Recently, I attended my first virtual travel conference. It was a whirlwind experience, and I could have used a primer, virtual conference tips, that would have helped me maximize my time while there.
So, since I couldn’t find any content or tips on getting the most out of attending a virtual conference, I decided to write a post about it instead.
These days, more conferences are moving online, so it’s time to adjust and get used to this. At my first ever virtual travel conference, I learned a few things that I wanted to pass on to you.
With everything so up in the air, virtual conferences have become the new norm, and while they offer a way for networking and learning new information like they always have, they’re also a bit more difficult to navigate. Today, we’re talking about virtual conference tips that can help you make the most of your next conference.
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The Virtual Conference Conundrum
Virtual conferences offer us the chance to “attend” a conference without leaving our homes, and that’s a good thing. However, we’re still in our home, which means we are now attempting to attend the conference while everyone at home assumes that we are still readily available to do all the family things we normally would.
It should go without saying that we aren’t, we’re “at the conference”. The thing is, kids – and even spouses – don’t seem to realize this. So we’re faced with a conundrum. How do we “leave” for the conference?
There’s another issue, as well. When we attend conferences, we’re automatically organized. We have to be because we have to bring our gear with us. At a virtual conference, we’re simply sitting in our office, which makes it far easier to be ill-prepared. So let’s make sure we get the most out of a virtual conference with these tips.
Virtual Conference Tips
I recently virtually attended the Travel and Leisure Show put on by the Globe and Mail. It was a six-hour affair lasting from noon until 6 PM, and while it was incredible, it was also very chaotic.
With so much information coming at me for six hours and the family constantly interrupting me with questions, it became a bit of an uphill battle. I did fairly well, though. I networked like crazy for around three hours and gleaned what I could for the rest of the time. This is going to be the new normal for the foreseeable future, so I started thinking about how to make the most of these conferences.
Block Out the Conference Time
Block out your conference time as if you are at the conference and not in your office. Let the family know that for the next few hours you are not available for anything less than a dire emergency.
Get in the Right Mindset
It’s important to get your head in the right space before you “arrive” at the conference. Although you’re in your office, think about it as if you’re there. It’s important to have your head in the game, as they say. Be focused and ready to maximize your experience.
Organization is Key
Be as organized at the virtual conference as you would be at a physical conference. Organization is even more critical at these kinds of conferences because so much is happening, and it’s all on your computer screen. Ensure you have everything you need for the day at your fingertips.
Have Your Media Kit Ready
This may be one advantage of attending a virtual conference. You have to gather emails quickly and you really can’t be there in person handing out business cards. So, how do you let contacts know about what you do and how to reach you?
In person events are sometimes not the right spot for handing out media kits. So, have one at the ready before you attend and when you follow up with your contacts made at the virtual conference, you can easily attach or send it off in the body of the email.
Create a Contact List
Create a list of people, brands, and/or destination with which you’d like to work so you can seek them out while at the virtual conference. Networking at a virtual conference is just as important as it is at a physical conference.
Make an Elevator Pitch
Make a super-tight elevator pitch. These short pitches are even more important at a virtual conference than they are at a physical one. Everyone at these conferences communicates in a DM-like format, so the messages come fast. The fewer words you can use to get your message across, the better.
Know What You Want
Just like physical conferences, a virtual conference will have a list of speakers and brands that will be attending. Take the time to look it over so you can make that list I mentioned earlier. Unlike a physical conference, these virtual conferences are not conducive to “wandering” around the virtual field. You need to have focus and goals in order for this to work.
Take Full Advantage of These Virtual Conference Tips
You may be stuck behind a computer screen rather than face to face, but don’t let that stop you from making the most of any virtual conference. You can still get so much out of these types of conferences if you’re prepared, organized, and you block your time out.