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Making the most of a virtual conference

Some of our ISC Research team recently had their first experience of attending and presenting at a virtual conference. Congratulations must go to ECIS for hosting this when face-to-face conferences have been impossible. We found it an exciting and interesting way to engage, and we learnt a lot from the experience. Here are some tips from the ISC Research team to help you if you will be attending your first virtual conference in the near future:

  • Plan and organise as much as possible in advance of the virtual conference opening.
  • If you have a booth, ensure your design is bright, eye catching and simple. Less is more. Have up to date documents and links available, but don’t overload your visitors. Focus on one or two key documents for your target audiences and make it very clear what is relevant for whoever might be visiting your booth.
  • Don't be scared of the online system. Get stuck in, have a good play around before the conference begins. Get to know your way around the virtual space and identify all the places where you can network – don’t just stay on your booth if you have one as this will limit you significantly.
  • Create a schedule to make sure your company has good presence at the virtual conference at all times. Don’t forget that people from all over the world may be able to attend, so busy times may be different to that of your own work hours.
  • Ensure everyone who will be attending is fully briefed, and that they clearly understand what you are trying to achieve and why, so that you all join the conference confident of your outcomes.
  • Make a list of your key products and services to focus on during discussions. Create a crib sheet to help all your staff attending. Keep your messages simple and focus on your priorities.
  • Set up a WhatsApp group for everyone who is attending from you team to ensure communication between you is instant, and support can be obtained quickly if necessary.
  • Treat the whole experience as if it's a face to face conference – be friendly and professional at all times.
  • Tone is very tricky to establish when communicating with individuals during a virtual conference. Ensure you fully understand the conversation at hand and don't get disheartened by certain comments or conversations.
  • Networking is hugely important. Make sure everyone from your team knows where to go to network, and some opening conversations to engage with delegates they don’t know – it’s different to face to face so think of short, simple openers that don’t come across as a sales message. Remember that those who you do interact with have an easier chance to ignore you compared to face to face where a response is more natural and difficult to avoid. Focus on simple relationship development and don’t focus too much on your sales messages at this stage.
  • Keep LinkedIn to hand so that you can learn more about delegates, booth hosts, or presenters who are new to you before you begin a conversation.
  • Visit other stands, network, participate in keynotes, presentations and workshops. Use these opportunities to engage authentically and learn alongside peers and other delegates.
  • As with all conferences, post promotion and follow-up are hugely important. Utilise data as much as possible - you will have access to data of those who visited your booth. Use this information for future engagement.
  • Plan a marketing follow-up process as well as a sales follow-up process
  • Make the most of viewing all recorded sessions while they are still available to you. This is one excellent benefit of a virtual conference; every presentation and session will be accessible for a while so your learning opportunity can be extensive.

 

For more information about hints and tips from our experience, please contact Jelena Cruxon, Marketing Manager.