The conference season is here! Of course it looks a little different this year. Instead of registering at the front table and securing seats next to some new friends, set up your computer as the main stage.
For some, this will be an important learning curve. Virtual events can be more difficult to track and edit. To help you, we've put together a list of best practices to help you prepare for any online event you'd like to attend this year.
Don't forget, if you haven't already, you still have time to buy your MozCon Virtual Ticket!
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Set your intention
To get the most out of your online event, you need to have an intention. This way you are more likely to get something out of the experience.
Wondering what do you hope to achieve? Some examples could be:
- Win a business opportunity
- Learn more about how to restore the latest algorithm update
- Find ways to increase the efficiency of your SEO processes
- Feel safer when you sell your services
You will receive appointments at many events in good time – check them out! (Pssst … if you haven't already, now is the perfect time to check the agenda for MozCon Virtual.)
These schedules can help you get into the conference with a clear idea of how you will spend your time. When you create a plan, you can focus on the content of the event and your intentions every day instead of wasting time desperately deciding which sessions to attend.
Choose your sessions
Once you know your intentions and have the event schedule, determine which content is most beneficial to you. This can be particularly helpful if the event has multiple tracks, very few break times, etc.
The selection of your sessions can be due to a process of elimination. It is much easier to eliminate sessions if you have a specific goal in mind.
The following points should be considered when choosing your sessions:
- The topic
- The speaker
- The time
- The availability of on-demand video after the conference
You may want to broaden your horizons this year. Instead of seeing presentations on the same topics or speakers as last year, you may see someone new to something that you find interesting but that you haven't had time for. You may have a tight schedule and can't do anything after 3 p.m. If some of the sessions are available after the conference, it may be worth reviewing topics that you would not otherwise have.
Know when to take a break
When planning your schedule, you need to make sure you plan for breaks in time. This means time to eat, time to decompress, time to refill your coffee cup and time to work or at home.
Conferences usually have a lot of breaks, and for good reason. Ideally, you will learn a lot. But if you try to learn everything at once without giving your brain a break, very little will get stuck.
So be sure to listen to your body. If you feel foggy or overwhelmed, take a break, grab some water, and move a little.
Integrate the network time
Another thing you want to consider when planning your virtual event agenda is when you network. Some conferences have time to build a network, but others don't.
You want to invest time to get to know each other by participating in conversations and adding people to social media. This will look a little different in the virtual room, as you don't meet for coffee or chat in the lobby, but try to stay creative! Zoom chats and video calls are a great way to connect with new or old friends.
You can find more tips in our current blog about online networking like a champion.
Summarize at the end of the day
Take some time to think at the end of each day. Remember what you intended to do, what you did during the day to accomplish it, and what you can do in the future.
This is a great exercise to make sure you get the most out of the event. Too often we take in all information and do nothing with it! For this reason, we would like to suggest creating at least three action items at the end of each day.
Gather the essentials
Okay, it's the first day of the conference and you're about to jump in front of the computer. BUT! Before you do this, you need to make sure you have everything you need to be successful.
Get a clean notebook or start a new document
If you have a clean list of notes, stay focused while attending a conference (virtual or otherwise). So, take a new, crisp notebook or create a new document file on your computer before you start.
If you choose the computer route, close all other tabs and disable notifications! You want to be sure that your attention remains on the conference.
Take notes during a virtual conference
With your new notebook or document, you want to take the most effective notes possible. With this in mind, here are a few things to consider:
- What you learned
- How can you apply it
- What can you share with your team?
To ensure that you are on the right track to grasp each of these things, write your intentions for the session at the top of your notes page at each session. Then share your pages with "What I Learned", "How do I apply?" And "What should I share?" This keeps your notes nice and organized and gives you a visual indication of whether you are getting what you expected from the session. This also makes it much easier for you to summarize the end of the day.
When it comes to virtual events, one of the biggest advantages is that you often get the slide decks and video packs later. We recommend that you find out if the event you are attending offers these things before you start taking notes, as this can ease your note burden.
Drink snacks, water, and coffee (or tea)
Perhaps the most important things you should have during a virtual conference are the snacks and drinks! As you know, we take this part very seriously at MozCon, so we expect nothing less when you take part in our virtual event.
Brain nutrition can help you stay focused. Some of our favorite snacks are granola bars, nuts, vegetables and of course donuts. However, you have full control over the spread this year.
Make sure you have plenty of water and your favorite caffeine drink too!
You are ready to go! All that's left is to show up. This can be difficult with virtual events. Especially if you know that the content will be available after the event. But there is so much to win if you are part of the live event and the conversations that go with it.
So show yourself and show yourself!
PS: If you're looking for a virtual event that you can attend this year, Roger still hopes to give you a virtual hug at MozCon Virtual 2020.
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