9 tips to make the most of your virtual event attendance
Updated: Nov 17, 2020
We talk a lot about how to set up a virtual event. But definitely not enough on how to attend one! Just like with offline events, it requires certain preparation and skill to make the attendance effective and not feel like “it was a waste of time”.
As an event professional, I might be a bit biased and more prepared to adjust to new type of "venue", however even I found it strange at first.
So I decided to put together a list of my tips for online event attendance that have helped me over the past month:
Understand your goals. Do you want to listen to a particular speaker only? Are you looking for connections? Clear goals will help you plan the day of the event and measure the effectiveness afterwards.
Add to the calendar. It is super important to add to the calendar not only the event as a whole but particular sessions you must attend. Otherwise, WFH atmosphere can easily distract you or extra tasks might overlap.
Free your time. Clear the time of the event from any parallel meetings or work - it is still impossible to effectively combine both even in this new normal. Your attention will be split and the level of frustration from the event increased.
Do your homework. Go through the schedule, understand when, what & how is happening, whether some sessions require pre-registration. How Q&A is handled and any other housekeeping details the event organiser has prepared for you. Dedicating a few minutes of your time in advance will save you from navigation troubles or missing important content on the day.
Get dressed. That might sound funny, but a virtual event still includes connections! And the events like Celebrate by Gong have shown how interactive the networking can be. But you need your camera and mic on to do so! Don’t let your messy head or PJs spoil the networking experience.
Adjust to technology. Virtual event platforms provide tons of opportunities to create an amazing experience. But it requires both an event organiser & an attendee to do their jobs. Log in 5-10 minutes before the event starts, get around the platform, click through links and explore! Even if it seems overwhelming and confusing, trust me - in a few minutes you will be able to find your way through the virtual venue like a pro!
Interact. Asking a question in a room with 200 people might not be comfortable, but submitting your question for a speaker via sli.do or similar tool is easy! Coming over to a person during networking break seems daunting for many, but the conversation in the interactive event chat flows naturally. All of the people attending the event are eager for communication - keep it in mind. I saw how casual conversation in a chat turned into a business opportunity for a few attendees - use your chances!
Make notes. Just like in a conference room make notes of key thoughts or points that made you excited. Speakers still deliver top-notch presentations & your learnings should not suffer because of the environment. Good thing about virtual events - you are most likely to get all the recordings, so after going through the notes you will be able to go back and rewatch the most useful parts of the presentation.
Get excited. Tweet about the event, research the speakers, connect with other attendees on LinkedIn. There is no travel, no new destination experience, no pre-party...but you still can build up the atmosphere and your own mood! Right attitude is everything.
As an absolute fan and advocate of in-person events, it is not easy for me to accept and appreciate the reality where all of the conferences are happening on my laptop screen. But what events have taught me is the ability to adapt to any circumstances. Let’s make the most out of it right now and prepare for the new normal that is yet to come!
Any other tips or lessons you’ve learned from attending virtual events? Please share it with me in the comments!