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Conference Season Is Here

How you can prepare for virtual events

Love them or hate them, virtual conferences should be approached with the same viewpoint as in-person meetings. Having attended several virtual conferences this year, I will admit that they do require a bit more focus and preparation to be valuable. However, they can still be a place for important connections, crucial conversations, and information exchange. Additionally, virtual conferences are a way to offer conference attendance to more team members. With most virtual conferences being far less expensive than in-person meetings, more people, such as early-career professionals who might not have otherwise been able to attend an annual meeting, may now be able to attend. Having recently attended quite a few virtual conferences, I personally found that regardless of how the information is shared, you will get very little out of them without preparation.

Here is a list of tips I’ve found that have helped me prepare for a virtual conference:

Turn on an Out-of-office Message
Never has an out of office message been more critical than while attending a virtual conference, especially when working from home. For many under these circumstances, it is already very difficult to maintain a consistent work schedule and a balanced workload. However, you really need to focus only on the conference and not divide your attention. When you are working primarily from your computer, there is a natural desire to check emails, edit a document, or quickly review the latest update on a project. Don’t attempt to jump back and forth between work and conference. Keep in mind that you would normally be physically present at a conference, likely sitting in front of a panel of speakers and not readily answering emails. Take that same ownership when attending virtual conferences. Boundaries are critical when working from home, so putting a quick out of office message up will allow you to fully focus on the conference at hand.

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