PT conferences are always a fun way to connect with your colleagues from all over the world. Many times conferences are where you can meet some lifelong friends and create strong network connections. Aside from the social aspect, PT conferences are packed with new learning experiences.
From new techniques and technology to emerging field-related trends, conferences will completely submerse you in new knowledge. Unfortunately, this year many in-person conferences have been rescheduled for 2021 and beyond. Yet, all hope is not lost! Many conferences are transitioning to virtual platforms in order to still share knowledge and maintain those connections.
Though, you may notice things are a little different with at-home, virtual conferences. First, you can wear pretty much whatever you want from the waist down. Second, you may struggle to really pay attention and retain the information you’re receiving. Finally, you or the platform itself may struggle with technical difficulties.
Fear not! We’ve got our favorite tips to help you make the most of your next virtual PT conference.
The best part about virtual conferences? You can attend them from the comfort of your own home. The bad part about virtual conferences? You can attend them from your comfy couch. While your living situation may be ideal for most workdays, with conferences you want to have 100% of your attention focused on the event.
Children, pets, significant others, and electronics all play a distracting role when it comes to trying to pay attention at a virtual conference. Despite everyone’s best efforts to lay low or stay quiet, even the slightest distraction may cause you to lose focus and miss something.
Our advice? Remove the distractions. Ask your kids, significant other(s) or family members to find something to do for a couple of hours. Turn off all other electronics. Finally, settle in with water and a snack and pen and paper. This will prevent you from having to get up and ruin your train of focus.
Arguably the best part of conferences is the networking. Not only can you meet wonderful friends but you also meet people who really elevate you as a person and a professional. You may feel as if networking is dead. However, we encourage you to think a little more creatively.
In fact, we don’t think you’ll have to try very hard to network. Thanks to social media, digital networking is easier than ever. Platforms like LinkedIn or Alignable are great ways to digitally network with conference attendees from a distance.
Check out the attendee list or speaker list if available to look up those who are attending or speaking and reach out. When reaching out, let them know who you are, why you’re reaching out, and what you think you both will be able to gain from this connection.
We know it may feel weird to reach out to a stranger online but this is the future and we can make it fun.
Have Fun and Be Flexible
While conferences are technically work, they’re definitely still a lot of fun. You don’t have to lose that fun flexible feeling just because it’s at home. Be open to attending any digital networking events hosted by the conference or conference speakers. While a happy-hour over a Zoom camera may seem silly at first, you’ll get used to it pretty quick.
Speaking of being flexible, remember that even though you may have the best computer and internet connection, technology is fickle. Understand that the conference host or speaker may be dealing with technical difficulties; you may even run into some yourself. Stay calm and be flexible.
Many conferences offer a transcript option or recording option to be purchased or included in the price of your virtual conference ticket. This would allow you to listen to the speakers after the conference is over. An option like this is great for people who may struggle with paying attention, have lots of tech difficulties, or simply want to review the material privately.