04.02.20

How to improve your virtual conference experience

By Content Bloom

By nature, conferences are huge gatherings of people, so it’s certainly no surprise that social separation amid COVID-19 has put a full stop on all scheduled conferences for the foreseeable future.

Days, before our team was set to speak at SDL’s Tridion Developer Summit India, the seminar, was put on what seemed to be an indefinite pause. SDL was one of the first to take precautions, and nearly overnight, a number of other events we intended to attend followed suit.

Like many with travel and conference plans, we were left wondering, what’s next? The tech community continues to push forward and many conferences have used this as a chance to encourage remote participation.

Let’s talk about:

  • Conferences going digital
  • How to get the most out of a virtual conference and some tips for at-home conferencing
  • How to maintain human connections at a cyber level

Digitalized Conferences

Still want to feel like you’re learning, networking, and moving forward when it comes to industry best practices? So do we, which is why we were so happy to learn that some of our favorite tech conferences were offering creative solutions in an isolating and scary situation.

Collision

Collision will be offering participants the ability to hold onto their ticket for the 2021 event and partake in a revised “at home” 2020 collision version for free.

Adobe Summit

Adobe has gone digital and announced that the entire conference would be held online.  They’ve also included an informative FAQ section on their site for anyone seeking additional information about flight and hotel refunds, upcoming events, and the steps for registering to the new online event.

 

Atlassian Summit 2020

Atlassian Summit 2020 has been renamed Atlassian Remote Summit 2020 and additional content has been added to the event.

Check here for a full list of conference cancellations and updates.

How to Conference from Home

In a day and age where globalization and digitalization make remote work not only possible but easy, recreating virtual events allows for quick solutions when something like COVID-19 takes over. 

Remote conferencing seems to be the best solution available for many large-scale events, but like anything, there will be obstacles to overcome.

Here are some ways to mitigate that:

Prep your workspace

Make sure you have everything you need – water, coffee, chargers, etc. If you don’t have 2 screens, have a pen and pad of paper on hand for notes, this way you can jot down ideas, insights, and tips without scrambling during a video session.

Update your computer software

Make sure you have all the right software installed. At least an hour before any scheduled talks, ensure there aren’t any tech blockers like an outdated video streaming platform or incorrect login.

Manage your time

A bonus to an online seminar? You don’t have to worry about running to your next panel.

If you manage your time wisely, you’ll be able to attend talks you’d otherwise miss due to location, timing, and much needed snack breaks. So take advantage of the opportunity and schedule some back to back workshops.

Don’t be Shy and Connect Online

If you’ve already sifted through the conference agenda and decided on which webinars, talks, or presentations to sit in on, you’ve covered your first step. But don’t forget there is a huge networking element to conferences. There is often a chance for mingling and socializing, whether it be by visiting vendor booths, interacting with fellow participants in workshops, or accepting invites to after-parties and cocktail events.

When we remove the human contact aspect, it is fair to assume networking opportunities would go out the window. However, creating and building an online relationship is not hard when done properly.

Connecting online in a symposium setting can be as easy as joining web factions or chat groups on social platforms dedicated to a specific talk or workshop you’re attending. However, just joining isn’t enough. If you really want to make those connections, make yourself seen and heard.

See someone that has an interesting title? Have a question about a specific topic?  Add it to a chat board or private message a potential contact on LinkedIn. The tech community is open, helpful, resourceful, and communicative, so become part of the conversation, start an open dialogue and get immersed.

 The Silver Lining

Still unsure how to go about remote conferencing? Don’t be. Creating human connections in the digital world isn’t impossible.

There are multiple sub-groups just waiting for you to join in on the conversation. People tend to become bolder when sitting behind a screen, so make use of this added confidence and reach out to speakers, fellow attendees, and whoever else you’re interested in making that connection with.

Stay safe, be healthy, and carry on. We got this.

Which digital conferences are you looking forward to?

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