How to make the most out of your virtual conference experience
While we would much rather be seeing you in person, we are excited about the opportunities a virtual conference offers.
You can participate in the live sessions and discussions, from the comfort of your home and office. The program has been designed with plenty of space to catch up on everything else going on in your world right now – with shorter session times and mini-breaks – plus it takes place over half the day – leaving the rest of the day free for you to keep on top of life.
Additionally, there are some great features of the carefully chosen conference platform to help you connect with others, maximise your participation and gain the most benefit from attending the conference.
Read on for 5 tips to make the most out of your attendance at the 2021 IAP2A Virtual Conference.
- Give the conference the same attention as you would an in-person event. Conferences have always provided an opportunity to reset and revitalise. Travelling gives you the chance to think and reflect; or even relax. You can leave work behind and focus on your professional development.There is no reason why you can’t do this with a virtual conference by minimising distractions. Try not to schedule any meetings unrelated to the conference during the time it runs. Put an out of office message on your email. Where possible – disconnect from your real life. Connect with other attendees in the break via roundtable chat rooms. Take the time to meet a sponsor. Use this time to allow yourself to re-energise as you would have during an in-person conference.
- Make the most of the virtual conference platform benefits and build your virtual community. This year’s conference is not your ordinary virtual meeting. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the tools. Here are some of the features you can use to elevate your experience and connect with others:
- Engagement Wall – this is purely about having fun. Post photos, share something interesting about yourself and be a bit silly.
- Participate in sessions through live chat – while it is challenging to replicate the full interactive in-person session with hundreds of virtual delegates – you can engage with speakers through live chat and polling during sessions. Session moderators will be keeping their eye on the chat to raise comments and questions with the speakers. And then jump into small group chat rooms afterwards to continue the discussion.
- Engage 1:1 with sponsors and exhibitors, or simply wander around the virtual expo to view special offers and free resources.
- Jump onto a roundtable – these are small group chat rooms. And like an in-person networking event, you can even glance at who is in the room before you decide to pop in. Roundtables will be set up following each session to take the discussion further. There will also be roundtables centred around areas of interest or levels of experience for general good old-fashioned socialising.
- Build your own agenda by “favouriting” sessions in the program.
- Find out what made the Core Values Awards finalists achieve excellence in engagement by visiting the CVA Poster Display where you can view the full Case Study entries submitted by each finalist.
- Set your interests to help find other practitioners with similar areas of expertise in the Recommendations section.
- Need help? Just click on the pink bubble to connect with a Delegate Connect tech assistant.
- Set up your conference space. One of the best things about in-person conferences is the change of scene. How do you replicate that at home or the office? Perhaps move to another space in your home, or even sit outside. If you are in your office, consider sitting in a meeting room or finding a quite table at a nearby café. Stock up on your hot beverage of choice, have some snacks on hand – or you could even have a mini-bowl of mints or lollies just like they do in conference venues!
- Be an active participant. Plan to participate beyond listening. Take notes. Ask questions during live sessions. Partake in online polling. Give presenters your full attention – they have put much time and effort into sharing their knowledge and learnings with you. Afterwards, you can lead a discussion on Roundtables. Join the end of day Workshop Discussions. Get active on social by using the conference hashtag #iap2conference2021 or tag @iap2australasia.
- Take advantage of the replays. All sessions will be recorded, and available in the coming weeks after the conference so you can catch any sessions you may have missed. Debrief with follow attendees and peers. Keep the conversation going by sharing key takeaways on LinkedIn and other platforms.