In the last 18 months, the world has become more virtual than ever, and the workplace is no exception. In fact, it may be the place most notably affected by the online-only trend. Working from home has become the norm and many have adjusted to digital meetings and attending events virtually.
While there are a great number of benefits to virtual conferences, such as networking or gaining insight and inspiration from the comfort of your home and saving time and money, there are also a number of potential stumbling blocks that any virtual activity brings. Many of us have experienced the challenges of home distractions or are experiencing “screen fatigue”.
Given that virtual engagement is MetroQuest’s bread and butter, we are very excited to be teaming up with the APA and NCDD to host our first-ever virtual conference on September 28th: Conference on Virtual Public Engagement for Transportation Planning (#VPET21)! To ensure you receive the maximum benefit from our conference, I have put together a quick guide with 5 tips to help you make the most of #VPET21. Let’s get started…
Things to keep in mind before the virtual conference:
Tip #1: Prepare ahead
Before the event, be sure to familiarize yourself with the platform, review the schedule to prioritize the sessions you are particularly interested in and double check your technology works to ensure you are set up for success!
Take the chance to review the conference website to see if there are sessions or keynotes you definitely don’t want to miss.
During the conference:
Tip #2: Minimize distractions
Find a quiet space where you will be undisturbed, block off your calendar for the day, log off your email or instant messaging and even turn your phone off if possible. Consider this a regular workday – if you need child or pet care, be sure to organize it ahead of time!
Tip #3: Participate actively
Go beyond listening; take notes, ask questions, note down any speakers you want to connect with, and participate in online polls, chats or Q&A sessions to make the most out of the sessions. Most virtual conference planners, just like public engagement practitioners, have levelled-up their virtual-engagement, so there should be plenty to keep you actively engaged!
Tip #4: Take breaks
The conference has scheduled breaks for a reason! Stretch your legs and move between sessions. Stock up on desk snacks, have your favorite beverage handy and perhaps even consider having a meal delivered to you that day!
After the conference:
Tip #5: Network and connect
Connect with other attendees or speakers who you’ve noted down during the conference to deepen your insights. In our experience, speakers are happy to hear from attendees and discuss aspects of their session in more detail, answer questions, or help provide resources.
If you’ve attended with co-workers, it can be a good idea to schedule a meeting or get-together to debrief and share your key takeaways and learnings. Everyone takes away something different, and all of it can help your team achieve virtual community engagement success.
If you haven’t already, you can click here to register to attend! If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly.
Stay tuned for more details regarding the event and the fantastic line up of speakers we have in store!