Attending a virtual conference has a few quirks that make it different from attending in person. Here are a few tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience.
Set aside time in your calendar to attend the sessions and networking events. Let others in your home or office know that you’ll be unavailable during the meeting by turning on your out-of-office message or placing a sign on the door. Consider turning off alerts and notifications on your devices.
Know what platforms will be used for which events and get comfortable with them ahead of time. SSP is using Pathable for the main meeting supplemented by networking events hosted in Remo. Take a quick tour of the virtual meeting platform to get started.
Make sure your tech setup is compatible and in good working order. Device? Internet? Speakers? Microphone? This step is critical to a quality experience and something that meeting organizers cannot assist with. A few quick tests of your camera, microphone, and internet speed can save a lot of headaches.
First-Time Attendee Tip: Be prepared for technical difficulties. Some event platforms have their own troubleshooting or chat functions built right in, for others you may have to visit a website. Make a list and keep it handy.
Map out your agenda. Things can get tricky when you don’t have the visual reminder of fellow attendees moving from place to place. Double-check times and time zones! Because our attendees are participating from around the globe, the agenda is quite lengthy, which might seem daunting. Pick and choose the sessions and activities that most fulfill the experience you want to have each day.
All educational sessions will be recorded and available on-demand after the original broadcast, so if you miss a session, you can always go back and watch it when it’s more convenient.
First-Time Attendee Tip: Give preference to those sessions where you want to participate in Q&A or discussion.
Set up your attendee profile on each event platform. This goes hand in hand with our networking tips, so do it in advance. You never know who will contact you with a great idea or business opportunity! Just like at an in-person meeting, the virtual SSP Annual Meeting offers the opportunity to connect with other industry professionals. Make a list of who you want to meet with and schedule meetings ahead of time.
First-Time Attendee Tip: Be prepared to participate in chat during sessions and at networking events. A great part of conferences is the networking, don’t miss out on that!
Visit the Marketplace Gallery – those hardworking folks are just waiting to talk to you. Instead of asking, “What does your company do?,” try asking “What’s new and exciting at your company?”
Check out the Poster Sessions! These are new at SSP in 2021, and there are some very interesting ones. Keep a couple of questions in your pocket to ask the poster presenters, like, “How did you come up with this idea?” or “Do you have plans to expand on this project?”
Most importantly, take care of #1! Schedule some breaks for meals, comfort, and Zoom fatigue. Our thoughtful Annual Meeting Programming Committee has taken every effort to account for these, but it’s easy to get sidetracked during those breaks answering the emails that have come in while you were participating in a session. Keep snacks and drinks close by to keep your energy up. Stand up and stretch frequently. Getting a bit of exercise will improve your focus and help combat digital fatigue.
First-Time Attendee Tip: Even virtual meetings can be exhausting!
Virtual Meeting Etiquette
Join live virtual sessions on time. This will ensure you are using the time effectively and not missing any content.
Pay Attention to Your Mute Button
Be aware of your mute button. Webinars will automatically mute participants, but the interactive sessions will allow you to speak. Please ensure you know when you are on mute, and importantly, when you are not.
Ask Concise Questions
Sessions are meant to be collaborative but focused. If the session allows for Q&A, please ask concise questions in the chatbox. If you have comments, ask yourself if they will help others before commenting.