There are a number of things to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to attend a virtual conference. If a conference is of interest – and is free – then certainly attend it. If it is not free, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is this a conference that is normally held in-person? If so, compare the agenda to past events. Organizations who are experienced in presenting conferences will focus their efforts on creating a successful virtual version – making sure that the virtual conference will be just as beneficial as the in-person events in the past;
- Do you find sessions on the agenda that you want to attend? Are there speakers you are interested in hearing?;
- Does the event seem of value to your company or organization?
The next question to ask yourself is what you feel you personally will be missing from a virtual event versus one in real life. In these times, there probably won’t be an either/or option. Potential attendees are often concerned about missing networking opportunities. It’s difficult to incorporate this into a virtual event, but virtual happy hours, virtual networking sessions, chat sessions, private rooms, etc. are often provided.
Once you’ve looked at the potential down-side of a virtual event, consider some of the benefits:
- flexibility – many sessions are recorded for on-demand viewing, meaning you can watch when and where you choose;
- time and money – no travel costs, often a lower registration fee, no new suits to buy, etc;
- interacting with speakers and panels – you’ll have a better chance of being able to interact with the speakers than in a live event. Questions and comments are often submitted to speakers through a chat function which is answered right away or after the event.