Recently, many industry conferences and trade shows from Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, Canadian Finance & Leasing Association, National Equipment Finance Association, and Leasing Life have all converted their on-site plans into virtual events. COVID-19 has people scrapping travel itineraries and signing up for industry virtual events. Instead of being in a crowded expo floor, people will be watching live demos and online sessions from their homes. Virtual events provide a sense of realness from the digital sphere featuring keynote speakers, trainings, and social networking opportunities.
When compared with on-site events, virtual events provide many different valuable benefits. Virtual events provide the ultimate accessibility and can reach far more attendees than physical events. Plus, because all sessions are recorded, attendees no longer have to decide between concurrent events that they want to attend. However, with that said, virtual events do bring on new challenges for event goers. Especially since virtual events are unchartered territory for many attendees, it is important to be prepared ahead of time. To get started, review our tips on maximizing outcomes with the virtual events that are coming up in the industry.
Know your virtual event tools and technology
Most virtual event organizers will let you know in advance what event technology software you need and how to get it. Don’t wait to show up to your first session to familiarize yourself with the technology. Start learning how to use the software as soon as possible. Learn how to initiate a session, invite attendees, mute your microphone, and turn your camera on and off. Familiarizing yourself with the program allows you to anticipate any technology challenges you might run in to. Moreover, by doing so, you can read the program’s troubleshooting page on how to respond to the technical glitches before the virtual event starts.
The boundaries with home and work often blur together with both ending up fighting for our attention. To prioritize the time you have set aside for a virtual event, the first thing you need to do is put it on your calendar. Block the next few days on your calendar dedicated to attending sessions you normally would have for a traditional event. Secondly, you will want to prepare your workspace ahead of the virtual event. Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can set up your computer. Tell your family and friends that might be tempted to get a hold of you that you are attending a virtual event that needs your full attention. Grab any drinks or snacks ahead of time to minimize getting up during sessions. Most importantly, close all unrelated tabs and windows on your computer and notifications from your phone and computer.
Connect with other attendees
One advantage of attending in-person conferences is the ability to reconnect with customers and connect with new prospects. However, attendees still have many opportunities to do the same things during virtual events. Most virtual events encourage attendees to communicate through live chat, Slack channels, hashtags, and other chat tools. To take advantage of these options, attend the sessions live and share key moments with other attendees to keep the momentum going. Another way to boost social engagement is by talking to other attendees beforehand and scheduling to go as a group. These days, you might not be able to physically attend as a group, but you can all agree and attend the same sessions.
Replay sessions you missed
Virtual events record all the sessions – making it one of the biggest benefits over in-person events. This means you can re-watch sessions and focus on the parts you might have missed. You can also replay sessions you missed, which is a good way of internalizing new concepts and ideas. In addition, make sure you schedule time on your calendar to replay any sessions you wanted to attend or re-watch. It’s easy to assume you will take the time later to play the recordings. However, really commit to making the appointments with yourself and setting aside time to play the recordings. Most importantly, take notes on the sessions and identify ways to put key takeaways into action.
Engage and maximize your next virtual event
Virtual events are undoubtedly going to play a crucial role in the new normal for the equipment finance industry. Now you know how to attend a virtual event and how to maximize your outcomes, you can feel confident in registering for the events you love attending every year. The LTi Technology Solutions team hopes to see you at an industry virtual event soon!