Virtual events provide an excellent platform to boost professional skills, engaging your staff or connecting people through networking. It’s no secret that over the last few months, many of us have battled with technology to attend webinars or meetings remotely. Often, we may wonder if such event are the best use of our time, however adopting the right approach to attending a virtual event can make a world of difference to the success of your personal goals.
Here are some useful tips which should help you get the most out of your experience:
Read up on the Content
Before your next professional event, take time out to read through any information that has been sent through prior to the date. It’s important understand the purpose of each event and by setting aside some time to explore the content of each event, you’ll feel more comfortable with being able to engage in conversations which ultimately will help you to achieve the set goals of the event. Try to research the subject of the event, obtain a copy of the attendee list and details of any guest speakers. Having LinkedIn open is also a very handy tip to explore those who may be involved with the event.
Set Personal Goals
Before registering to attend any form of virtual conference of event, ask yourself what you are personally looking to gain from your time. It’s no secret that virtual conferences open the door for distractions, especially whilst working from home, however in setting yourself clearly defined goals these distractions will become easier to avoid. Monitor your goals as you progress through the event and do not be scared to ask the host or your peers for assistance where needed. Evaluate your goals after the session to ensure you have hit your targets.
Setting the Scene
Crucial to any virtual event is the location you are going to work from. Be sure that you are in a comfortable, quiet area in order to avoid any distractions where you are able. If this is not possible, consider using headphones to block out any external noise and help to refine your focus on the event. Ensure your laptop or tablet is rested on an even space at a sensible distance from you and is on charge throughout where possible to avoid losing power. It’s also highly recommendable to be seated near to a WiFi router which has been tested in advance of the date to dodge any connectivity issues. Be sure that your workspace is clear of non-essential items to avoid any clutter, however, it is important to equip yourself with stationary for note taking.
Dress the Part
It can prove tricky to get in the right mindset to learn and engage when working at home – especially given the multiple distractions surrounding in that environment! Not only will work attire provide a more professional appearance on webcam, it will also create the right headspace to motivate you to play an active part in the event whilst achieving your goals. A top tip for any virtual event is to wake up on time, eat a healthy breakfast and get ready in the way you would if you were attending a regular conference. Ultimately, this will help you to look and feel ready to conquer the virtual event.
Arrive Ahead of Time
A bugbear of many organisers are late arrivals. Technology does make it glaringly obvious when someone joins a call late which can be highly disruptive in the middle of a talk. Often, these sorts of events are hosted by those in higher places in the company such as a Director or CEO, therefore it is always advisable to be punctual just as you would when arriving to a meeting or conference in the ‘real world’. Given technology can be somewhat unreliable with issues with logging on, internet connection or battery levels, it’s always a great idea to give yourself a window to arrive before the event start time.
Understand the Technology
Virtual conferences call upon an array of platforms to engage with attendees. Some of the most common technology platforms include Zoom, Microsoft Teams or GoToMeeting which all offer relatively similar features. Whilst most of the more popular tools will be relatively straightforward to use, it is important to take time to have a demo on your designated platform to fully explore it’s capacities – especially if you are required to have some input on the event such as screen-sharing, file uploads and messengers. If you need to reset passwords or updates any software’s, this will cost you valuable time and means you risk missing the insight of the event.
Many events will require you to use a webcam to chat to colleagues or delegates. Whilst nearly all modern laptops come fully fitted with a webcam, it may be the case that you need to plug in an additional equipment to allow you to use camera facilities. Ensure these are fitted and tested in advance of your event. In order to give out the best picture, set your camera at eye level, find natural lighting within your space and clear your desk of any unwanted distractions. A background is also recommended; either a suitable backdrop in your workspace or a set background available to be placed on the platform would suit. You’re more likely to make deeper connections by being more than just a blank screen, so be prepared to show your face where needed.
Switch Off Notifications
Just as you would do when attending a traditional event, you will often be asked to switch off noise from a mobile phone or laptop. It is highly recommended to not only rely on silent mode but to also switch your notifications off entirely. In doing so, you will ensure that the window for distraction is limited, and you won’t be tempted to open your emails which can be very tempting during longer events. Be sure only vital notifications are available to give both yourself and other participants the maximal opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the event.
Don’t Be Scared to Engage
Whilst virtual events present the chance to shy away from participating in conversation, it is important to push yourself to engage as much as possible with all the content. The majority of the time, the host or speaker will be hoping for engagement from the attendees as they will likely be feeling as awkward as yourselves! Make time to write down questions, be confident in putting your opinion across and ask questions where you are unsure. Don’t forget, many technologies will have a messenger feature, therefore if you can’t talk for any reason, you will still be able to interact through the interface where available. Driving the collective input by participating in Q&A’s, trivia’s or polls makes for a great shared experience for all involved.
Connect with Attendees
Often, virtual events will feature attendees from a similar sector, so it’s definitely worth following up to connect after the event to see if there are any synergies between delegates. Sometimes, those attending the event will be potential suppliers, prospects or share mutual contacts, therefore keeping in touch with people post event is a great way to help with your business. LinkedIn, emails or a phone call is an excellent way to follow up, however often the event platform will have a breakout facility, so be sure to make use of this during breaks to chat to like minded individuals on the call.
Stay in Conversation
The success of a conference is often determined many days after the event has actually ended. Taking the time to reflect on what you learnt, plus discussing these lessons with connections you have gained through the event is a great way to reinforce the knowledge picked up. A great way to follow up is to share advice on social media, write a blog, schedule in a follow up meeting with delegates or putting your new skills actively to the test. This is when you will truly have gained value from the event.
While the current circumstances forcing events online might be temporary, the trend of digital events will likely continue long term. Expert advice is on available to guide you through any virtual event, so now it certainly the time to embrace the transition and welcome in the new ages of virtual conferences.
If arrangeMY can assist with your next virtual of hybrid event, please get in touch with our friendly team of experts who would love to learn more about your requirements:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Number – 01905 732960
Website – https://www.arrangemy.com/what-we-do/venue/