Whether we have been in fleet for two years or 20 years, the vast majority of us have attended a fleet-focused event of some type. Whether it was something smaller and regional, or one of the huge national industry events, we’ve got some event time under our belts.
While nothing completely new, virtual events took off in popularity in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. With 2020 finally behind us and 2021 well on its way, while it’s not clear when things may finally return to some type of normal, it is clear that while virtual events may not be the only option moving forward, they are going to be a part of the industry event landscape moving forward.
It begs the question — are the tips and tricks for getting the most out of a virtual event the same for their in-person counterparts?
In a few instances, yes, but there are a few additional factors, including limiting distractions, that have to be considered when attending an event virtually.
[ 1 ] Attend Live
One of the top pieces of advice I can give is to attend the virtual events live, whenever possible. Often a recording will be offered. These are great for anything you may have missed or had to answer a call during, but they can’t replace the actual event. Watching live will likely garner more of your focus than a recording and often provides the opportunity to ask questions in real-time with the experts. However, don’t freak out if you miss something. Many recordings and presentations are available after the fact.
[ 2 ] Understand the Platform
There are many platforms being used for virtual conferences today, from major options such as Zoom and WebEx and proprietary options. Before the event, make sure you have the necessary platform downloaded and that you can log in easily.
[ 3 ] Set up Appointments
Utilize any opportunities for one-on-one appointments and check out any additional networking opportunities. The top virtual events have networking opportunities to help you connect personally in this newer, virtual environment. Book those meetings and network. You are more likely to attend meetings and events on your calendar, so add them to Outlook, Google, or your planner of choice.
[ 4 ] Be Professional
Yes, we’re online. But — and I can’t stress this enough — if you plan to turn on your camera, be prepared and professional. Pajamas may be your new go-to work from home attire, but you are representing a business and should do so appropriately. Look into virtual background options. Many of the major providers have a few options (some more professional than others). And please, mute your microphone (if it’s not done for you). Don’t be that heavy breather or chip cruncher distracting everyone else.
[ 5 ] Limit Distractions
To help focus on the event, turn off your phone, block out your calendar, close your door, and be in the moment. It may be tempting to check your e-mail or reply to a quick text message, but focusing on the event, taking notes, and asking questions all helps you get more out of your time.
[ 6 ] Know Your Bandwidth
Just because you’ve registered and might be still working from home, don’t overload yourself. Register for the events you will get the most out of and select the items within those events that you can focus on and apply the knowledge from. Plan your time just like you would at an in-person event. Give yourself time between meetings to go over your notes and highlight any action items or questions.
Attending your share of virtual events recently and have some advice? Or getting ready for your first one and have a question? E-mail me, let’s chat!
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