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The Value of Virtual Events

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August 4, 2020

While everyone hopes life will return to “normal” in the near future, in the meantime, the world doesn’t stand still. Businesses and individuals still need to be prepared for the opportunities and challenges coming their way, and the need for training and growing your knowledge base remains constant. And virtual events help you meet those needs. There are some benefits to take advantage of with virtual events, so if you haven’t quite yet realized the power of such an event, let’s explore its facets together.

Why live

You may be asking yourself why you should try to attend an event’s live dates, instead of just watching sessions at a later date, and that’s a good question. Over the course of a live virtual event, there are the best opportunities for an interactive experience with your peers, experts or speakers, and solution-oriented partners like exhibitors and sponsors.

Asynchronous discussions

The majority of attendees will be online during the live dates, so this is also your best opportunity to meet and network with them. Peer-to-peer networking and live Q&A with speakers can be powerful tools for problem-solving your every-day challenges and getting clarity on new concepts you’re tackling during the educational training.

Balance of Structure and Freedom

The virtual format also often affords you greater exposure to experience a broader variety of training/content. With more condensed session lengths, attendees can usually attend more sessions than they would in person and may have the added benefit of complimentary on-demand access to content afterwards for a set period of time. If on-demand content IS part of the event, there is an extra bonus of flexibility you have to extend your experience with the event, or pivot as needed on the days of the event.

Making the Most of It as a First-time Attendee

If all of this sounds good, you may be now thinking about how you maximize your experience. There’s so much you can do to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Your time and money are valuable, and virtual events allow you to prepare and reap the benefits long after the event’s over, just like with in-person conferences and events. So where should you start?

Pre-Event:

  • Decide on your goals: think about what you need or want to get out of the event. Is there a challenge you need to find a solution for? Is there an aspect of your growth you’re working on?
  • Make a plan: to accomplish your goals, spend some time reviewing the agenda and identifying your priorities – maybe it’s a particular session, or a networking event.
  • Find your community: check out the conference hashtag; find the event on social media and see who else is attending; monitor the event’s social media pages for updates.

During:

  • Think about your day in totality: instead of just blocking time for your favorite sessions, think about how you can maximize your ability to connect. During breaks, or before or after sessions, give yourself time to visit other “areas” of the conference, or do other event experiences. Connect with peers one-on-one, meet with exhibitors, or attend a social event!
  • Don’t forget to eat! Have snacks handy. May we suggest popcorn??
  • Stay active. Take advantage of the flexibility of the virtual environment. Stretch as you watch; switch between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Post-Event:

  • Continue to network: relationships take time. If you made valuable connections at the event, don’t forget to stay in touch and nurture them. Stay connected with the community on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  • Make a plan (part 2): now’s the time to apply what you’ve learned. Go through the resources you received and make a punch list for what you want to incorporate.
  • Share: don’t forget to share the wealth – talk to your colleagues about the sessions you attended; share tips you picked up; and definitely talk to your leaders about what you learned, what you’re doing differently, and why!

 

About the Author

Heidi Souerwine is the Conference and Content Manager for ASAP, the APC, EA Summit, and EA Ignite. Prior to joining the ASAP team, she spent 15 years in Washington, DC managing events from 10 – 10,000 attendees for international membership associations, non-profits, and the federal government. Heidi is passionate about needs-based program development, purposeful event design, and cultivating active community and attendee engagement.

 

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APCEA Summit  EA Ignite