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Making the Most of an Online Conference

Laurel Nock, Terillium

Add cancelled live conferences to the list of many disappointments in 2020. For most of us, a well-produced conference is such a great experience that we consider it a professional perk. We get to network, see new and old acquaintances, partners, and friends. We have the opportunity to learn something new and important for our fields, and to gain inspiration from peers and industry thought leaders. Not to mention, we had an excuse to travel!

Virtual conferences are not the same, but they are worthwhile. The chance to connect and learn, even online, is still valuable.

Recently, our team from Terillium attended a fully virtual conference – with hundreds of educational sessions, keynotes, games and entertainment, vendors and online booths. And it was great – we walked away with a lot of new knowledge, new connections, as well as motivation and inspiration for what’s next.

Below are some of our takeaways for making the most of a virtual conference.

Know What You’re Hoping to Achieve

Before the conference starts, make a list of what would make it a success for you. Include personal considerations, but also align your list with current goals and objectives for your organization. Your list might include:

  • Make new connections
  • Find solutions for specific issues
  • Learn more about particular topics
  • Explore a completely new topic or something outside of your “comfort zone”
  • Gain new ideas for achieving specific goals and objectives
  • Leave with more motivation and inspiration

Organize Your Agenda

Even if it’s only the night before, review the conference agenda and make a plan for what you’re going to attend. Organize and prioritize – what sessions are you definitely going to hit, and what sessions are “maybes.” Collaborate with colleagues who are also attending, and “divide and conquer” sessions as a team in order to make the most of the conference.

If you can, mark off all or most of your calendar to dedicate your days to the event.

Make sure to login to the conference platform in advance to check that it’s working for you. See if you need to switch browsers or do anything else to make sure you have access and are good to go.

Take Advantage of the Fun Stuff

Even virtual conferences have opportunities for fun – whether it’s a game, a motivational talk, or the chance to network virtually. Make sure to leave time in your agenda for some of these events. 2020 has been hard, we all deserve a little fun.

Keep Track of Important Takeaways

During or shortly after the conference, organize your notes and make sure to identify any key takeaways from the conference to either share with your team or to personally take action on. Make a plan for moving forward with any new tactics or initiatives.

We look forward to participating in our next virtual conference – INFOCUS. Check out our specific tips on how to make the most of the upcoming INFOCUS conference for the JDE community.


Check out the Top 10 Most Innovative Sessions at INFOCUS 2020

Making the Most of an Online Conference