your phone on silent, move to a quiet space and consider taking notes by hand.

2. Make a Game Plan

Just as you would before a big game, go in with a solid strategy to accomplish your goal of attending. Maximize your time and learning by selecting topics and sessions in advance. The point being: do your homework.

One advantage of a virtual conference is sessions are typically recorded and available for later viewing. You no longer have to decide between two sessions scheduled for the same time, and instead attend both at your own convenience.

3. Network Virtually

A large part of attending conferences are the networking opportunities. While we aren’t physically together, virtual conferences still offer opportunities to network.

If you attend a seminar where a speaker captures your attention, follow up with a message on LinkedIn. Utilize the Zoom or Google Meet chat functions to ask questions and connect with other attendees during the presentation. Post about your attendance on social media and engage with others using the conference hashtag. Since you aren’t physically seen, you have to be proactive to be heard.

4. Participate in Roundtables

Virtual roundtables are a great way to learn, share and network within the industry. When opportunities arise to voice your thoughts, make sure you’re not muted and are ready to share something educational, but not promotional. This isn’t time to be a company salesperson but a time to act as an industry leader.

5. Recharge In-between Sessions

Let’s face it—staring at a screen for extended periods of time is tough. Make time in between sessions to recharge by going for a walk, grab a snack or follow up with someone you just met. Taking 5 minutes to refuel can set the rest of the day up for success.

We’ll be physically back at conferences soon enough, but for now, we can appreciate the convenience of a lower cost and time spent traveling.

Jamie Izaks is the president of All Points Public Relations, a franchise-focused PR agency based in the Chicagoland area, www.allpointspr.com.

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