Whether we like it or not, virtual conferences are a reality of today.

We at RocketRez miss in-person conferences. Getting to see our customers and meeting new people face-to-face. Even the occasional rushing in the morning to make the first session after being out way too late the night before. Seeing old friends and laughing about great memories.

One day we will back to in-person conferences. Until then, we still need to meet and connect. In the past 12 months, we have attended 8 Virtual Conferences.

Through them all, we have begun to learn some tricks that help make the best out your investment in attending.

Here is our list to make the most out of them.

1. Use a calendar link to schedule meetings

2. Schedule time for breaks

3. Bring your team

4. Go to the virtual happy hours

5. Prep your tech

6. Turn your camera on

7. Keep hydrated

8. Dress for virtual success

9. Bring paper

1. Use a calendar link to schedule meetings

If you make a calendar link, you can send it to people you want to meet with and they will be able to book time with the open availability you have designated. It is a great timesaver, avoiding the back and forth of emailing available times, etc.

Calendly offers a free version and is really easy to connect to your calendar.

2. Schedule time for breaks

Each show will have an agenda and we have seen that many leave a block of time between sessions.

In some ways, virtual conferences can be just as tiring as in person conferences. Scheduling time to take a mental and physical break is a really good idea! Being in front of your screen for long periods of time can be tough on your eyes.

Go for a small walk and get your body moving between sessions. This could also be a good time to connect with your team midday on how things are going.

3. Bring your team

We mean virtually. Just like in-person conferences, we suggest you go to sessions with your key team members. You each may recall different pieces of the session and it helps to know you’re going “together.”

Any coworkers going as well? Make plans to catch up and discuss keynote sessions after the fact or message them throughout about points you found interesting. Have your company chat open: slack, teams, zoom chat or skype. Talking in real-time is helpful to keep the dialogue as you would at in-person conferences.

It can also be great to reconvene with your team at the end of each day to review key meetings and takeaways.

4. Go to Virtual Happy Hours

Grab a cocktail/beer/wine and connect with others from the industry. It isn’t the same as in person, in some ways it can be better.

We have had lots of fun going to these and have made some great new connections and you can’t beat the price.

5. Prep and know your tech

Pre-show Checklist:

  • Familiarize yourself with the platform that the conference is hosted on. For most cases Zoom is used.
  • Choose quiet and bright spot in case you end up on camera and chatting.
  • Test your video settings – (Zoom tutorial).
  • Check mic settings (Zoom tutorial).
  • Use the emojis, otherwise it can feel like a one way conversation.

6. Turn Camera ON

It can be hard to connect with someone when we can’t see them. If you are comfortable and it is permitted, it is highly recommended to go on camera.

7. Keep Hydrated and Energized

Keep water and your favorite caffeinated drinks nearby. This is just always a good idea. Take moments to stretch.

8. Dress for Virtual Success

This one goes for working from home in general. According to a study performed by psychological scientists at Northridge, Columbia and California State University, our clothing has an impact on our thoughts and our ability to think in an abstract manner. It affects not only how others perceive us, but how we perceive ourselves.

Likewise, according to a study published in the Human Resource Development Quarterly, “Respondents felt most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire but friendliest when wearing casual or business casual attire. Significant two-way interactions were found between dress preference and mode of dress worn on self-perceptions of productivity, trustworthiness, creativity, and friendliness.”

9. Bring Paper

Taking notes on paper will help you concentrate while the sessions are going. It seems obvious, but keeping you off your mouse and keyboard will help you focus and grab key points better.